Whew, what an adventure! South by Southwest was an epic week of inspiration, networking, incredibly smart people and delicious meats. Back and finally rested, we figured we’d take a minute to recap a few highlights from our trip to Austin. And while we’re at it we’d like to give a few shout outs to the people who made it happen in 2011.
First off the inspiration: Austin itself is such an amazing town and the friendly vibe there has a way of permeating the conference. This atmosphere complements the fascinating intersection of tech, film and music to make SXSW a special event where creativity and collaboration are encouraged. The open environment in Austin stands in stark contrast to so many other tech conferences where one-way communication and heavy corporate marketing rule the day. It’s refreshing to attend a conference where things don’t feel sales-y and transactional.
From our experience, we believe that SXSW attendees arrive in Austin looking to fill needs for themselves and their businesses. Whether the need is simply to educate yourself on the latest trends and hear from industry icons or find an audience for your new, killer app everyone who attends SXSW comes prepared to get out there and mix it up with the community. Again this atmosphere is in contrast to other conferences where people tend to have their guard up and stand behind their corporate mask (or booth). We found ourselves meeting and interacting with so many talented and motivated people we couldn’t help but walk away feeling pumped.
Speaking of the people, SXSW Interactive has become such a huge part of the conference. Almost twenty thousand people attended this year’s Interactive and as a result huge talent from across the industry came out to participate. Amongst the speakers we saw Seth Preibatsch stood out for his keynote on the game layer. If you’re interested you can read a good summary of his talk. We also enjoyed Tim Wu’s talk on the long-term prospects of net neutrality and Barry Diller’s keynote as well. Thanks SXSW for bringing together so many smart, engaging people. We had a blast!
Also a huge thanks goes out to Jason Schnurr and Cedar Street Courtyard, our home away from home. Kyle and the Dyn Inc. crew were amazing too. Here’s to pulling off the most amazing recovery of the conference by moving your party to Symphony Square at the 11th hour. You guys deserve the Energizer bunny award for keeping it going all week! Last but not least congrats are in order for Fraser Campbell and Eventseekr. Here’s to your new launch. Keep up the good work!