Anyone who knows me, knows I am very much not a fan of conferences. It’s just not my thing. However, South By Southwest (SXSW) is a different kind of event, and every year (like this one) that I don’t go, I regret it.
For background only, I am someone who attended SXSW more than 20 years ago when it was a college music show in Austin-this is before the tech crowd kind of took it over and in the vernacular of my industry made it about convergence. I can remember struggling to find money to go in college (the college radio station paid a couple of hundred dollars). When I worked in TV in Dallas it was great to be assigned to the show. It was so out of the mainstream, it was an easy assignment to snag.
Now, it’s a tough ticket. One friend was actively looking for hotel reservations that were about to be canceled–knowing the roots of SXSW, that’s kind of crazy.
Over the years of evolution SXSW has become a place for tech on the periphery of the music and film industry to make announcements-this for the most part means apps (especially mobile) and new ways to layer social into existing products. The list this year has been impressive:
- New FourSquare
- New Gowalla
- New TED API
- Indie film enablement at Dynamo
- @Anywhere integrating with Twitter
And those are just five off the top of my head…
Then there was the one that didn’t happen:
The rumor over the weekend was Google would introduce us to its next social attempt, Google Circles. Following that over the weekend (while not in Austin) was a bit dizzying–but it looks like that won’t happen, for now at least.
The upshot though is a place where new bands and indie producers gathered to be found has been found…
It’s no wonder the person who best lives convergence has been such a hit
So, hopefully next year this update is from Austin, and I won’t spend three days saying, “Man I should be at SXSW.” Either way, it should be a lot of fun (as it always is).