Posted on March 15, 2011
I just wrapped up my last day at South by Southwest Interactive. Lots of people rave about this conference, and it’s regularly referred to as spring break for geeks. For me, SXSW was a rollercoaster – lots of ups, but also my fair share of downs. Here’s my quick wrap-up of my inaugural trip.
- Everyone is selling something – Near the convention center, I couldn’t walk more than 15 feet without someone trying to get me to try out their new product or hear about their new startup. When you’re already surrounded by thousands of people, this gets annoying.
- Lines – there were lines for everything! Sessions, free stuff, restaurants, parties…I eventually declared that “lines are for punks” and refused to stand in line for anything.
- Scraping the surface – although some sessions totally overwhelmed me, others seemed to simply be scraping the surface of social media, or at least not saying anything that hasn’t been said before by others. This is a huge conference with a high price tag; I don’t really think there is room for introductory sessions.
- It’s huge – this might be a selling point for some people, but it’s something that continually wore me down. I heard someone say there were 20,000 people here, which I don’t think it unrealistic. To accommodate all these people, sessions were spread out among 10 locations. This made it unrealistic for someone to catch a session at, for instance, the Hyatt, and then catch a session in the next block at the AT&T Center. SXSW actually increased my appreciation for smaller events, such as Ungeeked.
So, would I go again? I’m not sure; it depends on the circumstances. Am I glad I went this year? Absolutely.