Thoughts on SXSWi 2013

I got back late last Wednesday night from this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival (aka “spring break for nerds”) with my head full of new ideas and my body sore from abuse. This was inspired by Scott Porad’s list of learnings and when I read his, I realized that mine were completely different, illustrating how different an experience SXSW can be for different people.

– Tiny cheap computers (Raspberry Pi), 3d printing (MakerBot), practically free sensors & low power connectivity (Fitbit) are an amazing marriage that will create a future I can’t predict (but it’s happening now). The Raspberry Pi is about the size of Altoids tin, how small can this go? What other applications can a connected, low powered sensor drive? I think the key to this future is thinking about what we can (or should) do with all this power. No one wants SkyNet, but I think there are other more pleasant possible outcomes.

Peter Thiel has a depressing outlook on the United States, but in some ways, it’s hard not to agree with him. I guess I should move to China if I want happy times?

John Biehler reminded me that hobbies can lead to interesting new things to work on. Everything I’ve been successful in life doing has started off as a hobby.

– Most product people wrestle not having enough capacity to do all the things they want to do. Capacity to build still outweighs deciding what to build.

Canadians are awesome.

– Creating a social/mobile/local marketplace is super difficult, but if you nail it, you can own it. The trick is identifying the market and starting VERY specifically (a neighborhood or a demographic in a city). Some examples include Zaarly & Lyft.

– There are lots of hosting companies that offer hosting for free for a limited amount of time. Img.ur used 3 providers before moving into AWS. Bootstrapping means a level of frugality that might be tough for people who are accustomed to having the “best” or “easiest”

– Having a team of crack networkers working together and understanding each other’s agenda’s is a great way to divide and conquer (even if we were the “Grumpy Old Men” of the Internet).

Brisket at Stubb’s is really, really good.

Photos Pictures SXSW SXSW 2009

SXSWi 2009 – Happy Cog’aoke Party Pix

So, as I was planning a separate post about the parties at SXSW I realized that it would be dominated by one as I had the most fun taking pictures of folks at Happy Cog’s karaoke party.

I’ve done karaoke (badly) and I’ve taken photos at parties before, but this party was special as they had fantastic lighting and super campy performances.

Here are some of my favorites:

Tara Hunt - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Tara Hunt channels Styx.

Jonathon Finnegan - Happy Cog'aoke - SXSWi 2009

Haveboard’s Humpty Dance

Schlomo Rabinowitz - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Feel the Power of Schlomo Rabinowitz

Armano - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

David Armano lays down some Skynyrd.

Sarah Harrison - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Sarah Harrison had a story to tell about her little cat.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Happy Coggers Rob Weychart and Kevin Hoffman gave us the time of our lives.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Lauren Isaacson‘s spot on Winehouse brought the house down.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Aaron Brazell represents. ‘Nuff said.

Thanks Happy Cog for a great party. Let’s do it again next year, shall we?

More Happy Cogaoke pictures here.

Photos Pictures SXSW 2009

SXSWi Keynotes in Pictures

I upped my photographic game this year with some new camera gear in hopes of documenting SXSWi as best I could. Here are some of my favorites from the keynotes from this year.

Tony Hsieh - South by Southwest Interactive 2009
Tony Hsieh (and his Zappos crew) want YOU to have good customer service.
Kathy Sierra and Gary Vee - SXSWi 2009
Kathy Sierra and Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vee - SXSWi 2009

Gary Vee of Wine Library TV

Kathy Sierra - SXSWi 2009

Kathy Sierra points to something that kicks ass

Nate Silver - SXSWi 2009

Nate Silver of

Nate Silver and Stephen Baker - SXSWi 2009

Stephen Baker (Businessweek) and Nate Silver

Tony Hsieh - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Tony Hsieh of

Lawrence Lessig - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Lawrence Lessig talking about Change 2.0

More pictures in my Flickr stream


SXSWi People and Panels

There are numerous ways in which you can build your SXSWi Schedule this year including Sched, cerado ventana and the main SXSW site.

But one thing missing from all of this is a good way to look at the folks who are on a given panel. I made a little spreadsheet that has the panels broken out by the people giving them, it’s derived from the official list here, but sortable so you can find the folks you might want to see and the panel they are on.

Unfortunately, I didn’t incorporate the times they are happening, but this is a good way to insure you don’t miss the people you truly want to see.

See the whole list over at Google Docs