This is my first time attending SXSWi, in Austin TX. Wow – it’s a different conference! At the many library conferences I usually attend, I bump into a few people I’d term “creatives.” You know the ones – their hair points to the sky, it’s died green, and they wear stripey socks. Well… all of those people have converged in Austin to attend SXSWi. Not that I’m complaining – I like hanging around creatives, and I’m certain I’m going to learn some cool things. It’s just… well… decidedly NOT a library conference.
And you get to come along with me, because I’ll be blogging what I see and learn! So strap in, hold on to your hats, because away we go – to my first day.
First off, I registered – and immediately saw Harry Knowles, the guy who runs Ain’t It Cool News registering for the film part of the conference. So I’m already geek’d out, and I don’t even have my badge yet!
After getting my badge, my bag of schwag, and lunch, I attended the first session, How to Rawk SXSW: The Basics. Some people from Valleywag sat in front of me, typing and snapping photos the whole time. This was an “introduction to sxswi” and was led by a panel that included Matt Mullenweg, Tim Ferriss, Min Jung Kim, Ian Lloyd, Jason Toney, and Rannie Turingan. I don’t remember who said what exactly, but I wrote some interesting quotes down:
- Don’t try to pace yourself – try to do everything at the conference
- The liver is evil and should be punished
- lots of talk about how to party, how to get over hangovers, how to extend your caffeine rush (take aspirin), etc.
- make sure to talk to people, introduce yourself to people, etc
- You want to be memorable (there’s lots of “remember me” networking going on)
- some discussion on how to meet someone who’s Internet Famous
- Geeks are nice, and usually want to meet you, too
- Say your name and blog URL
- Remember that Internet Celebrities are not real celebrities
- The people who are going to be big in 5-10 years are here
- Lots of language…
- And the panelists downed a whole bottle of bourbon during the session
- Hey, it was something to do…
Next, I went to Respect! Say it Loud: I Create Websites and I’m Proud! Also a panel, led by Jeffrey Zeldman. Panelists included Douglas Bowman, Liz Danzico, Erin Kissane, and Jason Santa Maria. This session was a loose discussion of figuring out the value of what we, as web dudes, do, and how we translate that to others. Random quotes:
- at Google, speed trumps everything – it’s a type of common ground for Google during meetings
- One person mentioned having a session where clients draw what they think they need in a site or app – this helps them feel part of the design process (even if you don’t use what they drew)
- A new Google employee is called a Noogler (ie., New Googler)
- Zeldman mentioned the Alzheimer’s approach to meetings – remind non web types what was decided in the last meeting, why we’re going a certain way, where we are in the process, and back it up with stats, studies etc – basically reminding them frequently of what’s going on
- watch out when marketers write content – it can sound too markety and not web enough – it starts sounding like a polished salesman.
Finally, I attended a party and hung out with some web developers from the National Geographic and the Pentagon.
Again – a very interesting start to a very interesting conference!