SXSW catch up

Even at a conference with good wifi nearly everywhere,* I still don't know how people keep up with posting about conferences as they happen.

* Alas, I was in the overflow room during Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's now infamous lame interview/keynote by Business Week's Sarah Lacy, and couldn't access Twitter, so I missed the backlash. I left after 20 minutes anyway, because it was boring. The groundbreaking message: "Facebook helps people communicate more efficiently." Wow, huh? Robert Scoble nailed it when he twittered that Lacy was asking too many business questions, and Zuckerberg was giving too many PR answers.

Some reports I've read point to sexism as part of the reason the audience reacted as they did, but I don't think that had (much) to do with it. Zuckerberg simply needed an interviewer more mature and experienced than he is, and instead he got one who was less mature. I'd never heard of Lacy before, and I wonder how many live interviews she's done in the past, or if she mainly works in text.
Back from the digression, a few items to note:
  • Got to play with an XO laptop from the One Laptop Per Child program at the session on the future of textbooks, which was fantastic. It's pretty neat; I hadn't realized it's a tablet PC!
  • Kathy Sierra was incredibly inspiring. I went up to thank her afterward and had that nervously-interacting-with-a-celebrity-feeling(!), but managed to get out what I wanted to say.
  • After two sessions for which I felt I'd got our money's worth, I went to the LOLWUT? session, about the story of Icanhascheezburger.com. Definitely the sleeper hit of SXSW. I think a lot of people expected it to be silly, but it was a coherent, informative, and all-around excellent presentation. Bonus: they bought cheeseburgers for the audience! Will blog more about it later, but funny factoid: all the librarians who'd been in the textbook session were there!
  • The exhibit hall is small compared to library conference exhibit halls, but it's good. I got lots of cool stickers, a Mapquest T-shirt, checked out some interesting products, saw the most amazing mini-planetarium show, and bought the coolest flashdrive in the galaxy. Oh, and got some pens from the Google booth. They don't work. I'm trying not to read too much into that.
  • It took being here two full days before we ran into a local with an accent. I haven't felt much like I'm in Texas, which I haven't visited before. Austin is a strange blend of cultures. I suppose that explains the exhortation to keep it weird. :) It also seems to have a certain Mom-and-Pop town feel that a lot of similar towns and larger cities have lost. I'm curious how much of this has been constant over the last 30-40 years, or whether there's been much revitalization involved along the way.
  • The People-Powered Party sponsored by Threadless and Etsy last night was fun. I spent most of the evening chatting with a group of New Zealanders, including a couple who were here on their honeymoon! My breakfast waitress had mentioned them to me that morning, so it was funny to run into them.
  • This morning, I went to see Crawford, about the impact of George W. Bush's move to Crawford, TX on its residents. Lots of humor, an inspiring history teacher, and some moving moments. It made me want to visit, though I'm not sure that was its intended effect!
  • I am enjoying hearing words and references in sessions here that I couldn't imagine hearing at library conferences. :)
  • I finally tried Guitar Hero in the exhibit hall. (There are Guitar Hero and Rock Band stations all over.) It wasn't pretty.
Until I get back, I have unprotected my Twitter updates, and will continue to post most of my observations there.

2 comments:

Anonymous March 11, 2008 at 2:49:00 PM EDT  

I watched it and agree she wanted the whole show. See it: http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/10/mark-zuckerberg-sarah-lacy-interview-from-sxsw/

jewellwelles March 12, 2008 at 9:04:00 PM EDT  

It's Christine...I hate facebook, but I think Ihazacheezburger or whatever is freakin' awesome! Also, curious about Crawford docu. You know docus are my life...also stopped by your twitter and Texmex is good...but CaliMex is better! NOTHING is better than CaliMex. :-)

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