A year ago I read on numerous blogs about how great the South by Southwest interactive conference was. How the attendees were so warm and lacking in pretension. How the panels were so informative and stimulating. How the parties were so raucous and energetic. It had solidified its position as the place to be to meet other bloggers, and especially those in the web standards/CSS design community. I wanted to go.
A few months ago the list of confirmed speakers was released for SXSW (pronounced “Suckswuh”) 2005. At least half of them were people whose sites and books I’d been reading for a long time, people who have inspired and influenced me in my own work, have indirectly coached me by so generously sharing their knowledge with the blog-reading world. Now there was simply no choice. I had to go, to sieze the opportunity to meet my influences and thank them for what they have done for me.
So I went, with a healthy amount of trepidation. I wasn’t really sure if I’d enjoy the experience. I fully expected to keep myself to myself, to sit quietly at the back of the room, perhaps exchange a few pleasantries at most, then return alone to my hotel for a microwaved burrito and some Adult Swim. But that’s not how it worked out. I never could have imagined how amazingly openhearted these people, these industry luminaries, these deities of markup and style, really would be.
Somehow I fell in with a squad of Britpackers, who graciously tolerated me and allowed me to tag along for most of the event. It was an amazing week, full of bawdy laughs, stimulating conversations, fond memories, good times and sore feet. I’m simultaneously exhausted and energized, and already looking forward to Suckswuh 2006.