It seems it’s time for my annual blog post (I do realise that updating a blog once a year is fairly lame but there you are).
SXSWi has been incredible once again. Initially it seemed like they had finally spoiled it by stuffing it so full of people it felt, quite often, like it would burst right open. This is a criticism that is leveled at the organisers every year but this time it really did feel like they had taken it too far. Check out Sam Michel’s video of the queue for the keynote on the first day to see what I mean. It felt sad that within the first day I was already thinking that the crowds may well mean that this would be my last sxsw.
And then the magic of the event starts to work on you again, it gets under your skin in a way that’s difficult to articulate. Some highlights in no particular order:
- Seth Priebatsch’s keynote ‘Adding A Game Layer On Top Of The World‘; like an over enthusiastic puppy he bounded onto the stage to tell the audience how game theory could (and will) change the world. It took roughly 5 minutes for him to sweep away my cynicism, “yeah, yeah, game theory blah blah”, and be blown away by both the idea and the practical applications he talked about.
- Jason Cohen – ‘From Geek To Entreprepneur’; a funny, insightful presentation about starting up a business and the challenges you face. Too much for me to coherently summarise but his take home? “Less reading, less worrying, more doing”. Can’t argue with that.
- Chris Guillebeau and Jonathan Fields – ‘Fear & The Art of Creation‘; an inspirational discussion about what prevents us from jumping off that cliff and taking on that project/new venture/life change. Good stuff with fresh perspective.
- Other panels, including how improv classes can help your work life, considering time in UI design, mad US scientists and Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley on his vision for the future of location based services.
- Christian bringing the house down with his ‘when I got social media’ story at the amazing story-telling event Fray Cafe.
But mostly and mainly, the people. Everybody says it, every year but it’s the people you met in the hallways and parties and fringe events that make it special. This year it was great to meet new people and see familiar faces @Documentally @Toodlepip @Benjaminellis @Dr_Black @timesjoanna @jemimah_knight @huey @rachelclarke @Ewan.
Flying home today, leaving a piece of my head and my heart here for next year.