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SXSW vs Web Directions North

This isn’t an insightful entry as much as it is a plea for help. LOL. I am determined to go to at least one industry conference in 2007. I always thought I’d head for SXSW and I had planned for that, but unfortunately, seems like I waited too long to book anything and all the hotels closest to the conference are taken. :-( So. Basically, it’s come down to this:

Which conference should I go to?

Web Directions North is closer, but not necessarily cheaper merely because of the conference price itself. However, the flight would be domestic (less hassle), on top of which I already have a friend going (potential roomie!) and an ex-coworker living in Vancouver I can catch up with. It’s also a smaller conference, so the potential to have one-on-one time with interesting people are higher.

However, SXSW is… SXSW. Geek central, and a lot of people I “know” online are going there… it would be my chance to finally meet these great, interesting people. However, as most of the hotels are full now I would definitely need a kindly soul willing to split a room with me.

What are the pros/cons of attending either conference? And is anyone going to either of them willing to split a room with me? :-)

3 blabs to SXSW vs Web Directions North

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This isn’t what you are asking but it might help…at digital-web.com we’re having a contest – design a snowboard and the winner gets to go to Web Directions North for free. You are certainly talented enough to have a good chance at winning. :)

Hi Lealea,

I’m defiitely a little biased because I am one of the organisers of Web Directions North. But, this year will be my third year as a speaker at SxSW, and I’ve been a sponsor there too. I think SxSW is a great conference.

With WDN we were very keen not to “compete” with SxSW – in terms of location, timing, or focus.

SxSW has a great roster of speakers, but is largley panel based, as you no doubt are aware. We on the other hand get each of our 20 or so speakers to do roughly an hour’s presetation – so our focus is “depth”, while SxSW is more widely focussed. Ou focus too is expressly web design and development related – covering of course things like usability and accessibility, as well as design. At SxSW you get all kinds of stuff related to interactive – games, concepts, etc – as well as fascinaing stuff only peripherally related – speakers like Gadwell, Daniel Pink, and the like.

But the biggest thing we are trying to do is get fantastic speakers and experts away from “the centre” – we’ve been hlding this conference in Australia for three years now, and Canada was for us, along with Dave shea and Derek Featherstone, a place we all felt was under serviced by this kind of conference.

Now, I am not trying to away you one way or another – both will be great experiences – WDN will proably be a little more “professionally” focussed (not to man SxSW is unprofressional, they run a fantastic conference) more that the subject matter and focus we have is probably bit more directly on the kind of thing people can take away and use in their jobs the next day. But we also have great networking opportunities, and chances to let your hair down too. Come and say hi whichever one you go to – and early next week, we are announcing a program that will enable bloggers and others to get free tickets to the conference – so keep an eye on http://north.webdirections.org

You should know that we’re busy at work putting together a market access program to support a select number of Alberta-based digital media companies to go to SXSW in March. We recently organized a similar program around the Serious Games Summit in Washington D.C. just a few weeks ago which was a huge success. Check out www.digitalalberta.com for more info on that program and what’s happening for an Alberta trip to Austin this March!

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