March 11, 2008
Off-Site SXSW Thoughts
I vowed to decrease my business travel in 2008 and given that I "upped" my international travel over the past few years, I had to make some hard decisions on where to go and ultimately "why." Sometimes we forget to ask "why" we go to a trade show, conference or event.
Obviously there are those you have a direct vested interest in (....in my case it would be a client who has presence or wants presence in some way), those you simply go for networking purposes and those where you hope to learn something new.
It's shocking how rare the event is that gives you the latter. (Davos, TED, PopTech, PUSH, are a few great examples). (Links and blog coverage can be found in the conference category in the right hand column of this blog)
This year, I opted out of eTech, SXSW and CTIA for starters......and may be traveling when spring events Web 2.0 Expo and AdTech are in full swing. The smaller, more personalized events where you can really have an impact or engage in a dialogue that gives you something of "immediate" value for your business are where I'll be forced to focus my attention. Back to the basics: prioritize and simplify.
Enter this year's SXSW flurry of blog posts, tweets, video and podcast coverage and photos of parties and hallway conversations.
From the blog posts, photos and Twitter activity, there's no question that SXSW has changed this year. There seems to be a whole new level of attendees that expands beyond the younger social media and blogging crowd, which was a large percentage of the Interactive attendees in the early days.
At SXSW this year, it appears that all my industry buds were on-site. There is no shortage of blog and Twitter activity for those not on the ground and want to hear a few perspectives. Jeff Jarvis captured his thoughts (largely negative) on the Sarah Lacey and Mark Zuckerberg interview.
Robert Scoble spent some time chatting with her afterwards and comments here, Michael Arrington referred to the event as "nothing more than a witch burning," while Dave McClure said the disaster was because Lacey isn't a "geek." Even Wired captures the conversation and as always, ValleyWag had a field day.
186 comments alone on Arrington's blog post. Could the interview really have been that bad? I wasn't there so its hard to really know whether she didn't have a clue or that she was really just simply mismatched to interview Mark in the first place, among bloggers and geeks who are used to a very different kind of dialogue at a venue like SXSW.
If this interview was conducted on the D stage for example, I wonder if the crowd would have responded differently -- even if there were some disgruntled folks who felt she handled it poorly.
But, there was another Zuckerberg interview. Yesterday, Marshall Kirkpatrick interviewed Mark about data portability.
Thankfully there were a handful of blog posts about other SXSW activities and interviews for those of us who may need to care what happens in the Facebook world but its not the only thing that drives our business strategy or what we do. :-)
Guy Kawasaki shares a few SXSW photos (who btw, launched his new gig Alltop this week - its getting mixed reviews). CrunchGear talks about Rhapsody's understanding of how to leverage the changing dynamics of the music industry. Here's a post about whether video games should replace college. AppScout's Kyle Monson writes about SXSW here. Hmmmm, I also noticed that Bruce Sterling didn't do his annual wrap this year.
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I am writing to you from the Closing Night of SxSW. It was my first time attending the festivals. Besides having a blast, I must tell you that although many of the attendees were in their 20s and 30s, there were many older folks like me (49) in attendance. I was there to promote my baby boomer blog and also to seek a home for my screenplays. It was a great experience and I would recommend 30+ and 30++ people to try it out next year.
Posted by: Rhea | Mar 11, 2008 7:54:35 PM
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