Just got home from a quick two day trip to Austin for SXSW. For me, the panels were so-so. I can’t say I really learned much new by attending them. But I sure did meet a ton of amazing people, which is really the only reason to attend these things in person.
Denver’s own PocketFuzz and Techstars threw THE party of the night at SXSWi on Monday night. At one point around 2am, the line wrapped around the building and down the block. As Andrew Hyde pointed out to me: “if there’s a line, the party’s cool.” I bailed “early” at about 3:15 in the morning, and I’m told the 200 breakfast burritos being delivered right when I left didn’t last long. Sounds like things wound down around 5:30am.
Lots of great people stopped by the party to say hello. It was fun to meet Micki Kremmel (of Mickipedia and community director at Revver) who was hanging with the cool kids as usual. Nick Douglas (Mr. Valleywag) was there hanging out by the house Wii quite a bit. SXSW draws some really interesting folks from around the country – I met dozens more like this. It’s a different kind of web conference – people are there to have fun and to hang out and get to know each other. You can also tell it’s different because the usual webset of 96% while young male geeks was more like 60/40 at SXSW. All in all, it’s a nice change of pace and scenery and makes SXSW unique.
Dennis Crowley of Dodgeball was also at the party and I had to ask. With all this Twittering going on everywhere, did he have to laugh? Lots of people (even me) were calling Twitter “dodgeball simplified”. Dennis is right when he told me that Dodgeball is an application and Twitter is just a microblog. I doubt the Dodgeballers who are getting very specific functionality would jump ship for something like Twitter, which doesn’t really “do” anything. I tried to comment on Fred’s post about how annoying Twitter is in everyday life, but the comment post kept timing out on me. Basically I wanted to tell him that it is totally useless, unless you’re at something like SXSW where it’s good to really be kept up to date where your friends are and what’s happening. I thought it was really cool to know who was sitting in row 8 in the same panel room (especially when I was in row 100).
The party drew a great Colorado contingent – interesting that I had to go to Austin to meet guys like Scott McDaniel of SurveyGizmo, who works about a block from me on Pearl Street. Greg Reinacker of Newsgator popped in for a while, and it was also good to get to know Derek Scruggs a little better.
I also got to meet some great guys who work for the TechCrunch network (thanks Mike for letting them know to look for us there). I went to a few sessions today with Steve Poland, whose Techquila Shots blog I instantly loved when I saw it. Steve has documented 40 startup ideas so far, and he’s on a tear. I think he had one or two in the hour I sat with him. Blake Robinson (of CrunchGear) had literally lost his voice by the time he showed up at the party. We thought about sitting there and emailing each other on our Blackberrys, but we wanted to look cool so instead I just talked and he nodded alot.
Lots more pics of the party over on Flickr. Danny, Austin, and the PocketFuzz guys did a great job with this party. I gotta know who did the paint job on the silver bullet. So sweet.