(repost, now with more video)
SXSW inspired a lot of cognitive dissonance. I’m not even sure I can get it all out into words. It’s clear in my brain. I don’t have a lot of time for really cohesive blogging anymore, but I’ll try.
Part of that dissonance might be related to that last thing. There were a lot people at SXSW with plenty of time to blog about a lot of things and have very important thoughts. And by “very important” I mean asinine and pathetic. [That combined with a huge emphasis on panels and “core conversations” inspired a lot of hate].
At the same time, I was again really inspired by SXSW this year. If there was one overriding theme to the entire event, it was this: Things suck, but you’re awesome. Most presentations (and yes I tried to stick to the proper presentations) ended with some variant of this (and Kathy Sierra’s really did).
Saturday I mostly played in the Lego pit and hit up BarCamp, but I did make it to Designing the Future of The New York Times, which I went to, of course, because of the brilliant Khoi Vinh, but found myself far more impressed with his colleague Tom Bodkin (here’s his bio w/ pic on the SX site). His years of experience in a much richer design process and culture spoke rather profoundly, I thought, to a room full of mostly design hacks (myself, of course, included).
My first two panels talks on Sunday were excellent. First was Being a UX Team of One by Leah Buley, which was totally humbling and inspiring at the same time. Lots of great stuff that I want to do but am not doing yet in my UX practice. She has a few preso’s up already on slideshare, including this same one given last year. The second was Jared Spool’s talk. I’ve seen Jared speak before so I knew it was going to be good. It was. Apparently other people knew it was going to be good too. About two rows in front of me was a who’s who of web design.
Somehow I missed this on Sunday, which was dumb of me. After giving the keynote a miss to go visit Mellow Johnny’s with Jay I wandering in and out of sessions until stumbling into Gary Vaynerchuk’s Q&A in the big room. I was so glad I did. My opinion of him did a 180. Previously, I wasn’t a fan (go here to decide for yourself). But seeing him speak live to that audience I realized, he’s a motivational speaker, and my kind of motivational speaker at that: a no bullshit one. Plus he could get Eeyore excited about life.
Monday there was some more good stuff going on, but all I really cared about was the Bruce Sterling session. I did go to Presenting Straight to the Brain, which was good, Kathy’s stuff particularly. I have strong opinions about that stuff, though, and I can’t believe no-one is poo- pooing panels and telling people to emulate rockstars. Mid-day I got to hang out with @thedandee some more which was a good thing. Eating, as well, since I hadn’t eaten in about 24 hours. After lunch we both went to the aforementioned and inspiring talk by Kathy. Then, Bruce. He was awesome.
I’ll be huffduffing all the talks I went to plus all the ones I wished I’d gone to, for those who want to catch/keep up but want a filter. I’ll probably fill in some gabs with quick vid or pic posts here as well.
Update 3: Khoi Vihn’s SX recap. And Mike D, from the comments: “Jared Spool? Fantastic. I’d rather watch him talk about peeling carrots for an hour than listen to five social media consultants introduce themselves for a half hour and then open up Q & A.”
And finally, the most interesting bit, Carissa’s take on the weekend:
: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=+d-bag+OR+douchebag+OR+douchebags+OR+bullshit+OR+blog+OR+blogger+from%3Adealingwith (I wasn’t being facetiousabout the ‘I like how starting a blog is the new…’ thing, though)