It is that time of year again, the annualÂ pilgrimageÂ down to Austin, Texas to SouthBySouthwest (SXSW). Â This will be my 9th SXSW out of the last 10 years and it may be the last one I go to. Â Many posts have been written about how SXSW has “jumped the shark” and in 2010, I felt that it definitely had.
When I started going to SXSW in 2003 it was a different conference than any others that I had been to. Â The conference was much smaller and led by developers and designers. Â The panels were voted on by the community and they tended to be led by thought leaders.
As the decade moved along things slowly changed, some for the better. Â The conference got bigger, we saw great product launches there like Twitter and FourSquare. Â But something else happened, no longer were panels solely chosen by the community, and by 2010, it felt like most of the panels were allowed to speak thanks to their company’s sponsorship. Â I saw this first hand with the panel I was on with Naveen Selvadurai and Josh Babetski. Â Our panel was not picked until AOL brought it to SXSW’s attention that we were major sponsors that year. Â Magically our panel was added to the program.
So why am I going this year? Â I wanted to see if anything has changed. Â It does not look like it on the surface, but I remain hopeful. Â I am excited to see a lot of friends, our publishers and service providers all in one place. Â Of course the parties and the city of Austin are another great part of SXSW. Â Later this weekend I’ll put together the panels, parties, movies and bands I am looking forward to seeing.