This was my first time to SXSW, even though I’ve been hearing about it for a couple of years. I knew it was going to be fun, but only if I stepped out of my comfort zone and socialized and made sure I went to all the events.
I have to admit, I hid behind my camera a lot. I hate standing amongst a group of people just listening. I’m a bit selfish I think – either I want to be an active participant, or not be a part at all. It’s something I need to work on. With the camera, I have an excuse to be away from the crowd, occupying myself. This kind of anti social behavior can yield some nice shots, but can also turn into a frustrating struggle. More than once I had to drag myself into groups, taking a break from photography and spending some time listening or contributing.
When I did force myself to meet people, I met some very good people. People like Lucian
, James, Josh, Ernie, Ernie, Brad, Jish, Anil, and Matt helped make me feel more comfortable. I didn’t spend much time with Andre or Ben and Mena Trott. Andre’s and my paths didn’t cross much, and I was very shy in meeting the Trotts. I respect the work they do so much, and felt a bit intimidated. I regret not talking to them more.
The panels and keynote speakers were great too. Kevin Smokler is not only an excellent first baseman, he’s an eloquent and inspiring speaker. Enough so that he encouraged me to share my book publishing experience in front of a pretty big group (which was a bit scary).
I come away from SXSW feeling rejuvinated. I have a renewed interest in the possibilities of the web, and what it can do to bring people together. I’m going to do more to improve my skills as a web applications developer, and spend less time in the pure pursuit of money. I’d love to attend the event again, if only to meetup with a fine group of people once again, and to recharge my batteries in preparation for spring.