As I draft this, I’m 30,000 ft in the air, on my way Austin for my first bout with SXSWi. I don’t believe much of the hype, and as I’m sitting on the plane perusing the schedules and recommended sessions (with my inflight wifi), I can’t help but feel a desperate need to make this as valuable an experience as possible.
Sitting between the window and a sleepy couple, purposefully dehydrated so I don’t have to use the plane restroom, I find myself haphazardly constructing a schedule of branding/marketing/food/social/mobile/innovation/entrepreneurship sessions that avoids the following scenarios over the next two days:
- Burn-out (too many sessions, information overload)
- “Spring Break 2011!” (too many meetups, happy hours, parties; too little learning)
- Nomadic nonsense (no clue what to see, where to go)
While I’m hearing that the overall is increasingly trite and has lost touch with its indie/innovation roots, I feel almost paralyzed by the potential of this conference. The session schedule alone is a daunting vortex of… jeez, who even knows.
SXSW seems be like a trip to that amazing vintage store you keep hearing about. By the time you make it there, you just stand at the entrance, summoning the energy to dig through racks and racks of potentially amazing gems of awesomeness that will inspire months and months of creativity and ideas.
Maybe all three scenarios are inevitable, and really, the charm and POINT of SXSW… And that’s why creatives, designers, developers, entrepreneurs and generally interesting and interested people keep coming back.
I’m going to get back to planning my schedule. But here are the first few gems I’ve found:
- Folkways These Days: Crafty Knowledge in Digital Networks
- It’s Not TV, It’s Social TV
- How Brands Respond to Facebook Attacks
- Marketing Budgets Have Gone Social – Is It Working?
- Bite Me–Are Ethics Gone in Food Criticism
- Love Can Pay the Bills (knock ’em dead, Phil!)