We arrived to Austin 10 days ago and have only now taken a breathe. Classes, speakers and nonstop music, parties and nightlife are the name of the game during SXSW.
We started our week at McKinney Falls State Park where we camped for 3 days prior to the start of the festivities. Even 3 days before, the town was starting to amp up for SXSW, a huge 25,000 person conference that brings together geeks, musicians, record labels, film producers and actors in an surprisingly cohesive intersection of Interactive Media.
Dan from Vertical Media arrived on Friday just in time for the kick off. Our next days began at 9 for the first conference session and lasted until 2 am when the last bands were wrapping up. We didn’t want to miss anything. Each morning the three of us would discuss our strategy in order to see as many of the sessions as we could. We heard about what’s hot – Twitter, Twitter, Twitter; what’s new – Location Specific Advertising – your phone knows where you are and now Google, 4 Square and Gowalla do too; and what’s next – Neuroscience and Technology are combining in Orwellian ways – measuring your thoughts, motivations and intentions by tracking the brain’s electrical activity. 60 minutes also put together a fascinating piece for more info.
In between the fascinating, we also learned about more relevant topics such as web design, funding a new company, driving conversion, and remote company management. For 5 days, we all felt like we’d been drinking out of a fire hose.
When the session doors closed at 6 pm, it was time to see the city. Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, Digg, Adobe and AOL all tried to outdo each other with free beer, food, music and “swag” (Tim won a $200 HD Zune for the cleverest Tweet about Yammer Enterprise Microblogging….Three years ago that sentence would have been complete jibberish – we’ve come a long way). Saturday was BBQ and bar hopping at Stubbs and 6th Street. Sunday we ate the hottest tacos in our entire lives: Austin’s famed Nuclear Taco, a flaming toxic concoction of habaneros and ground beef. Monday night as we bounced from stage to stage at the huge Maggie Mae’s, Tim’s Droid lit up. Quinton Tarantino had arrived, Twitter tweeted. We never saw him of course, but it was still cool to be at the same party.
After 5 nights of socializing, St. Patty’s Day, turned out to be relatively quiet. The Interactive and Film portions of SXSW are done and now Austin is rocking from dawn to dawn with 1500 bands. We laid low in the campground for the day and were treated to a free banquet of corned beef and cabbage put on by the campground staff. After stuffing ourselves on Irish staples, I sent Tim and Dan to hit the town while I caught up on the blog. Tomorrow Jimmy, Jimmie and Keri arrive to continue the celebration. Austin ain’t seen nothing yet.
During our blogging hiatus we missed several important occasions over the past several days: Happy Birthday to BJ, Leroy and Ross, and a particularly HUGE congratulations to Tim and Betsy! Yesterday after many long hours of labor, the world was finally introduced to Nicasio Cabradilla. Mom, Dad and new gorgeous baby are all doing great!