It took days to get here including 2 flight cancellations, roughly 12 hours of airport lounging, an almost trip to Boston and a 4:00am wake up call. Is SXSW in Austin worth it? You better believe it.
I love Texas. I always have. So it’s good to be in Austin for SXSW. It’s my first visit but honestly, I’ve never been a big conference fan. I’ve always appreciated the opportunity for professional development, the chance to meet new colleagues and of course learn something new, but I must admit, they can be boring. Is SXSW boring? No way. Keep SXSW weird.
The future of web is here. The people at SXSW Interactive are shaping the online environment of tomorrow. It’s mind boggling. I’ve sat in tons of sessions (some terrible, most great, a couple truly inspiring) and I feel refreshed, motivated and full of new ideas. My role at the IMA is to produce digital content – to tell stories in innovative ways. This experience has shown me we can do much, much more. We will.
It is a weird conference and I mean that as the biggest possible complement. I have sat next to a variety of characters – CEO’s, marketers, artists, developers, rock star bloggers, and pretty much who knows. I’ve walked out of some useless sessions, but mostly have been soaking it all in. There have been two magical moments…
Anyone that knows me, knows I love uncomfortable situations, especially humour. I love the British Office and Little Britain. One of my favorite films is Made (it made me squirm). So imagine my glee when the keynote event, featuring Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, descended into chaos, with the crowd revolting and the interviewer, Sarah Lacy talking smack back to the crowd! I have never seen anything like it – read it about here or relive it here. Part of me wanted to hide, but in the end, I sat there with a big smile on my face exchanging quips with the people around me. Thank you SXSW!
I want to be the guys from icanhascheezburger. They put captions on picture of cats and other animals. They do what they want in a strategic, intelligent way. It is their job! And they get 1.5 million hits a day. Are you kidding me? Their session was brilliant, funny, educational and to beat this word to death: inspiring. They have built and cultivated an online community that is loyal, vocal and immense. We (the IMA we) are trying to do the same thing, but without the lolcats. They had cheeseburgers delivered to the session and afterwards I had the site founder, Eric Nakagawa, sign an autograph for my sister. I also asked if he wanted to be a guest blogger. Stay tuned.
I’m now sitting in a session about the future of video content online. It’s good and incredibly technical and it confirms we should be pursuing H.264 for our future video compression, especially for our next big project IMA TV. But I must be honest, I am looking forward to the next weird moment. Uncomfortable or not.
The other day I sat in a bar drinking a Texan beer, listening to a German-French-Scottish folk band. I love Texas. (clap clap clap clap) *deep in teh hart of Tecksus.