This weekend was a busy one for us at home, otherwise I would have found a way to travel to Austin with several of my friends to attend South by Southwest 2009 Conference in Austin, Texas.
For those of you who don’t know, a good summary is offered here on SXSW from the local paper:
"South by Southwest is a music lover’s heaven. But wait — it’s also a film lover’s dream. And, yes, it’s a techie’s delight. What started as a small Austin music festival 22 years ago is now a full-blown music, film and interactive jamboree known worldwide.
Welcome, SXSW. You’re grown up and spectacular but still very much a genuine Austin experience.
Starting Friday, Austin’s downtown will swell with people and events as SXSW kicks off. Bring on traffic and people congestion. Austin is ready and thrilled to host this year’s 10-day happening that is expected to draw 100,000 attendees. This is just the kind of festive event the city needs to shake off the blues of a slumping economy. The Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau estimates that the SXSW jamboree will generate about $103 million for the Austin-area economy."
The SXSW conference also offers a music fest offering nearly 2,000 musical acts from around the world on over eighty stages. Although I’ve never been to one in the 23 years it’s been going on, I have always resolved that I would when I made it back to the music business I left so long ago. Now more than ever at is a destination for media, technology, music and art. (I went to my fair share of New Music conferences in New York, which offered dozens and dozens of bands, but that was pre-Internet, and when I had a Compuserve address that ran up a hefty monthly bill that eclipsed even the most precocious teen texter today.)
But this year, I decided to spend time after the family drifted off to sleep this weekend to catch up on the goings-on over the filmmaking, music and technology.
Articles from around the Web
Here’s a collection of articles I queued up to read today from the web.
louisgray.com: The Word on SXSW 2009 is at SXSWerds.com March 10, 2009, By Ken Stewart of ChangeForge (Twitter/FriendFeed) — "Need to get the word on South by Southwest 2009? Get SXSWerds.com, a targeted social media platform, brought to you by BlogWerds Media, dedicated to the niche content vertical of SXSW to deliver what’s happened, what’s happening, and what’s happening next. "Co-founder Eric Berlin, who also writes here on louisgray.com, has positioned the Werds-brand as a highly-targeted content aggregation coupled with social media tools for what’s coming next."
Thrive Selected as Finalist for Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW – "Thrive (www.justthrive.com), a free personal financial advisory website, has been named a finalist in the Innovative Web Technology category for the inaugural Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW, where early stage technology companies will demo their creations in front of judges and a live audience. Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, Moontoast, Mosso | The Rackspace Cloud, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, more than 200 companies submitted to present at the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW, and 20 were chosen as finalists in four different categories: online video-related technologies, online music-related technologies, social networking, and innovative web applications."
Now, this is just plain silly, as my grandfather would say: Suicide girls get sizzling bacon ‘bro’ tattoos at SXSW (courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2009) – "Talk about bringing home the bacon. At Saturday night’s Bigg Digg party at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, Texas, I ran across two young ladies from the tech world who were sporting brand-new, hot-off-the-grill bacon tattoos. Lynn LaVallee, a.k.a. @poshy, and her friend Jessica Zollman, a.k.a. @jayzombie, in town for the South by Southwest music and media conference, consummated their roommate-ship early. The two San Francisco-based women, both Suicide Girls (that’s the Web’s "enlightened" erotic-photo site), are moving in together next month, and they both love bacon. Hence the decision to get their "bro tatts." Bacon is, of course, one of the Web’s silliest memes."
Where to eat in Austin – Entertainment News, SXSW News, Media – Variety – "Full disclosure: It’s been a long time since I lived in Texas and when I did, it wasn’t in Austin. However, over my 23 years in that state, the city became my kinda-Mecca. (Sacred, yes. Holy, no.) "All of which is not a bad way to describe the perspective of the tens of thousands who converge on SXSW every year. If you’re among them, you deserve to eat well. Or to put it another way: You’re a fool if you don’t. The best breakfasts in any city/state/country. Fantastic Tex-Mex. And, of course, the barbecue. With that in mind, I’ve assembled a top-10-plus-five list: Ten places I know, love and can vouch for; five that I don’t know but hope to based on recommendations from Those Who Know. Some, but not all of these places are within or walking distance from Austin’s downtown. For the closest-to-definitive list of SXSW-accessible restaurants, go to SXSW Baby!, the terrific and utterly unofficial SXSW blog. There you’ll find a fairly exhaustive rundown, complete with Google Map."
Interactive revolt at SXSW – Entertainment News, Technology News, Media – Variety by LIZ SHANNON MILLER — "Over the five days of the SXSW Interactive conference, there are some 120 panels that discuss and dissect Web 2.0 with topics ranging from "Pimp My Film’s Website" to "Digital Cinema for Indies." However, the biggest news to come out of the event was, appropriately enough, virtual. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a reputation for being a poor public speaker, so those attending his Sunday keynote discussion hoped moderator Sarah Lacy would steer the conversation. However, Lacy, a columnist for Business Week and writer of an upcoming book on Zuckerberg and Web 2.0, ended up steering the conversation directly into oncoming traffic."
SXSW: Web Video Isn’t Killing TV by Jessica E. Vascellaro at the WSJ blog notes that "While the popularity of online video skyrockets, a panel of comedians and technology executives cautioned that the content is still a long way a way from destroying traditional TV. "That’s not to say that Web video isn’t changing the way TV actors and writers think about their jobs… The panel — which highlighted the role comedy plays in driving Web hits — quickly expanded to assess the success and influence of online-only content in general. B.J. Novak, a producer of “The Office” who also plays temp worker Ryan Howard, said NBC’s hit show spends reasonably big bucks investing in shorter online-only “webisodes”, in part to experiment with what works and what doesn’t online. “Everyone is still trying to figure them out,” he said, adding that he thinks the term “webisode” will disappear in the future as people watch more TV content online and vice versa."
PressHerald.com | NXT: Next Generation: SXSW: Zappos.com – Talking about shoes, saving newspapers? – Justin Ellis over at the Maine Sunday Telegram writes (March 15, 2009) that "I am not much of a shoes guy. I have shoes. I like certain pairs more than others, but they’re more of a utility than a fashion accessory. "So when someone mentions Zappos.com, my brain starts to nod off. This could have meant double jeopardy Saturday afternoon at SXSW Interactive. After traveling for more than six hours and jumping time zones, the first thing I attended was the keynote talk from Zapppos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. "But something odd happened. As Stephen Colbert might say, Hsieh "just blew my mind." "Hsieh didn’t come to SXSW Interactive to talk about shoes or even the selling of shoes. Instead he decided to talk about customer service and how it wins the day for companies. If you’re like me, when you hear the phrase "customer service" you get visions of a dingy desk at back of a department store staffed by a kid who’s filing in for someone on their break."
On the http://sxsw.com/home page you’ll find links to many interesting items, including this one offering a graphic recording of Tony Hsieh opening remarks…
If you missed yesterday’s Opening Remarks with Tony Hsieh of Zappos, then check out the graphic recordings from Sunni Brown and Marilyn Martin to get some of the main points from his speech. Also, be sure to catch the Keynote Interview today from 2:00-3:00 pm with Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com and veteran journalist Stephen Baker. The keynote interview runs from 2:00 to 3:00 in Ballroom A, with simulcasting in Ballroom B, Ballroom C, Room 9 and the Day Stage. We expect a big crowd for Nate Silver, so be sure to get to Ballroom A early if you want to get a seat.
ZDNet blogger Andrew Mager gives props to Porter Novelli: "As a member of the press I’ve gotten great information, offers to setup interviews, and many VIP party passes. These guys know what they are doing."
Blasted XP didn’t warn me that my hard drive was full! Therefore, half of the podcast didn’t record. Thankfully, I was able to salvage yesterday’s episode from the Ustream recording, so here it is! Special guests include ZDNet’s Andrew Mager, SXSW Event Director Hugh Forrest and Blogger’s Rick Klau.
"As you contemplate what daytime programming that you want to attend at this year’s event, please remember that we will make audio recordings of all this content. In other words, if you miss the panel during the event, then you can listen to it online after SXSW concludes."
You may also find notes posted to http://jess3.com/SXSW09/categories.php from the various SXSW sessions, ‘though nothing is there as of yet.
Variety has a number of articles (old and new) available on variety.com for the SXSW hot topic, with links to interviews, articles and more.
Twitter lets you be there in real time… virtually.
It was a good thing that AT&T boosted their network to support SXSW, which allowed the attendees to tweet their thoughts to the masses not in Austin this weekend, along with more Twitpics and live videos than you can shake a stick at (another Texan saying). As noted here on VentureBeat, "Can’t make SXSW? Visualize it in tweets"…
"Me and my fellow VentureBeatnik Eric Eldon are here on the ground in Austin, Texas for this year’s SXSW conference. Right now, nothing too exciting is going on, as we’re sitting alone in a cafe writing, but tomorrow the conference starts. For those not at the conference, there’s an interesting, visual way to follow along.
"Pepsi has teamed up with the teams behind two great Twitter apps, Twistori and Twennis, to bring us PepsiCoZeitgeist, a new Twitter visualization tool that showcases tweets about SXSW. For those familiar with Twistori, it looks similar, but rather than focus on the words “love,” “hate,” “think,” “believe,” “feel,” and “wish,” it focuses on more SXSW-appropriate terms: “arriving,” “registering,” “eating,” “connecting,” and perhaps most importantly, “partying” and “drinking.” But those evolve as the conference goes on, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone notes in a post about the feature today."
I thought that this tweet kinda sums it up:
Here’s a collection of what you can find yourself via Twitter’s search engine for SXSW tweets, this just a sample of favourite tweets over a 30 minute period. I’ll leave it to you to find yourown favourites (and LMK if you have good links to attendee coverage):
For those geeks heading home and will miss the SXSW Music festival, you can find a preview of the event from this story on npr.org last week:
All Songs Considered, March 9, 2009 – NPR Music and All Songs Considered will be in Austin, Tex. next week, blogging, broadcasting and webcasting nearly a dozen live concerts from some of the year’s most exciting bands, at this year’s South by Southwest festival. You’ll hear The Decemberists debut their entire new album, The Hazards of Love, along with performances by K’Naan, The Heartless Bastards and many more, all webcast live on NPR.org.
On this edition of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen chats with NPR Monitor Mix blogger Carrie Brownstein, producer and Second Stage host Robin Hilton, and Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson about some of the bands they’re most looking forward to seeing at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex. Hear music from some great unknown bands, like Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned, Passion Pit, and The Weird Weeds, plus Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Mirah, and Ponytail.
More news on SXSW at Windows Live Search News.
This post is also available via http://tinyurl.com/sxsw031509