I’m often surprised by how many people have never heard of this annual event held in Austin Texas, which started over the past weekend. One of the reasons may be because its historical focus has been on leading-edge music and film. With thousands of young hipsters visiting over 1,500 live acts and moving screenings over nine days, it doesn’t seem like a place for most folks in our industry. Yet, ignore this event at your own peril.
Since its creation, SXSW (short hand for the event) has included dozens of seminars on interactive topics and has grown to the point that last year over 20,000 attended the interactive portion of the conference. I spoke to PIA’s Julie Shaffer last year right after she had attended the conference for the first time. She was ecstatic about the topics being discussed and the discussions of interactive technology. The only downside was that she admitted that the average age of the attendee was a bit closer to her children than many of her peers.
If you are serious about becoming a provider of interactive/mobile services, or wish to better understand how they will affect the world of print, you should attend SXSW. It’s too late this year, because you probably won’t find an open hotel room anywhere within a 60 mile radius of Austin, but put it on your calendar for next year – it will be worth the experience.