This is my first time at South by Southwest, aka SXSW. I got in late today and missed the panels, but had time to hit the parties and hang out with pals at various bars. News.com's Daniel Terdiman, an old hand at this show, may remain unfazed by the little bit of Burning Man Tesla coil demonstrations, but let's look at this event through the eyes of a newbie. That would be me.
This is a social event, but it's not as casual as you might think. One must plan social engagements carefully, since you have to stand in long lines for the big-deal parties. At least there's entertainment. When I decided to bail out of the line for the Dorkbot party and meet somebody who was inside but whom I've never actually met in person, he found me fast when I told him on the phone, "I'm right behind robot head guy."
Don't get me started on the bar scene. All I have to say is this: usually, when a guy walks into a bar packing a lightsaber, somebody loses an arm.
Schwag has reached new highs (or lows) here. At my last party of the evening, the folks behind ValleySchwag were handing out underwear. Stenciled across the tush: "Demand satisfaction," which is part of their new product's pitch. Some people were not afraid to model.
Mostly, it's all about Twittering. Everywhere you go, way too many people have their heads in the mobiles. Twitter is what all the SXSW Interactive folks are using, but at a party for SXSW Film folks that I crashed with some friends, those folks seemed to be on Dodgeball.
I'm hoping to find new and interesting Web apps tomorrow, but even if I don't, the panels (and parties) look to be interesting. You can follow along on my Twitter page.
Actually, there is one company I just discovered, whose founder I talked with here: Superviva is a site that helps you list and track your life's goals, like, "Go to SXSW every year." Superviva looks to the future. For people trying to preserve the past, see Dandelife and Ourstory.