SXSW Interactive -
Much like the rest of SXSW – interactive was a blur of panels, parties and people (like the alliteration?) .
And as a first-time SXSW attendee, it felt like a large conundrum.
Everything was engaging, but at times awkward. The topics were informative, yet seemed simple. The people were nice, yet cliquey – kind of like high school where instead of the popular football jocks, you have the kids who could own @ Rock Band. Also, if you ever want to feel insignificant, nothing can top being in a room full of aspiring 23 year-old CEOs.
Back to the conundrum. It was interesting to hear and talk to what seemed like two types of interactive attendees. There were those who drank the kool-aid if you will (the Internet rockstars, gamers and devs). Then, there were those who were intermittent participants – people like myself. One person said: “What these guys don’t realize is that outside of this world, no one twitters.” Realized how invaluable it is to have a foot in both worlds.
Heard several comments/discussions in regards to social media – reality vs. Internet personas. Overheard a conversation in line of a guy grappling between the way he approached people in person versus his seemingly Casanova-like approach over the Internet.
It was a non-stop technology overload with constant elevator pitches for start-ups and killer ideas that will surely change the way we ultimately communicate (like fireeagle, socialthing etc. . ) The spectrum of innovation is endless, which seems appropriate for the Internet age.
Overall, wouldn’t trade in the five days for anything else. Below are some highlights:
Ended up attending a gaming panel on Wiki’s. Interesting insight into WoW- enough said.
By far my favorite session – BattleDecks II. Might try to bring this concept into the office as a great exercise in presentation skills . . . sans the wood jokes.
Met at ton of folks at the Porter Novelli party. Then, proceeded to be the sherpa for two Canadians.
Spent a couple of hours hanging out at BarCampAustin and was able to listen to Kevin Marks, Google, talk to OpenSocial and “The Social Cloud”. Admittedly, the content was over my head, but nonetheless, informative. Since I won’t do it any justice – check out a write-up here.
Best keynote came from Henry Jenkins and Steve Johnson. (Will discuss at length in a different post). Now reading Jenkin’s blog for inspiration.
Was a bit disappointed by the “Media Blur” panel hosted by Quentin Hardy, Forbes and Douglas Merrill, Google. Should have been listed as a “beginners” session.
- “Web and Digital Media in China” session offered great stats on this market.
- 650 million mobile users to the 250 million Internet users
- COD remains the best form of transaction due to continued skepticism of credit cards
- Gaming continues to be one of the top two reasons for Internet usage
- 70 percent of Internet users are below 30 y/o
- Largest IM application — QQ is exponentially larger than AOL’s IM
- Obviously, the talk of the day would be the disaster known as the Sarah Lacy keynote botch-up. Again, one of those topics that requires an individual post – but the gist being that she doesn’t help the “women in technology” cause. If you’ve been under a rock, see the following sites for a run-down of the awfulness:
The world needs more people like Frank Warren of PostSecrets fame. Compassionate, intelligent and eloquent, his keynote was inspiring. A random proposal and several SXSW secrets (i.e. “My job sent me here, but I’m really here to find another job”) seemed to fit the bill in terms of quirky keynotes and the true spirit of SXSWi.
The Michael Eisner session was surprisingly entertaining and informative. Guest moderator, Mark Cuban, kept it lively, even throwing in a jab at Elliot Spitzer. Both addressed the importance of how the Internet shapes content creation.
Seems like a lot of information; but this is the condensed version.