SxSW 2006

18 March 2006


A Blue Perspective: SxSW 2006

South by South West, how do I love thee ... let me count the ways.

It was my first trip to SxSW, my first trip to Texas, and my first trip to the US, but Austinians: you have to admit that your town looks a bit dodgy on the trip in from the airport. Ramshackle houses, boarded up windows, chain-link fences. However, I'll admit that – at least during SxSW – Austin turns into party central.

I (and most other people) believe that the success of a conference is not about the panels, the schwag-bags, or the toilet facilities. It is instead about how much free alcohol you can consume the people you meet. From that perspective, SxSW is the best I've been to.

It's astounding to go to any of the many after-parties, turn around and spot some guy from Oxfordshire, that cutie from Belgium, or a scrawny chump from San Fran.

So, so good to finally meet these people who you've talked to on MSN so many times, shared tips with via e-mail, or totally flamed inside the confines of a blog entry's comments. Even better to be introduced to someone as Cameron Adams and receive a very British "Fucking Hell!" in return :D

And the fact that Yahoo!, Google, Adaptive Path and Blue Flavor will pay for the privilege of getting you drunk in the presence of the Web's leading lights? So sweet.

But of course, you can get a bit tired of standing at the bar (I know, it happens rarely, but it does happen) so you can always drop in on a couple of panels. The highlights for me are always the ones out of leftfield – those presentations that you never planned to go to, but you follow someone into and they open up a whole new world to you. This time around, Kathy Sierra blew me away with her energy and the diversity of her talk: "How To Create Passionate Users". Almost makes me want to get up and buy her book right now ... almost.

The other personality who impressed was Craig Newmark. Craigslist hasn't penetrated that far into Australia, but I've been aware of it on my periphery for a while. Craig's altruism and community-building sensibility are astounding; he's the perfect model for Berners-Lee's Internet. Pair that with a desert-dry wit and you've got yourself a good keynote.

Whether there's keynotes or not, I'm definitely back there next year. In fact, scrap the keynotes and the panels, lets just meet at the Iron Cactus for four days. The margaritas are on me.




  1. 1/13

    Dustin Diaz commented on 18 March 2006 @ 14:51

    And to believe I didn't make it here because of Technorati. I'm surprised that I was able to have been spotted considering the comments on how skinny I was ;) If I turn sideways I generally turn into a stealthy pole.

    Aside from that matter, it was indeed about the after-party connections and networking. I met so many awesome people I can't even begin to create a list. Cheers to a successful week of lots of beer and great people!

  2. 2/13

    Filosof commented on 18 March 2006 @ 15:55

    I hope we'll meet on next year SXSWi.. I haven't been on this one only because of my trip to scout meeting in Saudi Arabia..

  3. 3/13

    kazu commented on 19 March 2006 @ 23:23

    I would like to share tha photo we took there...
    See you again in London!

  4. 4/13

    namfar commented on 20 March 2006 @ 01:45

    We call ourselves "Austinites."

  5. 5/13

    Carl Camera commented on 20 March 2006 @ 23:31

    Cameron, yeah the neighborhoods between the airport and downtown aren't quite Double Bay or Barmoral. Next time you're in Austin, I can arrange a tour of the more tony areas. It was great to meet you.

  6. 6/13

    Keith commented on 21 March 2006 @ 08:47

    Was very nice meeting you, even if only for a quick moment. Hopefully you'll be back next year and we can chat more.

  7. 7/13

    The Man in Blue commented on 21 March 2006 @ 12:12

    Apologies to any Austinites I may have offended by calling them Austinians. Outer suburbs aside, downtown was definitely happening, and I've never met friendlier people.

    Also great to briefly meet you in a hallway somewhere Keith. I missed the Blue Flavor party, but never again! :D

    Carl, I'll definitely see if I can make it to SxSW 2007 earlier next year, so I can scope out the realy city and take advantage of your hospitality.

  8. 8/13

    Aaron Gustafson commented on 22 March 2006 @ 10:00

    It was a pleasure to meet you and single you out during our preso. I look forward to hanging out again next year (or possibly sooner if I end up down your way).

  9. 9/13

    Ian Lloyd commented on 22 March 2006 @ 23:06

    Hey Cam - it's difficult not to have a good time at SXSW, as long as you're not being a slave to a daily Sitepoint write-up (as I was - a few missed dinners to meet the daily deadline,.I can tell you!). I got your book - will be doing a write-up on Accessify prooty soon.

  10. 10/13

    The Man in Blue commented on 22 March 2006 @ 23:18

    Yes, I skipped out on that Sitepoint job precisely for that reason.

    Can't wait to see what you have to say about the book. (Is your Swiss bank account number still #5436-786995 ?)

  11. 11/13

    daniel commented on 23 March 2006 @ 04:53

    the "Ramshackle houses, boarded up windows, chain-link fences" are the good parts! did or didn't stay for music? it is tremendously better than interactive (in fact i sadly ended up mostly giving interactive a pass for films and shows). need to have a place to pre-plan for geeks that stay the duration next time.

  12. 12/13

    Amit Karmakar commented on 26 March 2006 @ 12:48

    All this SXSW talk and Mekong River and your very personlised waiter and the Tom Gai soup doesn't even get a mention!!!

  13. 13/13

    The Man in Blue commented on 26 March 2006 @ 13:02

    Oh yes, a big shout out to the waiter at Mekong River. Although, you were the one who was desperate to get a "guessmyarse" shot of a certain web celebrity.

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