The southby experience
I’m sitting by my gate ready to fly home from Austin after one absolutely fantastic week at SXSWi. Coming out here i wasn’t sure what to expect.
On the first day i popped into How to Rawk SXSW where Min Jung Kim, Ben Huh (the cheezburger guy); Denise Jacobs and Jeremy Keith tried to prepare us southby n00bs for the week ahead. They explained that it wasn’t just about the panels — to which i was a little sceptical — and that it was a good thing to miss a few; concentrating on “only one or two must sees”. This was great advice; it mean’t there was no need to be rushing to panels and gave you ample opportunity to mingle. The random conversations i struck up with strangers in the convention centre corridors formed some of the highlights of the whole experience for me.
The parties are a huge part of the southby experience. Every night there were no less than five parties sponsored by the latest start-ups vying for your attention (or location). Enticed by free alcohol and t-shirts we queued around the block to get inside. Once inside we’d head straight for the heaving bar, where we’d snag a few scoops of Shiner Bock the local beer of choice (It’s really good). Beer in hand you’d try to find someone to talk to. This was the source of some great conversation and connections. Sooner or later you find yourself on a crawl with a group of total strangers from Greenpeace, and being scolded for buying a KitKat earlier in the day. This process repeated nightly (though not with Greenpeace each night; those guys can drink!), resulting in the perpetual hang over i’ve yet to fully recover from. Despite all the drinking i managed (to my credit) to make it to the 9:30 sessions every morning.
At southby, I learn’t how to not be British (though Texans love the accent!).
I’ll be back next year; that’s a given.
I’m going to write up my notes over the next day or two and should hopefully have some more technical posts to deliver.