SXSW 2009: In 350 Words or Less


I started working on a recap post of this year’s SXSW, and every time I did, it turned into a short novel. There’s a lot of exciting stuff that goes on there. Since few people, other than say…my mother, want to read about my trip in that much detail, I thought I should trim it down. So here is my recap, in 350 words or less:

SXSW 2009

If you’re going to talk about SXSW, the discussion will inevitably revolve around three topics: presentations, parties and people.


This year, whether due to incredible content or the broadening of my interests, there were multiple presentations I wanted to see each session. Thankfully I feel like I chose wisely, as I can honestly say I enjoyed every presentation. Not equally necessarily, but each presentation had value that I could glean from it, and each held my attention.

Parties Events

As always, the parties were a fantastic opportunity to let loose and mingle with fellow web developers and designers. I always hesitate to call them parties though. For one, to be able to attend the last two years, I’ve needed funding from my employers, and it’s harder to sell a conference where the word “parties” is frequently used.

More seriously, I hesitate because they aren’t parties in the typical sense. These are parties geek style. Like most parties there is beer (Shiner Bock if you’re doing it right) involved, but conversations are about things like Javascript performance and new CSS techniques. In general attendees are intelligent, and the conversations reflect that.


That’s the beauty of SXSW - the conversations. You meet fantastic people from all over who are interested in the same kinds of things that you are. I’d heard people say that each year they come back it feels more like coming home. While I’m not ready to go that far, I will say that it was great to catch up with people I had met last year, and to meet new people to catch up with next year.

I’m hoping to make the AJAX Experience this year, but as of right now, SXSW is the only major conference I’ve attended, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. However, it’s safe to say that the rewards of going greatly outweigh the costs of doing so, and SXSW should be one of the conferences on your yearly radar. If you can get to Austin next March, I highly recommend it, and hopefully, I’ll see you there.