During the second week of March, I headed to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2009. The conference itself ran from March 13 through March 17 and I arrived on March 12 and left on March 18. Since it is still fresh in my mind, as I did last year, I wanted to provide a recap of the experience. This is my epic and unnecessarily detailed and long (even boring by some standards) recap of the conference. This is the “WHY DID YOU WRITE ALL THAT? NOBODY CARES.” recap. It’s for me personally, to remember the event, as much as anything else, but if you want to read it, you are definitely welcome! Good luck.
Let’s start with this: I’m sitting in the Charlotte airport on wifi, waiting for my flight to Austin, and a guy walks by. He looks like a much older version of Kevin McCallister’s mean brother Buzz, from the movie “Home Alone,” which I loved as a kid. I tweeted this out at the time. The next day, after I’ve arrived in Austin, a girl at the convention center hands me a promo for a movie called “The 2 Bobs.”
I look at it and notice that this was the guy on my flight. And then the girl who hands it to me says that he was in “Home Alone.” So, it was the guy. His name is Devin Ratray and he was in town doing promo for the film.
On the flight from Charlotte to Austin, I sat next to Scott Brewster, the Director of Online Learning for The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and we got to know each other a bit, for the duration of the flight.
I got in town at around 5 PM and it took me an hour and a half or so to get to the hotel and get checked in and settled. After considering various dinner options, I saw a tweet by Paul Boag of Boagworld. I had hoped to meet up with him at some point, but he said he was having an informal dinner and I made my way over to his hotel lobby to meet up.
But, first, I went to the Austin Convention Center to pick up my badge for the conference. The line for the general attendee pickup was very, very long. About three quarters of the first floor – four people deep. But, the panelist registration had all of two people in line when I got there. Yes! So, I was able to pick my badge up very quickly, but not before chatting with Grant Robertson of Download Squad and meeting Victor Agreda of Weblogs, Inc.
When I made it to Paul’s hotel, I realized that I had only a hazy idea of what he looked like (basically, my best memory of his Twitter avatar, with him looking in a downward direction). But, I spotted him rather easily and joined him and a group that included Niqui Merret, Marcus Lillington, Phill Tran and John Morton. I actually ended out hanging out with Phill at various points of the conference, as well. All cool people. After dinner, they headed to Buffalo Billiards… I headed to bed.