It was my first time at South by Southwest – Interactive this year and did it live up to all the hype? Yeah, I’d say so. =D
Since I had never been before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Plan A – I tried scheduling my days according to what panels I wanted to attend (to get the most out of my experience), but it didn’t take too long until I dropped that. There were just too many panels I wanted to see, many of which were scheduled at the same time. I ditched this idea and moved onto Plan B – to just wing it. How did that go? Surprisingly well.
I had a great time over the entire 5 days in Austin, all because of the three P’s – panels, people and parties.
Panels: Pretty good, although some were better than others. I went into most of them thinking that I would come out entirely enlightened and wowed, but it didn’t happen every time. I guess I set the bar pretty high from the buzz about all the internet famous people that were going to be presenting. I should have known better! Of the panels I attended, keynotes like Mark Zuckerberg and Frank Warren were the ones that stuck with me. The first one because it was comical and the second because it was thought-provoking.
People: Prior to SXSW, I couldn’t understand why people would travel all over the country to attend a conference. Now I do. Not only was it a great learning opportunity and entertaining, you get to meet a lot of cool people. Every person that I met had something interesting to share. Whether it was a project that they were currently working on or something as simple as what they’re occupation was – each person had their unique story.
Parties: Wow. One of the last things I expected was to be overwhelmed with all the parties at the end of each day. My favorite moment was when a few of us got a little text messaging happy and took over the text board at the Digg Party – fun times. There was a little bit of buzz about whether SXSW was a ROI or a Nerd Spring Break. I think both. -ha- It was time-off from the daily routine, but still educationally valuable.
Will I be going to SXSW 2009? Definitely.