SXSW 2006 Day 1

Saturday is the first day of panels but I already felt like so much had transpired. Friday was a great day to meet a whole lot of people. Turns out I’d meet just as many, if not more, on Saturday. (I’m writing this Sunday morning, mostly because it’s hard to find time during all the events to write but also because I almost finished this post only to lose it before saving any kind of draft.)

I strolled in right at 10:00am, just in time for the first session: Traditional Design and New Technology with Mark Boulton, Toni Greaves, Khoi Vinh, Jason Santa Maria and moderated by Liz Danzico. I enjoyed this lively panel as it reinforced some of the things I have been feeling about my own site; the lack of personality and long term emotional response. The panel often focused on using print design elements on the web like typography and usage of grids (stuff Boulton has talked about often on his own site) in addition to web specific conventions like use of navigation. One of the contentions from the audience was that things didn’t necessarily have to look ‘pretty’ to evoke an emotional response. Another great comment after the fact in a discussion with Bryan Veloso and Cody Lindley was that we can learn from any number of mediums such as broadcasting. All-in-all, this presentation definitely left me thinking.

After the presentation, I ran into a whole bunch of people in the hallway including Bryan, Cody and Nathan Smith. Bryan, Erik Sagan (whom I met the day before) and a few others decided to check out Web Design Superhero with the ever-amusing Andy Budd and Andy Clarke. While waiting for the presentation to start, it turns out Andrea was sitting right in front of us. And Dustin Diaz strolled in as well.

Anyways, the presentation. Right. This was a very slick presentation with well-designed slides. It was filled with analogies between various aspects of being a superhero and the web development process including dealing with clients, pushing web standards, and the like. Props to Veerle for getting singled out during the presentation for her recent fabulous redesign and as Andy Clarke put it, “getting a record 200 comments in one day.” The audience had some great input at the end including a comparison between Molly and Storm with “being behind the winds of change.”

It was time for lunch and a bunch of us swung out to a sports bar on 6th Street. There were about 15 of us and there was some decent conversation around the table. I wasn’t entirely sure who everybody was but I met Steve Smith and some people from the Godbit team. Oh, and Jeff Croft.

I ended up lingering a little too long at lunch and ended up missing the keynote speech with Coudal and Jason Fried but I didn’t feel like I missed much. A bunch of us just hung out waiting for the next presentation to start.

Next up was How to Bluff your way through DOM Scripting with Jeremy Keith and Aaron Gustafson. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this one but was pleasantly surprised by Jeremy’s humour. It was a very amusing presentation and touched on some basics of DOM Scripting. I took this presentation for its entertainment value but Bryan Veloso — who is more of a designer — felt from a technical perspective that he learned quite a bit. Some of the examples were nice with Cameron Adams, aka The Man in Blue, getting singled out of the crowd for his flexible layouts using JavaScript technique. Dustin Diaz got singled out for a tip he provided on looping through elements. It’s nice to see people I talk to (albeit normally with IM) to get some recognition.

To finish off the day, I thought I’d check out Tantek Çelik Presentation: Creating Building Blocks for Independents. His presentation is available online. He described Blogger and Creative Commons as tools that allow others to build and extend. At one point, it started feeling like a plug for Technorati with a discussion of tags but then drifted into his experience with Foo Camp and how BarCamp came about. He talked of BarCamp not as a singular event in Palo Alto but rather as something that has become this open blueprint for others to create similar events elsewhere in the world (as the case may be, there’s an Ottawa BarCamp coming up on April 22nd one I sincerely hope to attend).

This wrapped up the day of presentations. Even on my way out there still was no end to meeting new people. Stuart Colville introduced me to Chris Mills who is an editor with Apress/Friend of ED. Sorry folks, no book deal in the works for me!

Finally, I just want to say thank you to those of you who took the time to come up to me and said, “Hi.” It really means a lot.

Okay, maybe not finally. I spent most of the evening back at the hotel relaxing. I skipped the FrogDesign party as it just seemed like there would be too many people and it’d be hard to socialize. Instead, I waited until 10:30 and took in the South by NorthWest party. It was packed! And organized in less than two weeks, no less (this tied in nicely with Tantek’s talk of BarCamp in that it was put together in only 6 days).

And here I finally met up with Keith Robinson, Nick Finck, a quick introduction to Eris Free, Dave Shea, finally introduced myself to Shaun Inman, and a bunch more I can’t remember. Got my hands on a free Newsvine t-shirt.

After a great chat with a few people I headed back to the hotel. Caught up on my email and discovered that I’d won an ipod nano! And Bryan, you can thank me later!

Okay, only a half hour before first presentation. Gotta run!

Published March 12, 2006 · Updated March 13, 2006
Categorized as Conferences
Short URL:


1 Comment · RSS feed
Yvonne Adams said on March 12, 2006

Too weird. We went to the exact same panels, and I also rested at my hotel before going to South by Northwest. I suppose this behavior could be duplicated by at least 20 others, since there are so many people here!

Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.