The 2013 SXSW show was stimulating and frustrating all at the same time – but this time, my third time, the going got a lot better. This was the first time that I stayed for the entire show (except for the brilliant closing talk by Bruce Sterling). Why was the going better? It takes going several times to get the big picture so you can optimize your time and ensure that you are in the conference room before they close the doors. There are two strategies: Look for speakers that you want to hear, regardless of topics, and seek them out. Or, look for tracks or topics that you like and go to those. I did the latter, and was not disappointed And I hear some really good talks from people I have never heard about. My partner Jeanne, did the former strategy, and she was very happy with her approach. I would suggest you consider the following:
- Reserve hotel rooms 9 months in advance (not kidding)
- Reserve workshop sessions as soon as they are announced (they fill up quickly)
- Plan the entire day completely prior to the start of the day (but feel free to deviate)
What is it about SouthBy? It is passion. The ‘Digital Creatives’ that predominate the show exhibit a palpable halo of passion for making a difference. Yes, there are parties and those are just plain fun, and great networking opportunities, but some of the best times I had were in the sessions. The speakers were passionate about innovation. Passionate about minimal/minimum viable product. Passionate about open, sharing, collaboration and context. Most importantly, passionate about leaving their mark.
In the learning domain, the power of two software applications really sank in… and they are polar in their sophistication. Both start with W… WordPress and Wolfram Alpha.
If you are interested in learning more, check out John Carter’s “Commonplace Book” Blog at 47 Meters www.47meters.com