Saturday, 14 March 2009
First day of SXSWi
I don't know if I'll be writing a post every day for this, but I'm not being too crazy tonight and can write so I might as well ;)
First really busy day of conferencing, and it was pretty amazing! Glad I got up early and managed to do my registration and grab my badge really quickly given the Convention Centre was pretty much empty. My hotel is a little far from downtown - not too much but enough that I can't really easily be going back and worth walking if I need to srop something off. Like the gigantic goody bag I got this morning. Hanged around the huge Austin Convention Centre for a couple of hours, came across Alex from Hide & Seek and Jeremy, and talked with a few other people as well before catching up with Katy for lunch.
Went according to plan for the first panel of the day: 'Minority Report is real' and it was very cool - exactly the kind of research and forward thinking I was expecting from coming over here. Three people on the panel, all seriously interesting people, but not exactly into interface design - this was more of a side research project they started conducting together, looking into how movies and sci-fi have influenced new technology developments and still are - or sometimes the other way round as well.
They distinguished several trends in interface design / gestural UI development, and showed us examples in movie clips and then how close or far we are from those in real life. That was very cool and beautiful, but it was really great they kept asking the questions going further about what they might be used for and whether we really need an oblong beautiful Minority Report right now, how much is it exactly used for good, etc.
Next wasn't so good, unfortunately. I was hesitating between a web design one and this one about a company doing ARG types games, I probably should have gone to the other one, but hey - it's also part of choosing between so many things, and some other people told me most of the other talks at the same time as the last time weren't very good - I chose right for the 1st one, I guess. The company in question, The Go Game, actually do really interesting stuff in terms of games for corporate / team building events but I thought they didn't really have much to say and didn't feel like they really prepared for this talk either - they probably could have done it in 10 min with the material they had but talked for an hour... Nice people and their games look definitely great but not so great at talking in a panel...
Next was one of the big talks of SXSWi with Alex Bogusky - the B in CP+B - Talking about 'Can an Ad guy bring bike sharing to America?' Having quickly found out that the answer was in fact no, the topic shifted slightly to 'The art of sticking your nose where it doesn't belong'. He introduced CP+B and talked about who they are and the kind of work they do; as you do in such a talk - I actually didn't mind given I'd never heard him talk in a conference and apart from BK these days I haven't been talking about everything they do and found about a couple of campaigns I didn't know about as well. But more importantly, he talked about a load of pretty fucked up things on this planet via a bunch of good quotes and stats (#collapsonomics) and about making a difference. At first it could seem like it's all hopeless, but going from the fact that human knowledge is growing exponentially and a few other things - basically just go out there and do something to help, anything you're passionate about. 'Poke around' Go with an idea, talk to some people, meet some people who know people who know people, stick your nose where it doesn't belong.
He essentially shared this through their project (Humana, Trek and CP+B) of bringing bike sharing to America - a similar system that exists in Paris with the Velib. All really interesting stuff and pretty inspiring!
Mr Alex Bogusky
I ended up going off to a bar from there with Alice from BBH, Nicole (whose Husband was freelancing with us at iD recently), Damiano from the RSA, Conor from the RoundHouse and a couple of other people. Originally well intended wanting to go to the first official drinks for SXSW but way too much queue and it turned out Nicole's sister is a bar manager in Austin, so we went there for drinks (I then tried going to the 2nd official event - saw the queue, turned around) and then on to a Mexican restaurant with a few other Austin peeps. Turned out, we ate close to the Hotel where I'm staying so I thought I'd go back and write this - keep the big party energy for tomorrow ;)
The Gueres Taco bar