Last year was a magical experience. I was on the cusp of a new endeavor and surrounded by a bunch of rabble rousing idealists who felt we were making a difference and leaving our mark. I was also naive and admittedly easy impressed by shiny objects. The past 12 months have taught me some hard lessons in looking past the smoke and mirrors to critically assess the BS hidden beneath some big red bows. And, I am savvy enough to know that I can download recycled presentations from conference circuit keynotes on Slideshare without any travel expenses or hefty entrance fee. I might not get a chance to shake hands with Twitterati. My loss.
Don't get me wrong. I am honored to be a part of the New Orleans tech crew taking the city by storm. And my ego is through the roof at being part of a SXSW panel. Not to mention, my schedule is double and triple booked with panels that I am excited to see. Where I look forward to learning something, multiple new things that I can bring back to enhance FSC. Which brings me to the question- Is SXSW still the place to learn from the best of the best?
I've seen some pretty stellar things happening at small grassroots conferences across the country- Big Omaha, Social South and even my little baby TribeCon. Conference that are low on glitz but big on substance. Low on corporate sponsors but big on community. Low on douchebaggery and big on authenticity.
It's no big secret that I kind of like sticking it to the man and rallying for the little guy. Maybe I am just being jaded. It wouldn't be the first time. I promise not to judge or make assumptions based purely on what could just be a successful growth model. I am hoping to have an incredible and magical experience. In fact, I am betting a lost weekend with my favorite people on it. Not a trifling wager.
What do you think? What are some of the reasons you are or aren't going to SXSW?
PS. Be forewarned, Mr. "un-popular in high school and making up for it on Twitter"