One minute after stepping into the Austin Convention Center last Friday I bumped into Pete Cashmore, the hunky young rockstar CEO of Mashable. I know Pete as we’ve worked on a little project together. He’s a lovely guy – very polite and enthusiastic (he just turned 24). So he instantly agreed to a snap of the two of us.
3 mins into #SXSW and I run into my fave Pete Cashmore aka @mashable. Sigh. If only I were a bit younger.
– March 12, 2010 via Twitter
And that’s really the best gossip I can give you (well, the “only if a bit younger” part). Attending SXSW Interactive (this was my second time) is a serendipitous fest of networking. It’s connecting and talking and listening to people you know for the most part digitally. It’s a chance to spend time with them face-to-face, as well as meet new folks. And yes there are really loud parties and conference sessions and panels. But it’s really all about the people (12,000 some registrants this year). Oh, and the Austin weather. And the beer. It adds up to a richly satisfying experience for those of us who spend waaay too much time online, gazing at the screen.
Is there a measurable ROI? I’d say yes, if you’ll go with “richly satisfying” as a metric. I’ll echo HarperStudio SVP and Associate Publisher Debbie Stier writing about her experience at O’Reilly’s recent TOC (Tools of Change) conference in New York. I had the good fortune to have dinner with Debbie in Austin:
Here’s the thing, I don’t go expecting to take away some big revelation, and what I’ve learned over the years is that the lessons often take time to marinate and reveal themselves, and I don’t even know what I learned until weeks or months later.
– Debbie Stier on Tools of Change 2010
Thanks Debbie, for pointing that out. That said, it doesn’t hurt to make a list of some of my favorite encounters (reconstructed from my Twitter stream). This is as much for me as for you, dear reader. Otherwise I will forget to follow up. Note: most of the photos snapped with my iPhone. [More coverage of SXSW Interactive below.]
- Listening to Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, resuming his presentation after a fire alarm required thousands of attendees to file out of – and then back into the ACC (Austin Convention Center)
- An engaging talk by The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin about her new bestselling book
- Meeting Emily Wood, the real Googler behind @googleSXSW (and also @google)
- Bumping into Robert Scoble (here with Emily Wood), the original poster boy for corporate blogging (I’ve known him for years, since he blogged for Microsoft)
- Chance meeting with Paul Gillin, another geek author friend (his new book is about Geocaching)
- HARO (Help a Reporter Out) Peter Shankman outside the Four Seasons on his way to skydiving (I was headed for a power walk around the river)
Had fab dinner with SmartBrief publisher Merritt Colaizzi at Manuel’s. Read SmartBrief’s excellent coverage of SXSW sessions. Follow @smartbrief and @sbosm.
- Breakfast with geek grrl and author Aliza Sherman after our power walk (I’ve known Aliza since 1995)
- Hubspot CTO Dharmesh Shah talking about social media: “If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right”
- Meeting U.S. Air Force social media guy Paul F. Bove (fab lunch arranged by Network Solutions’ @shashib)
- Truly provocative keynote on privacy (“It is NOT dead”) by Danah Boyd (The new default is public, but, with effort, you can still be private)
- Ran into the amazing Beth Kanter, guru of social media for nonprofits (her new book, The Networked Nonprofit, is out in July)
- A quiet moment far from the madding crowd: early morning rowers on the river
Best advice I ever got was 10 years ago from Guy Kawasaki: “Think digital, act analog.”
- One of the best presentations I attended: The Back of the Napkin author and genius Dan Roam on Vivid Thinking (title of his next book)
- LionelatDell, one of my favorite corporate bloggers, at Edelman Digital’s Allhat No Cattle party
- At Frank Gruber’s SXSW Blackout Sunday Tech Cocktail (pic is with Jen Consalvo)
- The infamous – and terrific – SXSW Mashable party
- Provocative session by The Cause Lab on how “to humanize the issue of hunger using data” (great chat with Brian Reich)
- From Debbie Stier: “The content is the mother ship: there are many different vessels to deliver it in” at the Future of Publishing session
- Zen comment from Twitter CEO Ev Williams from his mainstage appearance: “We debated ‘open’ vs ‘transparent’ at Twitter. Window is transparent but door is open – we chose ‘open.’”
- Best comment from @Ev, talking about Haiti: “We’ve always held it important to make Twitter reach the weakest signals in the network.”
- Digital celeb photo op: Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble getting ready for the Twitter tools panel with @Pistachio
- Recalling best advice I ever got (10 years ago from Guy Kawasaki): “Think digital, act analog.”
- Photo op: LinkedIn chief blogger Mario Sundar is reading the new updated edition of my book, why aren’t you?
- The only “exclusive” party I attended was the wine tasting at the top of the Frost Tower, thrown by social media celeb and author Gary Vaynerchuk for Brian Solis and his new book, Engage
- Wrapping up with a video interview on Publishing 2.0 by Bryan Person and Mark Williams (will post link to vid when I get it)
Links to More Coverage of 2010 SXSWi
- SmartBrief on Social Media: live coverage of SXSW sessions
- My Impressions of SXSW 2010 – Think Chatroulette IRL by HarperStudio’s Debbie Stier
- Omar L. Gallaga’s blog entries about SXSWi 2010 for the Austin American-Statesman
- 13 Observations From South By Southwest (SXSW) by Jay Baer
- Top Ten Takeaways From SXSW For Next Year by Simon Mainwaring