12 March 2007

SxSW - a conflicting experience

So - I was asked to speak at this year's SxSW conference. I had always wanted to go, the topic was right and so I jumped in with both feet. I recently wondered if I made the right move, or if I should have gone to the AI Summit. I would choose Austin over Vegas any day. But when it came down to it - making a passionate plee for more user research and better research methodologies was the only logical choice.

And now that I am here - I (think) I made the best choice. As a presenter, I may have a chance to help, to influence and to teach. Ego and accolades aside... I think we accomplished that.

But a trip to a national conference includes some expectation (I am all about manageing and setting these accurately). in my mind, you don't travel a thousand plus miles and spend thousand of dollars (especially when it is someone elses) just for validation. I came here to learn and to hear new ideas. Day three and I am still waiting. I have resorted to setting in some sessions about mobile. Mobile is an area that I have been researching, but have yet to actively touch. Finally, I am coming away from an hour of listening with more than I sat down with.

At this point, what I know about SxSW, is that it is a younger and less experienced crown. It is a nice mix of entrepreneurs, designers and techies. The real opportunities here are to be heard, for netwrking, for face-to-face conversations with normally dispersed talent, and of course for the scene that defines Austin. Live music, parties and warm weather in early spring - not that there is anything wrong with that... more to come.