This was our second year to what can only be described as the mother of all Web Tech Events, each year thousands of entrepreneurs, start-ups, geeks, bloggers, and industry types attend SxSw in Austin, Texas.
Depending on who you talk to, SxSw is all about the 1000 different panelists talking tech to a very enthusiastic International audience, others refer to it as ‘summer camp for geeks‘. Being a super friendly conference means that it’s very easy to speak to a number of people from different backgrounds.
The best part of SxSw?
Is that everyone, whether they are ‘Internet Famous’ like Scoble, or whether they are freelancers is that the hierarchy is flat. So you can be sitting next to a CEO, and converse with a great variety of businesses in an informal setting. There are very few ego’s here, which I find quite refreshing compared to other events.
How to choose the right session
The level of information and user generated content that is generated from this event is staggering. 19 different panels happening at the same time, a choice of topics that covers everything from internet privacy to social media practices. Think like going to a music festival and having to choose just one panel out of 19, a tough choice. Two ways of getting round this, 1: if the panel you are in sucks after 5 minutes, walk out, and find the next one on your schedule. 2: Realise you can’t catch everything and listen to the podcasts when you return home.
The difference between this years event and last years
The mention of the word ‘downturn’ made some people look like you had just swore at them. However, the number of sponsored events around town and presence of silicon valley companies made it feel like the event was throwing caution to the wind, and giving people the opportunity to get on with business and make new connections.
Twitter usage. Each panel had a hashtag (#) on twitter so the panelists could take questions directly from twitter and also keep a track of what was being said in real time as they spoke. It’s hard to believe Twitter won a web award 2 years ago at SxSw for best newcomer web site.
The hashtag #sxsw has been a trending topic in Twitter search for two weeks now.
I must say that the Twitter network held up very well during this manic time where lots of data was being pushed from Austin over the week. The bloggers room was like a war room, there was a sea of laptops, people on phones, and after a few days it didn’t smell to good either.
Our favourite sessions
- The Kawasaki and Anderson keynote (youtube link)
- Version Control: No More Save-As (Matt Mullenweg, WordPress) (no media yet)
- Cloud Computing: Defending the Undefinable (Folks from Google, Microsoft, and the CTO from Amazon) (no media yet)
- HOWTO: 149 Surprising Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog With Credibility! (podcast link)
- Curating the Crowd-Sourced World (podcast link)
- Designing for Irrational Behavior (podcast link)
Our SXSW photos
Podcasts from SXSW
See you next year Austin!