Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, TX. My colleagues and past attendees told me it was a “must attend” event and I have to tell you that it was great fun, exciting, inspiring and, of course, productive. Full disclosure – Webgrrls International was a media sponsor for the event
The SXWSi team put together an amazingly well organized and coordinated conference featuring five days of thoughtful and thought provoking sessions, amazing people to meet and really fun parties. According to the SXSW team, “the event celebrates the best minds and the brightest personalities of emerging technology”. Kudos to the entire SXSW team…I though it was great…
As a first-timer, the conference could have been overwhelming had I not attended the How to Rawk SXSW: The Basics, which is a panel geared to first-time attendees, and focuses on how registrants can leverage all the different elements of the event to achieve personal and professional goals…I recommend this panel for all of the first-timers next year.
Lot’s of Sessions….
I attended sessions every day…for five days. Some of the sessions that really stood out to me were:
- Journey to the Center of Design led by Jared Spool, founding partner of User Interface Engineering. Jared discussed how user research affects design, the importance of measuring the right things, how to measure brand engagement, and 3 core UX (user experience) attributes for great experience. Watch the highly edited version of the presentation: Part 1 & Part 2
- Building Your Brand with Web 2.0 Tools with Saul Colt of Freshbooks, C.C. Chapman of The Advance Guard, Chris Brogan of New Marketing Labs and Loic Le Meur of Seesmic. The expert panel discussed the importance of building your brand and how easy it is to do it now with all of the social media tools accessible to everyone. They also mentioned that not every social media tool is right for every brand and the importance of choosing the right tools for your brand. Check out a the blog post from Kate who live blogged the session.
- How to Protect Your Brand Without Being a Jerk! With Twanna A Hines (funkybrownchick.com), Elena Paul Exec Dir , VLA, Oren Bitan Atty, HIQI Media, Eric Steuer Creative Dir, Creative Commons, Danny O’Brien eff.org. The panel discussed ways to protect your brand & content from copycats. Check out this detailed outline for the session.
There were many more session that were great but these are the ones that stood out in my mind. You can also explore all of the archives of the daytime programming for this year’s event by checking out videos and audio podcasts.
Lot’s of Events and Lot’s of People to Meet….
There were so many parties to attend and I did my best to attend the best one’s…and I think that I did.
- The TechSet Meets The Rat Pack at SXSWi – this was my kick off party hosted by and brought together Microsoft.
- Frog Design – with wine and beer all around, this party was a huge gathering of almost every one at SXSW in attendance (at least it seemed it)…I had a lot of fun and met the most people.
- Conversify – with SweetRiot chocolates and MiddleSister Wine to set the tone, the conversify women threw an intimate soirée for a few of their closest friends…
- Kirtsy – this was an amazing gathering hosted by the Women of Kirtsy and Guy Kawasaki of Alltop. I reconnected with all of the friends I made at the Mom 2.0 Summit and made some new ones.
- Tumblr – Tumblr hosted another huge event that was great fun and I met a lot of people who have become some new great friends
Here are some photos that I have taken of my week in Austin.
I found the most value in meeting the attendees, making new connections and re-connecting with the people that I already knew. I met some great people in the hallways between sessions, in the TechSet Lounge, at the parties, and even on the streets there were people to meet.
I have to say that the SXSW conference is a “must attend” event and I look forward to next year’s event and to seeing you all there….