I went to South By Southwest Interactive. It was awesome. I attended 14 or 15 panels. Some of them were good (Survey Monkey CEO talk! Behavior Change As Value Proposition talk!) some were terrible (WEATHER COMPANY CEO I AM LOOKING AT YOU. No umbrella could make up for making us watch not one but TWO actual commercials FOR THE WEATHER COMPANY. Terrible!). Austin as a city is lovely, and I saw the bats at twilight, and I walked around City Lake (which is really the Colorado River). Ate at a lot of food trucks. Got a lot of interesting receipts (sorry, accounting department).
The meet-ups were all really helpful, and I met a lot of really interesting people. I learned that people who work at Campbell's Soup have amazing business cards. I also learned that the American habit of not dancing to bands is very weird to Europeans. "You all just stand there and kind of nod your heads. It's very weird." - Swiss dude I kept running into in panels. We both agreed the Weather Company panel was terrible. Also I lost the umbrella they gave me (wellll...I left it in the Comixology panel because I didn't feel like carrying it anymore).
On the last day, I got a sinus infection. I had to travel sick! It was terrible. I'm still sick. It's still terrible.
SXSWi: pretty awesome. Would go again. It has a very steep learning curve, and I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing until the second day. It's very spread out, and there are way too many fascinating presentations going on all the time, so it's impossible to see all the things you want to see. I eventually settled on a strategy of focusing on a certain geographical area, and only trying to get into panels that I found personally interesting. The descriptions are often incredibly inaccurate, so things that you might think would be useful for your job often end up being long commercials for services you won't use. It's a much better idea to just go see things that are interesting. Dynamic speakers will have things to say that apply to whatever it is that you're doing. I definitely learned a lot. I also ate a lot of food.
This would be a better-written blog post, but I've got a killer sinus infection. Blargh.