This post sets out my observations of the South by South West (SXSW) interactive festival (http://sxsw.com/interactive), in March 2009.
I attended as Ambassador to Thinking Digital (http://thinkingdigital.co.uk/).
- Overall, it was a fantastic experience, not overwhelming
- I don’t tend to overdo things, so didn’t "burn the candle at both ends" too much!
- I found it a validating / affirmative experience, but that’s because I’m a practitioner and interested in the technologies, the people side of them and their future possibilities.
- The types of folk who were there were on a pretty similar wavelength to me, there were very few suits
- I tried to make it a collaborative experience
- Live-blogging the sessions
- Tweeting from the States
- Remember to take your photo ID when you go to a bar, I’m nearing 40 and was refused entry without it – bah!
- Also, remember your SXSW badge to get into events
- Twitter was a key tool to stay in touch with other people and with what was happening
- My.sxsw.com was a useful tool to work out a draft schedule, there was also a tool called the Sched, which seemed to offer greater functionality & integration with iPhone.
- Herb Kim made a [remote] introduction to Alan Patrick – a fascinating bloke!
- It was a fairly relentless few days. Key things are to eat & drink enough, don’t "rawk" things too much as your body will give in!
- Also useful knowing where the nearest restaurant / cafe is – for instance, I should have made more of the cafe in the Convention Center.
- I swapped business cards with as many people as I could. I’ve had the cards scanned by Cloud Contacts, and will be e-mailing those I met.
- Austin is a "pretty progressive place", although the Civil War memorial in my Flickr stream might suggest otherwise!
- http://sxsw.com/marketing gives the low-down on how to use SXSW for marketing purposes
- SXSW is also a film & music festival, although the Interactive bit was key for Thinking Digital / Codeworks. That said, there were other people going out to SXSW from the North East – I think for the Music festival.
- Maybe there’s an opportunity to round them up to get some further feedback & learn for next year?
- Flight to London & stayed at Heathrow
- Flew out to Dallas Fort Worth airport, then connection on to Austin, TX
- Took Supershuttle from AUS to downtown Austin – good service & good value; also good way of starting to meet people
- Journey back retraced my steps, without the stay at Heathrow
- Game camp! – http://gamecamp.org/
- Summer Camp for teenagers – to keep them occupied and learn about games and careers in game development
- Game Development Institute – http://www.austincc.edu/gdi
- Alternate Reality Games
- Wee World, who are are based in the UK
Digital Mission “is organised by Chinwag for UK Trade & Investment, enabling digital companies to expand into overseas markets and attract investment outside the UK.”
I’m not sure I met *everyone* on the Digital Mission (DM), but I gave it my best shot!
Chinwag seemed to be doing a good job, there was a lot of goodwill for Sam, Emily & the gang
I attended virtually everything that Chinwag put on, spent a lot of time with the DM folks – having lunch, supper, breakfast, sessions etc.
Having a base & bunch of people I already knew was really helpful. Downside was a I probably didn’t meet as many random people
Online tools: photos, posts, links
Tuttle was everywhere! ;-)
Other Reviews of SXSW
UPDATE: You’re a Tiger!
Thanks to Benjamin Ellis for this photo!
Photo credit to Benjamin Ellis