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SXSW 2007: Veni Vidi Vici

Summarizing my experience of my week in Austin, TX for South by Southwest is a difficult task. This was my first time attending, and it’s been physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting/invigorating.

I’d rather not go through point by point my thoughts on every single experience, but I will point out some general thoughts:

Panels

  • The panels I attended which consisted of 1 or 2 people tended to have a lot stronger presentation and better content-wise than ones that had more than that. Of course, there were exceptions (like Boss Lady), but generally speaking that was my observation. Highlights: Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek and After the Brief: A field Guide to Design Inspiration
  • For an interactive conference, I was surprised at the lack of interaction with the audience during panels. The exception being Kathy Sierra’s excellent Opening Remarks talk: she had the audience on their feet from the get-go talking to each other, and she also consistently got laughs. My only gripe is that the woman needs to have a designer clean up her presentations. :-) Still, the DIY feel is almost a little endearing.
  • There was a disconnect regarding what panels were perceived as vs. the reality of the actual panels at times
  • There was a lot of “duplicate panels” — panels on similar subjects that also were shown at the same time. I think the conference would have been better if the scheduling of such panels were spread out more on different times.

Parties

  • A definite highlight was attending the EllisLab party at Moonshine Grill. First of all, they provided free eats (and good eats, too) on top of free drinks! How can I resist free food? Next, the EllisLab crew are just super people. I remember when EE used to be the “new kid on the block,” so attending the party full of EE advocates was just so much fun.
  • I got to take a picture with Ze Frank at Molotov Lounge. Nuff said.
  • Avalonstar Bowling Extravaganza was hands-down the best party I attended the entire week. Also, my bowling team totally rocked. We didn’t qualify for anything, but we were winners where it counted: in our hearts. ♥
  • Drinks at the Hilton lounge with Molly Holzschlag and Paul Scrivens and crew… Molly wasn’t formally introduced to me initially, so she continually just called me “pretty girl.” I didn’t mind much. :-)
  • The Great British Boozeup was also pretty chill. It was fun pretending to be British for a while. I have quite the dodgy accent, but when the music is loud and everyone’s talking, a little fake accent can actually be mistaken to be genuine. Ha!
  • South by Northwest: Also good. :-)
  • Virb/Purevolume: OK. This was annoying, because we unnecessarily were forced to line up at the outside of the venue in the rain for no real apparent reason. Once inside, it wasn’t that exciting — I expected something a little nicer (it looked like a warehouse). In the end, the company I was with made up for it.
  • The MediaTemple party had some controversy regarding their VIP section. To be honest, it made me feel a little awkward and strange. In the end, I managed to get in (not too hard, really — just was waved in by a friend), and I only wanted to get in there because people I knew were in there. Before someone cries elitism, I don’t think anyone in that section really believed they were “VIP.” We’re just all a bunch of geeks, after all. ;-)

Team Alberta

I wasn’t only in Austin for SXSW. I was able to attend through the Market Access Program and that included two days of presentations by some of Austin’s notable companies. Unsurprisingly, the presentation we had at Dell was the dullest and most uninnovative. The highlight was visiting M&E Studios Other notable companies that talked to us: Public Games which has an online game world called Gemals and BroadRamp

Final thoughts

As many people said throughout the conference, the real value of SXSW was the people. Meeting people I’ve followed for years online through their work, blogs, IMs, and various other social networks was wonderful and eye-opening. Also lovely was meeting people that were less visible on the online scene, but were awesome to hang out with and talk to. The possibilities for future collaborations seem pretty high. I am definitely motivated to push myself professionally and creatively as an individual, and my head is buzzing with possible new articles, blog posts, and the like, which is why this summary isn’t as detailed as some others. Gotta spread the thought process through several posts. :-)

So here’s to next year! Thank you to all the people that humoured lil’ ol’ me during lunches and dinners and parties and panels. I hope to see you all again sooner than later. :-)


10 blabs to SXSW 2007: Veni Vidi Vici

Add something to the conversation!

It’s about time I got to meet you, Lea. Don’t be a stranger. If you’re ever in Boston, look me up!

Lea,

I’m glad you didn’t mind “pretty girl” too much. It was meant as a compliment and I’m silly that way. It was a fun time and I’m glad I now have a name to go with the person :)

OMG SHE BLOGGED!

Had a great time hangin’ out. Definitely too many people to meet in too short of time – but I’m glad you enjoyed your SXSW experience.

And I agree with you about the panel interactions… more on this later.

Lea… Blogging? I’ve died and gone to a better place haven’t I? It’s nice to see more SXSW recap posts… It would be even better if I could have attended… So when is someone going to move SXSW to Europe for a year? :)

Was great to meet you, Lea. You’re different than I expected. More sassy. I like it. :)

Stay in touch!

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Mar 19
02:53 PM

@Patrick: Absolutely. It was great to finally meet you, too! :D

@Molly: Haha, yeah, I was greatly amused, and I definitely took it as a compliment. It was definitely good times.

@Colin: I know, miracles of miracles, hey? I wish I could have talked to more people, too, but that’s the nature of these things.

@Ivan: Hardy har har.

@Jeff: Awesome. Always great to hear that I’m better in-person than the other way around, ha ha! It was fun meeting you in the flesh, too.

Lea: Was good to meet you finally. You should present next year on self-branding! :)

Lea, you’re one of several people I wanted to meet and somehow didn’t get to meet. Damn. :( Maybe next year.

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Mar 20
07:27 PM

Aww! You’re too popular, Rob, that’s the problem. ;-) I kept seeing you around (hard to miss the beard) but you were always talking to someone, or I was abruptly pulled off to another direction. Already looking forward to next year!

It was great to meet you and hang in the hallway for awhile. Looking forward to seeing you a panel next year :)


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