OK, it was worth it. I had some reservations about going, and then some trouble getting there, and I had a bad cold the whole time, but SXSW was definitely worth the trouble. I have heard mixed reviews about the panels, but for me there were a couple of gems that alone would have made the trip worthwhile. Jason Fried’s “How to Make Big Things Happen With Small Teams” was excellent, and more than enough to make the boss happy for sending me. Curt Cloninger’s “How to Hotwire the Creative Process” was also very interesting, and I’ll be taking some tidbits from that back to the group. And Jeffrey Veen really set my pants on fire. Eric Meyer’s Emergent Semantics sparked some thoughts I’ll probably get into more later, and Design Eye for the Idea Guy was a lot of fun. Panels where I learned no new content were still valuable for learning process, and for getting a little live look into the brains of the people whose work I know. But, as everyone else is saying, it was not about the panels. SXSW was really just a big giant lovefest, and I’m all about the love, baby. (I’m also all about the beer, but that’s another story…) People were warm, friendly, and willing to talk; as jazzed as I was to be in a room full of people with like minds. The air was electric with creativity and talent. The sub-text of conference— the panels as well as the hallway and bars— was “it’s all about the people”. This conference was definitely more personal than any other I’ve been to, and it’s nice that the overall vibe was one of inclusion. Compared to an academic conference, there was much less ego involved. So, I got the shot in arm that I needed, and I’m definatley hooked. I’ll be there next year, hope you will too. Oh, and I’m pissed that Jeremy Keith stole my title.