A Noob’s Thoughts on SXSW

It’s Saturday night in Austin, and I’m in my pjs by 10p.  One word about SXSW so far – TIRING.  Mentally and physically – but so, so awesome.  I’m having a fabulous time.  And I received some advice prior to the trip for experienced South by-ers (if you are cool, you refer to it as South by – now I have taught you something!) that has come in handy – comfy shoes, small umbrella, ABC (always be charging).

The flight was funny – every conversation I heard was in the speak of my career…and some did make me roll my eyes a bit (when the dude beside me on the plane told the stewardess that he needed to help them with Delta Sky Magazine’s content strategy).  I flew w/ my ACD pal Alex, we made it with spaceman to get our badges around 2p – which was nice, no lines.


spaceman getting his badge – here’s his check-in vine


We started Sx on a high note – Opening remarks by Bre Pettis, creator of Makerbot.  Yes we’ve all heard about 3D printing – but they way they are applying it is amazing!  They made fingers for a kid born without them.  Dollhouse furniture, toys, pieces for broken machines.  And Bre debut the digitizer – he showed how by using a webcam and lazers to measure a gnome, you can print more gnomes.  You could create an army of gnomes.  Maybe this is the end of those crazy Christmas toy rushes…don’t want to get up at 3am for the hottest toy?  Print your own!  And afterward, we got our pic with him (in the food-truck trailer park).


Alex, Bre and I

I’m going to a party tomorrow night (Crowdtap) that will have demos of their competitor, Cube, pretty pumped for that.

So that good advice I mentioned earlier…one piece was, don’t overdo it the first night.  I failed here.  Went to Spredfast’s party and hung with an old coworker from Bolin, Dane, who is now kicking it at Honeywell.  Then I met up with the fabulous spacers in Austin – Alex, Lisa, Ned, Tim, and old coworker/client/friend Nick. Image

Bliss, me and HHC!  Or Nick and Tim.

Drinks and general merry-making, getting carried away with Vines.  And I was still up and raring to go at 8a this morning. Bikers pulling seats for two people to ride in are everywhere here – a 120 lb dude pulled two of us, I was amazed.  Better for the planet than taxis!  Good times.  Next eye-roll moment – when the Harlem Shake song came on at the bar and everyone was REAL excited.  Maybe I’m just not fun.  But I digress…

First thing I did today was hang out at Google Playground.  Their deal was making everyday objects interactive, and they let you experience this through a shoe.  You could do a variety of activities – watch TV, walk up and down stairs, dance, and the shoe would talk to you based on what you were doing.  It seemed to me like my fitbit was on my foot and could talk smack to me – but fun all the same.


They’re also partnering with Volkswagon on a project that measures “Smilage” – more or less, how fun your road trips are.  Not sure how this is going to be relevant – but we will see shortly I’m sure.

I went to a session where Matthew May spoke about his book The Laws of Subtraction – rules for winning in the age of excess everything (basically, standing out by simplifying).  Then to one where three experts on creativity and mayhem who like to drop heavily emphasized f-bombs talked about anonymous communities – anon, 4chan, etc – and how they organize, activate, and so on without knowing who each other are, as well as what they decide to protest about and the difficulty of predicting the actions of a community that changes leaders, ideas, and their mind every 5 minutes.  Then was the Elon Musk keynote, where he was interviewed about rockets and cars – everyone I talked to was looking forward to this one, they streamed it in every available conference room at the convention center (I didn’t even try to make it into the one he was actually speaking in) – but I thought it was kind of a snooze.

One thing that has surprised me is the easy of charging your phone down here.  I put mine in a brightbox twice today (like a mini locker – you scan your credit card, pick your type of phone, then a door opens with that type of charger in it.  You close it, and your credit card is your key – it stays locked till you scan again).

Other than that, met with a few reps and contacts, enjoyed dinner with Prizelogic at Eddie V’s. Two good days – excited for the third!


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