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The Obligatory Post-SxSWi Report

Peter F, 20 March, 2007 0 Comments

Catching up on my feed reading this morning, I realize I’ve fallen
terribly out of fashion by not giving a wrap up on SxSW. Perhaps it’s
this flu, but having just read about a dozen breathlessly fawning,
name-dropping, self-stroking ego explosions, I feel like retching.
Seriously folks, please keep the first name gushing to yourselves. We’re
web designers, not movie stars. A little perspective please…

With that out of the way, here are my take-aways on this year’s conference.

The panels were almost universally disappointing.

Unprepared panelists, vague and misleading panel descriptions,
insufficient seating, and silly 25 minute time slots conspired to cause a
low level grumbling that increased as the week wore on.

There’s not a lot of BIG innovation in our industry at the moment.

This is a good thing. It means there’s time for people to actually learn
how to use the tools at our disposal. There’s time to learn about
formal design theory (grids and typography) instead of just rushing full
speed for the next big thing.

Redbull is evil.

“Here, have this.” “Yum, what is it?” “Redbull and vodka.” “Oh, I’ll
have another.” Flash forward to me lying in bed, wide awake, with the
sudden realization that I just had the equivalent of about 8 cups of

The difference between good design and great design is time.

Attention clients: great design takes A LOT OF TIME. Great design
doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of research, planning, and
iteration after iteration. It’s not your fault you don’t know that – as
you go through your life, you only see the finished products. You don’t
see the months of work that led up it.

There’s a real hunger for practical business advice.

People in web development and design have no idea how to run a business.
By and large, they know that, and they’re starving for practical,
actionable advice.

Good fish tacos are next to godliness.

Since having fish tacos at Polvo’s on First Street last year, I’ve been
pining to have them again. Imagine then that when I bit into my first
one that it was even better than I remembered. I went back 3 times, and
each time was better than the last. Forget the conference, I’m going
back next year for the fish tacos!

A room full of guys with Apple laptops = a room full of guys with beards.

You can tell the difference between the designers and the developers by
the length of the beard. Designers go closely trimmed, while developers
seem to prefer the Grizzly Adams look.

It’s all about the people.

It really is. I had a great time meeting and hanging out with some real
quality people. Forget the names, forget the websites. These were just
great guys. The fact that we have an industry in common was just the
starting point for what became real friendship. If you weren’t able to
attend this year, don’t make your decision to come next year based on
the podcasts or videos from this year’s conference. They’ll only tell
you 10% of what the actual experience is about.

That’s it! Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

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