Well, this is my first year at SXSW and so far it’s been very encouraging. The seminars, by and large, have been great. @briansolis (above), @bethkanter and @danahboyd were great. What’s more all these thought leaders are incredibly accessible and fun. No one takes themselves too seriously and as long as you can survive on little sleep, bad takeaway sandwiches and gum, it’s hard to fault.
Half the entertainment is in the corridors. I’ve never seen so many interviews, film crews and pitches going on at once anywhere. That said everyone is engaged and interested in each other rather than just ploughing through the numbers.
The thing that excites me most is that you have film people (including the likes of Tarantino and Gondry) rubbing up against music people rubbing up against marketers (ew!) rubbing up against tech people rubbing up against social activists (yeah!). A veritable orgy of creativity where ideas and careers intersect at right angles sparking something new.
The downside? Most people spend half their time staring at screens (I miss other eyeballs), searching for a power plug or looking for an AT&T signal (yes, AT&T, it’s true). And sometimes you get trapped behind someone doing all three and just marvel at how they constantly walk in front of where you want to go.
Fortunately night follows day and the sponsored parties have been a great tonic to the brain overload each day. The food, bars and music scene are crazy good and everyone is in high, if a little weary, spirits. This was my first time to Austin and SXSW and it’s definitely been worth it.