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)

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  • Hey there Adam, I totally agree with your take on SXSW. It’s definitely about the networking. And speaking of which its always great to meet up with you at each event we both attend.

    Cheers. David

  • Hey there Adam, I totally agree with your take on SXSW. It’s definitely about the networking. And speaking of which its always great to meet up with you at each event we both attend.

    Cheers. David

  • You hit the nail on the head – connecting with people really is the primary benefit of SXSW. It was great to chat with you, Adam. Enjoy the rest of the event.

    Marcel

  • You hit the nail on the head – connecting with people really is the primary benefit of SXSW. It was great to chat with you, Adam. Enjoy the rest of the event.

    Marcel

  • Aren’t the Radian6 folks kinda creepy like that? Heh. Two of them commenting on one blog … Big Brother is watching and he’s Canadian. Heh.

    Great to hang with you, A. You’re a rock star.

  • Aren’t the Radian6 folks kinda creepy like that? Heh. Two of them commenting on one blog … Big Brother is watching and he’s Canadian. Heh.

    Great to hang with you, A. You’re a rock star.

  • Adam, I am completely jealous that you’ve gotten to meet Marcel, David, Beth and Jason. Glad you’re having a great time in Austin. Hopefully I’ll be able to join the crowd next year…

  • Adam, I am completely jealous that you’ve gotten to meet Marcel, David, Beth and Jason. Glad you’re having a great time in Austin. Hopefully I’ll be able to join the crowd next year…

  • Let’s see here. David and Marcel commenting on a blog within two minutes of each other? Could they be playing Simon Says?

  • Let’s see here. David and Marcel commenting on a blog within two minutes of each other? Could they be playing Simon Says?

  • Great review. It’s been a blast hanging out with you and the other beantown boys at SXSW. Got a chuckle out of your red-lining skills above. Lots of great “networking” events going on here. More to come!

    Aaron | @aaronstrout

  • Great review. It’s been a blast hanging out with you and the other beantown boys at SXSW. Got a chuckle out of your red-lining skills above. Lots of great “networking” events going on here. More to come!

    Aaron | @aaronstrout

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  • David/Marcel – At least you guys are living up to your product’s expectations 😉 Thanks for commenting and great to hang out with your whole team.
    Jason – Perhaps another time we’ll get to talk shop more but really great to meet you.
    David – As a marketer and PR guy, this crowd is perfect for you and the agency you work for. I’d highly recommend considering it next year.
    Ari – You are the watchdog, as always, my friend.
    Aaron – Same here, thanks for being a gracious host in your new hometown. I still am dreaming of the Salt Lick – great local spot for serious BBQ.

  • adam

    David/Marcel – At least you guys are living up to your product’s expectations 😉 Thanks for commenting and great to hang out with your whole team.
    Jason – Perhaps another time we’ll get to talk shop more but really great to meet you.
    David – As a marketer and PR guy, this crowd is perfect for you and the agency you work for. I’d highly recommend considering it next year.
    Ari – You are the watchdog, as always, my friend.
    Aaron – Same here, thanks for being a gracious host in your new hometown. I still am dreaming of the Salt Lick – great local spot for serious BBQ.

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  • Adam – this is a really cool post, and helps make the case to attend these sorts of conferences. I’m encouraged by your response to David, because my assumption was that this conference was more for the “interactive (whatever the hell that means) crowd.” I’m glad to see that I am mistaken. Reading your review, and the ones from some of the folks commenting on this post, makes me want to go in 2010!

  • Adam – this is a really cool post, and helps make the case to attend these sorts of conferences. I’m encouraged by your response to David, because my assumption was that this conference was more for the “interactive (whatever the hell that means) crowd.” I’m glad to see that I am mistaken. Reading your review, and the ones from some of the folks commenting on this post, makes me want to go in 2010!