March 2012

SXSW Preview

Mar 09, 2012 | Written by Stephen Lay

Joey and I are flying up to Austin, Texas today to attend the annual SXSW conference.  What was once a one of the largest music festivals in the world, it has since become an interactive festival that focuses on emerging technologies and a breeding ground for new ideas and creativity. 

So who's involved in this year's SXSW festival. Plenty. 

The focus this year seems to be on mobile, mobile wallet (NFC) and interestingly the future sports audience and over the last few days and nights, I've been feverishly trying to organise my conference schedule.  Who and what I'd like to see, and have come to the realisation that in every hour, I need to be in 4-5 places.  I think it may be a case of just going with the flow and try to get to as many interesting presentations as possible.  

In addition, there has an influx of emails, facebook messages, invites and snail mail from SXSW and the 500+ Aussies that have signed up to attend this festival.  All uber geeky, all uber excited.

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09.03 2012
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SXSW Part 1. Queues, queues and more queues.

Mar 14, 2012 | Written by Stephen Lay

After the longest 5 hour flight in history, Joey and I arrived in Austin, Texas at approximately 5pm local time.  

It was clear that Austin was buzzing with excitement. There was live music playing in the airport as part of the SXSW festivities, and the chatter amongst everyone revolved around the next 10 days.

Our biggest shock happened the moment we stepped out of the airport. It was freezing. What made it worse was there was a 50m line for taxis.  

Day 1 at SXSW started by being confronted with a line waiting for the registration booth to open. This line was literally wrapping its way around the building.  Once the doors opened and we got into the booth there was another line to get your badges, then a line to get your swags.


Almost there...

We checked out a session on what the sports fan will look like in 2015, got tips on how to design for CMS and saw an interview with Dennis Crowley (the co-founder on Foursquare) on making the real world easier to use.

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14.03 2012
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SXSW Part 2: Skynet is coming.

Mar 21, 2012 | Written by Stephen Lay

Day 3 started off with us waiting forever and a day for the shuttle to pick us up from the hotel.  The biggest issue with SXSW is traveling around town.  Austin is a relatively small city that does not have an elaborate rail network, buses or many taxis.  The shuttle service from the hotels to downtown is what most in town for SXSW use.  However, with the large amount of attendees, the traffic congestions and poor management, waiting for the shuttle can creep up to 2 hours.  

Upon finally arriving at the Austin Convention Centre, Joey and I went our separate ways.  I went over to the Hilton to check out Interactive Arts in Japan, which was a showcase hosted by the Creative Director of Dentsu to show interactive artwork done in Japan and how these artists collaborate with agencies to create digital experiences.  


Only in Japan. A Skype doll.

Joey and I both then attended a session on Avoiding Bullshit Personas.  This session was a case study on how lynda.com defined their users and the do's and don'ts of good personas.

The keynote of the day was from visionary Ray Kurzweil and TIME magazine writer Lev Grossman.  In a QA type environoment they had a conversation about what the future lies, and if you have ever watched Terminator, it will happen, computers will be come self aware in our lifetime.

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21.03 2012
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