I finally signed up for South by Southwest Interactive, on the cutoff day for the final discount ($25, big deal). I’ve avoided the whole SXSW thing for a long time, but I’ve always wondered if that was to my credit or detriment. I skimmed the periphery last year because my friend Mara was playing off-badge venues during the music portion (and probably will again this year, I imagine), but that’s as close as I’ve gotten.
I’ve also read some of the post-mortem blog commentary from the Interactive portion the last few years, and though it never looks like much going in there always seems to be some spontaneous gestalt that occurs when that many talented, freaky people meet in one place and agree up front to just geek out for a week. Kind of like Burning Man, but with far less of a plan, if you can imagine that.
And that’s what I’m referring to in the subject of this post, actually. Having avoided SXSW for so long, I kind of expected it would have matured a bit by now. But going through the site and then the actual registration process it still seems really primitive, a bit raw, as in not quite cooked. Most of the registration process barely has fonts. The automated confirmation email takes a day and a half to be generated. And after you’ve paid and are confirmed, it’s still three or four days before you show up in the online directory. And right now, one month out, there is nothing even remotely like a schedule of events posted. To buy a discounted ticket, you need to take it totally on faith that the whole thing is not going to just suck, not to mention possibly all happen at 7:30 am on a Sunday. Does this sound like the workings of something that has been “where the web’s most creative minds share their ideas about how interactive technology will shape our future” for 12 years running?
Ironically, signing up for SXSW Interactive is the reason I finally revamped this blog and switched to blogger. I mean how can you go to something like this and not have a blog that at least looks like it’s been running continuously for a couple of years?