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21 Mar


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SXSW 2012 (Part 1) – My First Adventure into the Austin City Limits

March 21, 2012 | By | No Comments

SXSW (South-By-Southwest) actually started before I was born, with the first event taking place March 1987 in Austin, Texas.  The first year SXSW had around 700 registrants come to Austin. This year (2012) the 20 day-long conference had around 25,000 registrants.  The event hotels were completely booked and the airport was zoo the first day, not to mention the heavy rain making everything much easier.

Luckily I went and picked up my badge during the first few hours because the lines became insanely long (theme) with the biggest registration in event history.  The event staff did a great job all week keeping people sane despite the packed keynote sessions, long lines, and heavy foot traffic everywhere.

Friday, March 9th, was the first full day of #SXSWi or SXSW Interactive, and it opened the conference up with a bang. Former Apple evangelist and current Co-founder of Alltop, Guy Kawasaki, was asked to interview Vic Gundotra who heads up Google + and social media efforts for Google.  Kawasaki asked some very tough questions and at one point questioned Google’s Metrics, but Gundotra was happy to share explanations of metrics and intriguing thoughts on why Google’s social network is not a “Ghost Town.” It was hard to gain much from this discussion because Vic Gundotra seemed to be on the defensive side of Guy Kawasaki’s well thought out questions (wrote an eBook on Google+). At this point I will keep trying to use Google+ but still do not see the benefits of it.

During the first 48 hours of the conference over 100,000 people had tweeted about SXSW. Then the “Homeless Hot Spot” news became viral, which seemed to gain more attention than any event happening at the actual conference. I know that’s hard to believe when you have stories like; two companies (RecordSetter & GroupMe) hiring Takeru Kobayashi to see how many grilled cheese sandwiches he could crush in a minute.

Although the rain kept me from getting everywhere I wanted the first couple of days, it was nice to take the SXSW experience in and check out the cool new technology on display at the various SXSW Lounges. I saw plenty of facial recognition technology, but companies still have some work ahead to get the technology where it needs to be (Minority Report style).

To be continued….

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