SXSW Update

Work has been crazy this week. Things are sometimes calm after spring break, but no such luck this year. Anyway, here’s a little more information about what I did during South-by-Southwest…

The first thing I saw was the Jason Fried / Jim Coudal opening keynote. For me, that one talk was probably worth the price of admission. I’ve read all of 37signals‘ ideas about building web applications, but somehow actually hearing and seeing Jason Fried say the words made it a lot more meaningful. Jim Coudal was also a great speaker. I would probably say he was the better speaker of the two, but almost everyone in the audience seemed to be a Jason Fried fanboy.

There were so many other sessions I sometimes had a hard time deciding where to go. DOM Scripting with Jeremy Keith and Aaron Gustafson was a great introduction to JavaScript and the Document Object Model. Sink or Swim with , Evan Williams, Josua Schachter and a couple of other guys had some good advice for business owners. The Sunday keynote with Jason Kottke and Heather Armstrong was a lot of fun. The Microformats talk really opened my eyes to what all the fuss was about. I feel like microformats are going to be very important soon.

I got several books signed while I was there – Designing With Web Standards, DOM Scripting, and CSS Mastery. All of the authors were extremly nice. Geeky guys don’t take to being treated like stars very well. Some people got their picture taken with Zeldman and I could tell he thought that was a little weird. Yes, I did take his picture, but I didn’t stand next to him and hug him. I guess that makes me just half weird.

Overall I had a great time and I was very impressed with the convention. It was great to be able to watch people speak at a session and then be able to bump into them in the halls or sit next to them at another session. It didn’t seem like some exclusive event where the speakers were wisked away in limos. Everyone seemed really easy going and eager to share their ideas.

There was only one session that I left early and that was mainly because it was the end of the day and the lighting in the room was turned down low. For me it was either leave or fall asleep.

I hope I get to go again next year and from now on. Who knows, maybe one of these years I’ll even get up on the stage and talk about something.