SXSW Wrapup: Reflections on the Chaos

Now you’re starting to see the South by Southwest wrapup posts appear, and I’ve already seen one post slamming the festival for becoming too big [It’s a real rant on the NY Observer if you want to Google it, but not worth the link in my opinion] and one defending the new SXSW status quo.

I’ll just say this: I’ve been to SXSW 5 of the last 7 years, and though it’s changed dramatically in that time, it remains one of the best places to catch up on everything related to the web. This year, with sessions spread all over downtown Austin, I walked nearly 10 miles in the two days I was in town. There was a shuttle service — too pricey when the weather was nice and cabs are cheap — but I found there was time to walk, so why not?

I blogged all the sessions I attended. Some are directly related to work I’m doing right now, and some are just topics I’m interested in. All my posts on SXSW are raw notes, so don’t expect polished journalism.

Will I go back? Most definitely. I always learn something new there and meet interesting people. I will be surprised if we don’t see big tweaks to the calendar and the session layout, but either way, I’m in. The excitement about the digital industry is palpable there, and it’s hard to find someone who’s not interested in learning more or hearing about new ideas. That kind of energy recharges me for a lot of hard work to come.

The sessions I blogged:
Todd Park from HHS on the Power of Open Health Data
Recommendation Engines: Going Beyond the Social Graph
Margot Bloomstein on Creation, Curation and the Ethics of Content Strategy
Tim Wu on Net Neutrality
Gary Vaynerchuk and The Thank You Economy
Dawn Foster on Hacking RSS

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