Back to Reality #goodbyeaustin

Well, SXSW was a good time, but now it’s back to reality. Figured I’d put together a quick roundup of all the great sessions I got to see and all the awesome people I got to listen to. What a week!

SXSW Day 1

Mostly just a quick overview of my initial impressions of Austin. What an unusual hipster city it is. I’ll have to go back and see it when it’s less crazy. I wonder if it’s ever less crazy…

Persuasive Technology

This was the first talk I went to and it was a good one. It was a nice overview of UX principals being put to both good and bad use. Lots of great examples and some good suggestions to boot. Nothing too new and crazy learned at this one, but it was a good roundup nonetheless.

Oh. Em. Gee. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

This nerdtastic talk was the highlight of my trip. I was about 15 people away from making it into the main session room but it filled up and I had to go up to the overflow ballroom. Oh well, it was still amazing. Lots of gems.

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, from Kevin Bacon’s Perspective

I wasn’t planning to go to this one actually, but I was already in the overflow ballroom where this was next up, so I stuck around. Interesting look at the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon and how it’s morphed into a charity to help charities. Plus Maisie Williams showed up for no apparent reason other than to sit on stage and be adorable.

The Future of Genetics in Our Everyday Lives

This was an interesting discussion with 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki. She gave an overview of how 23andMe came to be and her perspective on health data and ownership. Plus a short QA at the end.

UX for Niche Communities

This was unexpected for me. I wasn’t sure what it would be about, but I wasn’t thinking NASA’s internal software engineering team. I didn’t stay for the whole thing, but the gist of it is that this team helps core groups throughout NASA develop software and solutions to make their normal processes more efficient. Cool stuff.

The Dynamic Site is Dead

This talk I had to go to just to see if I would think it was a bunch of BS or if it was actually a worthwhile discussion. Turned out to be the latter. All about how static websites are making a comeback and some of the tools of the trade that are facilitating this simplification of content management without a CMS.

Not All Growth is Created Equal: Scaling Your Biz

This talk was a sort of panel with only two people. It was a little hard to follow their points, but there were some good thoughts in there about how to scale your business without falling apart.

Early, Cheap, and Often: Failure as a Key to Success

I’m not sure what prompted me to go to this one, but it turned out to be a great panel discussion about how to manage failures when they occur to learn and grow from them and the importance of responding to failure appropriately to maintain a positive company culture.