Time caught up with me I couldn’t continue to blog each night/morning after as I had started out, but instead had to take notes and hope that my memory would still be sharp a week later when I got the chance to write.
Today was crazy. Today was worth the entire trip.
I was able to attend the most sessions today, and they were all brilliant. SxSW seems to get slammed a bit regarding quality of speaker content, but I think if you go into it expecting to be inspired, and not educated, you will get a lot out of the sessions. Today I was inspired. First up was the VC session (get to know your investors) roundtable and although it was targeted to startups with no/little money yet, a few more mature companies seemed to be the ones asking – and answering – the questions. I think it was most eye-opening for my business partner who has not been immersed in the funding part of the equation (yet).
Next was the Content Rules book reading, and along the way to the session I bumped into the authors C.C. & Ann (go me! – I love C.C.) Part of me was hoping they would read a passage from the book doing voices of famous people like William Shatner or Christopher Walken, but as it turns out they talked about some of the major points covered in the book and did a Q & A session. What I found I liked best from the author sessions was that you get to see a bit of the personality behind the words. Ann is a very professionally trained writer and journalist and to see her rock out and throw devil horns on stage made me love her! SHE gets it.
The next session for me was about energy. Not the kind I originally thought (I didn’t read the description and assumed it had something to do with trying to be green and still using all our power-sucking iDevices). Instead I got an amazing education on The Energy Project – concepts and tips on how to better use the time we have to be more productive as well as healthier. People in ‘our’ profession go-go-GO all the time, surviving on little sleep and lots of coffee to get the next product, the next bug fix, the next widget to market faster. The Energy Project talked about how to best work with our natural cycles as human beings to work at our peak all the time. VERY interesting!
The session that blew me away? The Scvngr keynote. First of all, Dave and I met Seth Priebatsch two years ago at TechCocktail Boston. He was **19 years old** at the time, and couldn’t even drink at the venue he was showcasing Scvngr at. Blows my mind. This guy GETS IT. Seth talked about everything but his own company, kept the 700+ in the room plus about 700+ watching the simulcast completely focused on him and not their phones. He talked about how well his competitors are doing and great features they are successful with. I just could not get over the fact that he presented himself so well on a keynote stage. I’ve seen keynoters that have been on stage for 20 years not ‘perform’ as well as he did. Seth talked about the ‘game layer’ that is now becoming mainstream (at least in my industry). We’ve had 10 years of social media (yes, we have) and now the next decade will be about bringing fun and engagement tactics to the mainstream. Just mind-blowing. Everyone I talked to that attended/watched that keynote was blown away.
Day lead into the night, and we wound up at the Wiley party (which was one of my must-attend events). The venue The Cedar Door was nice with a big outdoor deck. They didn’t cram in so many people that you couldn’t walk around or talk comfortably. Well done. I wound up bumping into Steve Garfield – author of Get Seen (a Wiley book). With so many people at SxSW, the chances of finding anyone you know is fairly slim, but when you do find someone it’s best to say hello right then. Chances are you won’t see them again! I met so many awesome people at the Wiley party! Some I knew but had never met in person (Deb Ng & Rick Calvert from BlogWorld Expo), and some wound up being on opposite sides of my social circle that had the most amazing purple hair (Jen / TechKaraoke). Total killer moment – meeting and chatting with David Meerman Scott for a few minutes. #EPIC.
Funny thing was, at the Wiley party as well in general around SxSW I saw or chatted with a few people (that I knew prior) that completely full of themselves. There is nothing I hate more than getting the ol’ blowoff from someone that deems me lower on the rung than they are. I found out by several friends that one particular person was shocked I was at SxSW, having dropped off the face of the Earth (and our industry) six years ago according to them – and assumed I was there sniffing around for a low-level job. Just because I / we don’t travel in the same circle of influence online does not mean either of us is less ‘important’ than the other. I am still a person regardless of my use to you professionally. For that matter – I have a large, wide, and deep network of amazing contacts and really don’t need people like that around. Not being on your ‘radar’ does not make me insignifiant. Hacks. I feared SxSW would be full of those types of people, luckily I only knew two of them.
After riding the high of the Wiley party, Dave and I headed out with a business friend of his Isabella Lopez (LOVE HER!) to the Melting Pot. Dinner = eh. Conversation = AWESOME. She’s from Quebec and I just love to hear her speak, for the accent as well as the content. Fingers crossed we can work together soon…
- C.C. Chapman
- Bryan Person
- Ann Handley
- Lee Mikles
- Ally Worthington
- Jason Falls
- David Meerman Scott
- Steve Garfield
- Deb Ng / Blogworld Expo
- Rick / Blogworld Expo
- Jen / Techkaraoke
- Joe Jaffe