On Friday morning I returned from the States, from the South by Southwest Interactive festival and from a week and a half sharing a room in the Radisson with Steve “Nutcase” Marshall. It’s taken until Monday to wade through the swathes of news feeds and emails (the vast, vast majority of the emails being from a particular mailing list – you know who you are). With that finally out of the way, it’s time for the traditional “OMGSXSWFTW” retrospective blog post.
I’m not going to bore you with a panel-by-panel, geek-by-geek account of where I went and who I met: suffice it to say that the vast majority of the panels I attended were thought-provoking and interesting (with, I’m afraid, the odd notable exception) and the vast majority of the people I met were really friendly and enjoyable to be around. Even better, I have learned a couple of life lessons from my time in Texas:
- Now is a good time to be a geek. Really good.
- The concept of an A-list culture, of web design superstars, is not a good thing.
To elaborate on the second point, I’ve realised that, while I met plenty of people who could be considered ‘A-listers’, that’s far from the important thing. What’s important is that I’ve met a lot of really friendly people: I originally wanted to do a shortlist of the people who most stood out for being friendly, but I couldn’t cut it down sufficiently, so I’m just going to give out a “Friendliest Person at SXSW ’06 Award” to Shaun Inman. Cutting the list down to one person was the only way to keep it from becoming twenty people, and who would ever want to name-drop like that? 😉
Faruk-mocking aside, there were lots of people who were very nearly as friendly as Shaun: if I met you then it’s pretty safe to say that it was a pleasure and I’d love to see you again next year (or even before that, although I’m not planning on going to any more conferences before then so it’s pretty unlikely that the opportunity will arise).