Back from SXSW

The weekend in Austin was truly fantastic My favorite moments from this year at SXSW:

  • Kevin dyeing his hair blue for International Day of Awesomeness
  • Leah Culver from Pownce saying that secure authentication is unnecessary and slow during the Developer Friendly Web APIs talk on Sunday was comical. Not having SSL auth devalues your site, but more importantly your users, especially sites that screen scrape address books etc.
  • Seeing 300 geeks bowl was truly amazing. The Mapquest team bowled 5 foot bouncers down the lane while other teams bowled in full costume.
  • Learning that teens realize that websites need advertisements to make money was refreshing; but having them view ads that they could care less about is wasteful for all of the web industry. For example, a 16 year old viewing an ad for Miller Lite on in between videos is pointless for both Miller and NBA Interactive.
  • Doing an interview with the Download Squad on Open AIM was really great; Grant and team do a fantastic job.
  • RockBand was definitely the game of choice at SXSW, as everyone was rocking out on the trade show floor.
  • Seeing Kal Penn, John Cho, and Neil Patrick Harris talking about Harold and Kumar was hysterical

Will I go back next year? Is there any doubt, SXSWi is truly one of the best weekends of the year, now I just need to find a way to stay for the music.

Bowling For Geeks

Yesterday was a really exciting day at SXSW. We saw some movie stars, AOL won a prestigious web award, and we took on a bunch of other geeks in a ho-down at the bowling alley. A few years ago, Arrested Development was my favorite show on TV (old episodes can be found on, and without a doubt that show launched the career of Michael Cera from Superbad and Juno, and it also reinforced the fact that Jeffery Tambour was one of the best comedic actors around. Today he was at SXSW and it was very cool to meet him.

This evening, Kevin Lawver‘s Ficlets which was nominated for two web awards at SXSW, won the award for site with best CSS. Congrats to Kevin and all the folks who worked on it. For those who do not know, Ficlets is a community short story fiction writing site where stories can be strung together and shared with others.

As the web awards were going on, the Open AIM group here attending the conference went to Bowling For Geeks. In a competition between 50 teams bowling two games each, we came in toward the bottom, but had a lot of fun. The folks here in Austin have been awesome this year in getting out and supporting a lot of causes and organizations (of course free food and drinks never hurt).

Early Impressions At SXSW

So far SXSW has lived up to its billing as the most fun and diverse conference out there. Austin provides a great backdrop for all of the action with great music, films and of course interactive discussions. Listening to teens talking about what they want from their online experiences to hearing from Kal Penn, John Cho, and Neil Patrick Harris about what it was like to make Harold and Kumar Go To Guantanamo Bay. Two interesting tidbits to take away from these talks. First, teens do not like advertisements that are not targeted to them, for example, one of the panelists shares he goes to to watch videos, and in between clips he sees ads for Miller Lite, he is 16 years old. For Kal and John they talked about how they were surprised that they were casted as leads in a movie like the first Harold and Kumar, basically sharing how much racism there is in Hollywood, but that since Harold and Kumar that they are seeing it change slightly. Seeing a panel debate on which social networking campaign was the biggest flop (HP in my opinion) was enlightening. Overall, SXSW has been as consistent as ever, and you can continue to follow along by tuning into the blog and checking my twitter feed.