The Real Purpose of SXSWi

SXSWiSouth by Southwest is an annual interactive, film and music festival in Austin, TX.  The interactive portion of the event (aka SXSWi) is the vertiable motherlode of social media.  Twitter was launched here two years ago, and last year’s infamous horrible interview of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (and the Twitter backlash) was stuff of legends. This is my first trip to Austin and in the first day I have already made  a conclusion that is clear to folks who have been to the conference before.  Not sure if this is just a first timer’s phenomenon, but here is my grand insight: SXSW is about connecting with people.

There are tons of great sessions and content scheduled throughout the many days, and of course the parties networking events in the evenings are great ways to connect.  While the sessions have great content, I’ve found the informal time in between events and in the evenings is much more valuable.  By a huge margin.   In my first 24 hours here I’ve connected with more than fifty people who I previously only knew through Twitter or some other online channel (blog, Facebook, etc).  It’s refreshing to “convert” those relationships from virtual to physical, and in many instances there have been shared experiences and potential business opportunities discussed.  Who knows where things will lead, but I am very grateful for meeting folks and getting the opportunity to build relationships further.  Just some quick examples:

There are many more – too many to capture, but these are the highlights and a primary reason for coming to Austin for me.  Of course I do need to make sure I don’t miss the good panels and content, but there is a lot to choose from.  Are you at SXSWi?  Want to meet? You can find me on Twitter most easily to arrange to connect.  I’d love to hear what you get out of conferences too.

Photo credit: adrants via Flickr (I also happened to share a plane and cab with him on thr trip down)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Nintendo: Simple = Good

Mattel Football This weekend while playing with my oldest son, we saw spotted a note online about connecting our Nintendo Wii with his Ninendo DS for a game he already has.  He’s really into Pokemon, so I figured I would try to learn about it and see if we could get the connection to work.  In less than 5 minutes and a few keystrokes, we had connected the DS, a small, handheld gaming system with Wifi capabilities, to the Wii, and “deposited” all of the creatures he had captured in the handheld game into a “Pokemon Ranch.”  At the ranch you can interact with the creatures, take pictures of them (even putting them on an SD card for saving/viewing/sharing later) and give them toys to play with.  Each day “Hayley,” the Ranch helper, gives you another creature to play with.  So what if the Wii game isn’t the most exciting in the world – to a seven year old budding Pokemon addict, it was heaven.

I was, quite frankly, blown away.  I grew up with (and still love) the Mattel Electronic Football II, with it’s red dashes, and here was my 7 year old son connecting his handheld wirelessly to a gaming console to enhance his gaming experience.  Nintendo kept the technology so simple a 2nd grader could figure it out and use it to feed his Pokemon obsession. 

Keeping it simple is an essential element for new technology to be successful.  I’m not surprised at the continual demand for the Wii and for the DS – and it may be a long time before either platform reaches an ‘end of life’ phase.  What are some other examples where technology made things simpler for you or your family?  Gaming is one thing, but what are some products or technology that have made things simple and improved your life?

Photo credit: dcjohn via flickr