When 140 characters aren't enough, you'll find occasional musings heres
Warning: I enjoyed SXSWi… and not in an ironic way
March 21, 2012
By Bird PRster, Libby Kearney
I hate to talk about SXSWi, but truth be told, I loved it. Lots to do, be stimulated by and simply enjoy. The beating heart of the Interactive section are the yupsters who have come to refuel on the hipsters that drive their creativity and provide them with the sort of “champaign problems” that their newest apps and gadgets aim to address.
“Oh no! I can’t find like-minded people around me to share my thoughts on Barry Diller’s keynote and then find a free lunch!”
Overhyped technology aside, SXSWi was a great experience. So much is written about how to prepare but I found that if you had the SXSW app, a few contacts with adventurous spirits and shoes that could go from day-to-night, you had the ingredients for a robust time. The air is thick with ambition and plenty to be inspired by. Whether you were hearing more about the newest buzz words in media (transmedia anyone? I hear Top Chef does it well.) or simply listening to the story of those who have been there, done that, it’s a great place to dig in and hear about what’s cool – not necessarily new – but cool for sure. It could be a concert you can’t miss, app you must try or gorilla marketing technique that is getting shocking attention, good or bad.
There were a few frustrations as a PR professional when it came to the panels and sessions. Often you’d have a group that had clearly drunk their company Kool-Aid before going onstage and didn’t offer a lot of vision outside of what had worked for them specifically. A breath of fresh air came from Jeff Jordan, in a session moderated by Jenna Wortham from The New York Times, who spoke on his journey from PayPal and eBay to his current role as a VC with prominent investments in startup darlings like Pinterest and Airbnb. His thoughts on the art of the successful company pivot resonated with the packed room and led to a great discussion between him and Jenna as well as the audience.
At the end of the day – for this early-adopter, indie music loving yupster – SXSWi may be part of my annual plan. Smart people ready to eat, drink, pitch a new idea and be merry? Yes please!