South By Southwest 2011

My second SxSW is over, and all I have are some photos, fewer memories than I have photos, and an aircon throat.

I have mixed feeling about South By Southwest. There’s the torrent of emails they send you for months leading up to the event, requiring you to register to their different systems. Once there, I get little time to meet new people and little time to spend with old friends because the conference is too big.

I get pretty nervy for my talk, which this year went well (slides). I usually include a lot of humour but our American friends have a very different sense of humour than Brits, so I play safe and also add liberal quantities of what I call useful information, as SxSW has more than its fair share of circle-jerking panels heavy in “inspiration” but devoid of content. The trick seems to have paid off; I had a full house in Ballroom C and a hundred people lined up outside in case other people left.

The best thing about SxSW is meeting our users. Our PR folks kitted us out with a huge giant rotating Opera O, so it was easy to find our booth and, once there, developers and consumers asked us everything from how to edit a speed dial on a BlackBerry to how to do remote debugging with Opera Dragonfly, We had comfy chairs at the booth, too, leading to a steady stream of visitors from Our New Best Friends, such as chums from Adobe, Microsoft and Google.

I met a penguin

Me and Penguin

two Slappas (for those who don’t know, a Slapper is a woman of easy virtue, so making two booth babes wander around with t-shirts marked “Slappa” is unfortunate)

Me and two booth babes in t-shirts reading 'Slappa'

(as did Paul Irish)

and picked up the best swag: a flicker book made from a 6 second video you make with some props on the Rackspace stand.

It was great to see old friends, albeit briefly, and make new ones. So see you next year, hopefully.

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