Back from SXSW – A first recap

Ok, this post is kind of overdue, but I ought to write it since I want to tell you that I’m back from the SXSW Interactive Conference. I have had a great time, but at the same time I’m glad to be back home.

The web is already riddled with people dissecting every panel so I won’t put to much effort into that. Instead, in the next five posts or so, I will describe day by day what went on, to which panels I went to and what I thought of them, people I met etc. My hope is that it will be interesting to you even if you weren’t there and not just all about the panels.

My first gut feeling when I got home was that I didn’t want to touch a computer. I was sick of them, although I was one of the few that didn’t use one while in Austin, as opposed to all the other people live-blogging, taking notes and so on. I think the conference was just like an overdose to me, too much computer geeks in one place. There were also things like meeting people with too little self-distance or people not being as humble as they should be that kind of got me down. I really have to say, though, that most people were a delight to meet!

Also, I think I realized that while it would be great to work with any of the persons attending SXSW, where everyone knows about web standards, accessibility, are also already sick of the term Web 2.0, I would have to go home and meet a lot of customers and web developers that are nothing of the sort. People not interested in doing a proper job, just in getting paid and then scurry on home. For some reason, certain people in life seem to think that being good at something automatically means working 80 hours a week. That’s not the case, just learn to do things right and feel the rush of actually being proud over what you do.

All in all, the people and events I will tell you about stood out and made it a wonderful experience, so I’m genuinely happy I went. My only hope is that people reading my blog and then meet me in person at SXSW don’t feel like they found out that I’m nothing like they expected and that I disappointed them; that while they like my writing I bored them in person.

I would also direct thanks to Daniel Hansson, my friend and travel colleague, who always seems to end up in the most peculiar and entertaining situations.

There are some people I really want to mention for being such outstanding individuals, for making my visit the great time it was and for being as good persons as I want to be. If you ever get the chance, make sure to meet then and talk to them, or alternatively, read what they write (the ones that blog, that is). Trust me; they will most likely enrich your lives. This is not meant as name-dropping, but rather just a guide to great people. They are:

Carl Camera
It’s hard to find a more friendly, nice and caring human being. Always happy, constantly eager to please, and doesn’t seem to hold a grudge for anyone in the world. Texas inhabitant together with his lovely family.
Stuart Colville
Stuart is a very funny and happy English bloke that certainly has got a tough skin and a good distance to things. We had many long nightly talks about things and seem to agree almost a little too much.
Chris Mills
A totally crazy guy from England. About twice my height, long hair and a long beard, he looks like some crazed-out ent, and he’s got a sense of humor to go with that.
Dave Schroeder
Very laid-back, but always on top of things and a wicked sense of what’s fun. With an appearance like a Neil Young look-alike, this Minnesota-guy is always up to something.
Shane Shepherd
One of the caring persons, always feeling empathy for others and just being there when needed. And another Texas inhabitant, no less!

Honorary mentions should also go to some other truly nice people I meet and spent some time with, and they are also most recommended to meet in real life:

Posted in SXSW 2006,Travel |

13 Comments

  • @Robert – Thanks for the kind words…you are way too kind! I enjoyed getting to hang with you…I hope it's not too long before our next chance.

    Also, I didn't get Daniel's contact info, and I know he doesn't blog…so tell him "Hello" for me!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Shane,

    Not all, you deserve it! :-)

    I'll send you Daniel's information.

  • Stuart says:

    Hey Robert, thanks for all you said. I love you too!

    I know what you mean when you talk about an overdose. I found the whole thing very intense, but I definitely enjoyed getting to know a few people in a bit more depth (yourself included) than being able to go home with a huge stack of business cards of people I had just said "Hi" to.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Stuart,

    I'm happy to hear that! :-)

    I guess it's all about what the reason was for going there in the first place, so, for some, just spreading a lot of business cards was good for them.

    For me? Nah, I only want to learn stuff and make friends… :-)

  • Carl Camera says:

    Thanks Robert. Everyone I hung out with at SxSW seemed to enjoy each others' company. Meeting you and Daniel made the whole conference more personal and meaningful.

    It was a pleasure for my family to extend some Texan hospitality to our out-of-town guests.

  • Dave Seah says:

    Dude, it was great meeting you! When I got back home, I was driving around and thinking how GRAY everything looked. I felt like I was out of phase. But now I am subscribed to your blog (i am finally using RSS), so at least I can feel like I'm in touch :-)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Carl,

    Again, thanks! :-)

    Dave,

    Sounds great! I just hope you will like what I write and not get bored to tears… :-)

  • kartooner says:

    Robert, it was great hanging out with you.

    If I ever end up in your neck of the woods, I'll be sure to look you up and bother you of course. :)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    kartooner,

    Likewise! :-)

    If you ever fulfill your plans of going to Scandinavia, I think you're obliged to come to Stockholm, Sweden, so I can treat you to a good time!

  • Faruk Ates says:

    Yo yo yo, crazy swede in da house?!

    Man, it was awesome meeting you. You were much cooler and crazier than I had expected, which is BIG PLUSES in my book! *thumbs up*

    I had a great time meeting you and the gazillion others; a bit sad I didn't get to hang out with you as much as I'd liked, but that's mostly my own fault (running from one place to another, generally just saying hi to people along the way and little more than that :| )

    Looking forward to seeing you again at wherever, whenever :)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Faruk,

    It was great meeting you too, although yes, you seemed to be talking with everybody so we never got a chance to really have a good talk. :-)

    Wonder where we'll meet next time… :-)

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  • [...] Robert Nyman, Veerle Pieters and Jeffrey Zeldman each mention the people and the mood. [...]

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