I’m back from the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Actually I was back last Wednesday, but it took me a while to get back to writing. The show was great fun—I think I attended about 15 panels and speeches, and in between I had a rare chance to talk to people who understand what I do for a living. While I admire those who were live-blogging the events, I just didn’t have the energy, so I’ll be posting some belated comments about the show this week.
One of the highlights was meeting a number of “famous” people. This began when I ran into Robert Scoble in the hotel elevator on the first day, and it took me nearly 10 floors to realize who he was. (Thanks for the link and the Channel 9 Guy!) Scoble came to the kickball game where I also ran into some friends from last year: Simon Willison (pictured with Channel 9 Guy here), Jeremy Dunck, and Yvonne Adams.
Kickball was the geekiest sporting event I’ve ever seen, and the only one I ever participate in. There were so many digital cameras this year that I’m sure there’s an embarrasing picture of me playing kickball somewhere on the web. If you took it, I’ll pay you to take it offline.
I also met Jeffrey Zeldman, Craig Newmark (of Craigslist), Jon Hicks (who designed the Firefox logo), Dan Gillmor, Matt Haughey (of Metafilter), Jock Gill (who created the first White House web site in 1994), Phil Kaplan (of AdBrite and F—ed Company) and of course Jason Calacanis, my boss at Weblogs Inc. The great thing was that none of these people acted the slightest bit famous. The downside is that now that I’m back home, nobody here has heard of any of them…
The true highlight, though, was all of the intelligent conversation. Outside of the panels, the most educational moment was when Thomas Vander Wall took a few minutes to give us an impromptu presentation on Attention.XML over Thai food—truly something I’m not likely to experience anywhere else. I’ll post the complete gratuitous list of everyone I met at SXSW tomorrow.
The final Geek Moment of the trip happened when I was at the Austin Airport waiting for my flight and I heard the PA system say “Jason Kottke, come to security checkpoint 3 to claim lost property.” Thanks to the web I actually found the rest of the story.