http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcuthrell/6821161826 I actually placed this in Google+ (link at the end) but figured I should get around to putting it here at some point. That point in time is now.
[box]Abstract: So, I’m at SxSW for my fifth year. Time for a little departure from short form here on the Google Plus bus… this isn’t something I’d put on my blog per se but maybe I’ll copy it over later and Google Plus as a glorified and severely limited WYSIWYG for notes.[/box]
I was on the fence about going to SxSW again if I’m being completely honest with myself. Why was I on the fence? Partly it is due to the cost. When I say cost is not really about the money – I saved up for this. Rather, it’s the cost of drifting away of the dreamy experience I had in 2008.
That it is SxSW. That cost is the cost of fond memories. The last thing I wanted to be is the guy that says “oh, it was so much better back when” and I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying it is drifting away from what I expected or anticipated it might be.
Does it matter? No.
SxSW, like anything in life, can be exactly what you make of it. The SxSW experience need not have a badge, hotel, etc… it can be entirely couch surfing or entirely corporate funded Spring Break with hookers, blow, and the whole shooting match. Where you fit on the end points is a determination worthy of pause and careful consideration.
I’ve already run into the people I was expecting to see. I’ve already had a chance to see other brand new people coming in with wide eyed enthusiasm. I’ve had free drinks. I’ve had free food. I’ve slept well. I’ve enjoyed my vacation.
The 6 or maybe 7 sessions I attended in their entirety were ones I wanted to attend out the hundreds offered by the schedule that only SxSW can put together. The sheer depth of the catalog is dizzying… until you look closely. Closer examination would should that there is simply more heft per category. Curious about those? Here: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/user_events/user_39361
I’ve worn a suit this week to offset how I’ve dressed at prior SxSW – see also: sloppy. A suit? Yes. That’s right. I’ve dressed like this was a professional conference. Oh, the looks you’ll get in a suit. Did I anticipate that? Of course.
I’ve already seen Bruce Sterling – in a futurist and historian solo talk respectively. This is considered to be an omen of being part of the right tracks for me. You see, the latest UX/UI machinations of a startup that won’t survive (reality folks) to see the next SxSW isn’t exactly my cup of tea. And going to anything like this is about finding your cup of tea. By the way, I don’t drink cups of tea.
Parties are truthfully the one thing I’ve avoided this year and I’ve been nice and sober my entire stay. I’ve been able to observe. I’ve been able to articulate my thoughts. I’ve also been able to avoid standing in lines for an hour in hopes that something cool is inside once I get there. From experience, the cool is where you are standing. You can be your own party no matter where you go… just add people. The booze is entirely within the YMMV arena.
As an aside, Hilton Hotels & Resorts just dropped off a fruit bowl and water for me as a gesture of the key card issues I’ve had this week. Class act all the way. Hand signed note. NOT A TWEET. Hand signed note. Seriously.
I’ve been asked what parties I’m most excited to go to. I’m really not excited about any parties. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Has a new form of booze been invented? No? Okay, I’m good then.
I’m turning 40 this year. I’m not saying I’m starting to act my age but perhaps, just perhaps, I’m starting to act like myself (again).
(side note: The fact that I’m able to reference both Bruce Sterling Hilton Hotels & Resorts in a Google Plus posting is glorious present / future dissonance) https://plus.google.com/110357001884194145645/posts/PcZzdzs12tq