I Survived South by Southwest Interactive 2010

Writing a wrap-up post about South by Southwest I would imagine is similar to writing about being teleported to another universe for a short time.  A universe where there are no words that a human can make to explain the things they saw. So in that vein let me tell you that it was so.... yeah.  Thanks everyone, have a great weekend.

Alright, I'll give this a shot.  It was everything I thought it could be, and more.  Every story and rumor and thought you may have heard about South by is true.  You turn the corner and there's someone you recognize.  Mostly those of "internet fame".

People say the best part about the conference is the connections you make, and that's absolutely the truth.  While the panels were sometimes fun I got less out of them than I thought I would.

The sessions that I went into knowing things about I left saying "that wasn't anything I didn't already know".  Some panels were mis-titled or had bad descriptions.  The couple "core conversations" were kind of lame because it was up to the group to keep things moving... and sometimes it didn't.

That being said, there were some really great ones.  My favorites: Selling your subculture without selling out, Web framework battle, How Pandora navigated the smartphone seas, Is Canvas the end of Flash, and Getting your company funded.  That last VC-based session being a real eye opener for me.

Keep in mind most of the links in this post are photos, so click away.  I didn't want to embed everything here.


Years after launching PandoraFM with support from Pandora I finally met Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora Media.  This is a guy when given the option between kicking my work off the internet for using the Pandora service in a way they didn't intend, or working with me to build something cool... he chose the later.  Since then I've looked up to him as the type of person I want to end up being in the internet business landscape.  Running something awesome while being awesome.  It was a long time coming for us to meet, and on top of it his talk on the mobile story of Pandora was one of the best.

I met Veronica Belmont at the gdgt party.  Your typical internet celebrity crush.  I think I mumbled a "ahhbauhdagaaa" to her.  I suppose that was better than the alternative of "DO YOU KNOW YOU'RE VERONICA BELMONT?"  She was really nice, and it was cool to just run into her.  At that same gdgt party I saw Peter Rojas and chatted with him a bit.  I've listened to him on podcasts over the years and read his material in numerous online tech blogs.  It's awesome being able to talk one on one with someone when you've known them in such a different context for so long.

Kat asked me if I could snap a picture of Bre Pettis from a distance for her.  I thought I'd see what I could do and see if I could actually talk to him and say hi to him for her and grab a picture of us two.  Success.  By coincidence I ran into him on the street later that week and chatted for a bit.

The Gawker Timewarp party.  It was a dream world for me.  I got to meet MC Frontalot and see him perform.  It had Star Wars characters hanging around.  It had geek girls.  It had nerdcore fans.  It had free alcohol. I couldn't make this party up if I tried.  I love MC Frontalot and his show did not disappoint.  Awesome.  Awesome. MC Frontalot at the Gawker Timewarp party

The Silicon Prairie party was a great time.  It was cool to see so many people hanging with the kids from Nebraska.  I tried to talk to as many people that I didn't recognize as I could and find out how they found out about the party.  Most were friends of a friend or were told about the party by someone "in the circle".

The Silicon Prairie Party

I met Gina Trapani!  I made a joke that I actually saw someone using Google Wave while at the conference and she gave me a copy of her Google Wave book. I had her autograph it for me.  I've always really enjoyed her technical work she's given the world, not to mention the writing and podcasting she does.  Very cool.

Went to the Gowalla Tiki Room party and had some delicious drinks, got stuck in the rain, and saw Diplo spin.  I like Diplo, so that was cool to have him the soundtrack of one kickin' party.

Met some awesome people in person and digitally!  I got to hang out with Gwen, @ReelVixen, and it was a blast.  We've only more or less known each other through the internet and it was awesome to share the SxSW experience with her.  Hello to new awesome people @stephaniehobson, @fiercecupcake, @playfulpixel, @kristenbyers, @ElaDarling, and special thanks to @TheJenya  for showing me around and hanging out!  She's releasing a book of notes and comic drawings based on her time at South by, I can't wait to see what she's come up with once it goes online.  Check her out at http://www.mermaidhostel.com/

So yeah, I'm not sure what else to say.  There was so much great stuff, and I have to stop somewhere.  So check out my photos from the trip, I took a bunch.  I probably left out a lot, but hey... I tried.  Austin, I'll see you next year.

I have more stuff you can read if you like. You might like these:

Gabe Kangas

Mar 19, 2010