A First Timers Trip to SXSW – Day 2 – The Conference Begins

March 13, 2010

2:24 pm

Well, I am happy to report back to you that I survived the opening day of SXSW with little fanfare.  I attended three sessions today, Is Technologoy Weakening Interpersonel Relationships?, In Code We Trust: Open Government, and PayTV vs Internet: The Battle for Your Television.  All three were fantastic, and I enjoyed all of them.  Of course it is our right to get up and go to another, and as I said previously I had planned two sessions per time slot, so I would have a back-up in case my first choice wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. But I found myself engrossed in these sessions and stayed until the end.  Well that’s not totally true; there was a building evacuation during the PayTV session :).

So, what are my take-aways from Day One that I can pass along to you?  I had planned my schedule in advance, and that seemed to really help keep me focused and on track.  Now I will say that some of my friends here kind of gave me a hard time about going to sessions.  I understand that a lot of the fun here takes place in hallway get togethers, but I chose to stay focused.  That being said, the size of the event is enormous.  I found myself experiencing a small-fish syndrome in between sessions – kind of like the freshman in a big high school, you know?

Logistics-wise, I think I did well.  All of my electronics stayed charged. I used the USB battery charger to refresh my phone every once in a while to be safe as the day wore on, because the days are LONG.  I have a Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home messenger-style bag. I like it because it usually allows me to get access to lenses fast, as opposed to a backpack.  But I found here that the sheer weight of the bag made it uncomfortable hanging on my shoulders all day.  So in this case, if I was to do it again, I would definitely go with a backpack to keep the comfort level to a maximum.

It is hard here to stay focused.  I want to be able to write, but the events seem to flow into one another and leave little time for anything else.  I woke up early today before I hit the sessions and got three posts out, this one included.  So discipline is really key here.  I will adjust as necessary and most likely not hit as many hot spots tonight.  I  do have to return to a job when I get back.

As for the FOMO (fear of missing out ) feeling, as I mentioned in the first post of this series, it is hard to avoid.  It takes a lot of discipline not to get carried away in the flow.  I did hit a couple parties after the last session, ending in a hotel lobby bar where all the “Internet celebrities” gathered later in the evening.  At this point, the level of self important-ness got out of control, and I decided that was a wrap for the night.

Stay tuned for Day 3

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Jimmy Gardner is a Senior Unix/Windows Engineer, a lover of technology and photography. Follow him online at @jjgardner3 and enjoy his portfolio at jjg3photo.com/.

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