What SXSWi 2010 panel am I dreaming about? Without a doubt, it is:

Open Web Education Alliance: Educating the Next Generation

In the world of web standards, industry forms best practices, education instructs emerging talent—and neither the twain shall meet. A decade on, the rate of standards adoption across the school/street divide is dishearteningly poor. Join us to discover how curriculum building and strategic industry alliance can close the gap.

Don’t miss your chance to hear about the revolution that is occurring in web education. Vote for the Open Web Education Alliance: Educating the Next Generation panel in the SXSWi 2010 Panel Picker.

How can I possibly explain the magic of SXSWi? Imagine you are high in the sky with Willy Wonka in the great glass elevator. Anything is possible. Magic is probable. (Sigh) That is how SX feels. What moments took my breath away in 2008? Let me share a few.

  • Sitting on the floor in the packed Browser Wars Panel and hearing Chris Wilson (IE), Charles McCathieNevile (Opera) and Brendan Eich (Firefox) explain that while they are at war, they are united on web standards. The point is to win by creating a better user experience, by building a better browser, not carving the web up into 8 different standards.
  • Closing my laptop, putting away my phone, and finding a quiet place to have a deep conversation with brilliant minds about dreams, hopes, and concerns like Henny Swan @ Kerbey Lane, Aarron Walter and Leslie Jensen-Inman @ the Libery Tavern, Jon Hicks @ Halcyon’s, Steph Troeth @ the SXSW coffee shop, Rob Weychert @ the Hampton Lounge and Kimberly Blessing @ Rio, just to name a few.
  • Geeks Love Bowling: Playing “Conjunction Junction” at the bowling alley by hooking up geeks and ideas and causes. You see, I am a connector and SXSW is my perfect playground. In fact, connecting is what SXSW is all about, not via Bluetooth, not over Twitter…but face-to-face over a shared passion, and a shot of Patron XO Café or perhaps a latte. A meaningful connection that forever adds human depth to all future digital interactions.
  • Dewey Award and Accessibility Internet Rally Celebration: Listening to stories about Dewey Winburne, one of the co-founders of SxSWi, and understanding why I can’t ever, ever get enough of this event. Hugh Forrest shared an idea on the current directions of new media technology he had learned from an attendee this year:

    The first wave of the new media boom was all about the gold rush. But, in this secondary boom, things have changed a bit. More people are now tuned in to the idea of making a very positive social impact with their new media creations. So, we’ve moved from the gold rush to the good rush. – sxsw attendee

    Hugh really liked this idea. His only disagreement was that he thinks:

    the good rush has always been with us, it just sometimes gets glossed over. In our best moments, the good rush is what we are all about at SXSW Interactive. Indeed, the Dewey Award celebrates this profound yet profoundly simple idea that new media can serve as a bridge between the haves and the have nots in our society. This is the good rush. – hugh

I paused for a moment, and looked up at Hugh and realized that SXSW is just a great big glass elevator and I’m really standing next to Willy Wonka.

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There’s nothing to it – gene wilder

I’m counting the moments until SXSWi 2008 begins. Every year holds new adventures like the Bike Hugger Beer & BBQ on Saturday, March 8.

Imagine…free beer, bikers, bbq and the latest buzz on the IE8 Browser from WaSP…does that sounds like geek heaven, or what?

And, for the true biker, don’t miss the first ever Bike Hugger Urban Ride with stops at REI and the Blanton Museum of Art, with the Bike Hugger Beer BBQ as the final destination.

See you there!

Glenda and Rob. Photo taken by Rob Weychert

Sigh. Words cannot possibly describe the experience of SXSWi. It is true, this year’s event left me speechless (but smiling all the way to my heart). If you can’t imagine me at a loss for words, just ask Pixeldiva who saw me rendered speechless multiple times.

What is so magical about SX? Well…imagine…a place where there are no barriers to dreams, where ideas flow like a waterfall…drenching you with a creative fire so intense and pure that it feels like nirvana.

Moments of pure bliss for me this year include:

Delightful Discoveries

  • Meeting the wonderful Sue Clarke and taking a fieldtrip to Whole Foods with Money Lady and Malarkey.
  • Twitter and Dodgeball weren’t just noise. I experienced both of these tools connecting people. Filling in the spaces when physical distance can create barriers. Transforming an overwhelming large crowd into a network of friends.
  • Getting to meet the other Glenda!

Session Love

It would be impossible to tell you my favorite session…because everything was quite delicious. So…I’ll just mention a few that had me twittering “this is why I heart SXSW”:

  • Blogging Where Speech Isn’t Free – the work that global voices and Tor are doing to bring free speech via blogs to the people is momentous. I was inspired and humbled by the courage and resolve of these people.
  • Ajax Kung Fu Meets Accessibility Feng Shui – I was mesmerized by Neo Jeremy…he is indeed the Ajax Kung Fu Master. And Feather showed the way towards truly accessible Ajax. Heaven on earth.
  • WaSP Annual Meeting: Takin’ it to the Street – The WaSP is an amazing collection of passionate individuals who give their minds, hearts and souls to supporting efforts that help the web reach it’s full potential. Go WaSP!
  • The Influence of Art in Design – Yes…it is true. I was blown away by the other members of the panel. Even though we had met 5 times on skype and spent 2 hours together the day before playing in a museum…I still was moved and inspired by what my fellow panel members had to say. See our panel slides at


What could possibly be the richest treasure of SX for me is turning virtual relationships into tangible ones. Spending quality time with Steph Troeth, Ralph Brandi and Kimberly Blessing (just to name a few) was priceless. The experience reminds me of how I describe art and technology. For me…the physical work of art is primary. Nothing is more sacred than the actual art object. When I add technology into the museum space my goal is to enhance your interaction with the object…but never to detract or get in your way. And indeed…I think of all my close friends as priceless works of art.

Best SXSW Ever

I echo what Craig Cook says about SXSWi2007. It was the best SXSW I’ve ever experienced. More meaningful connections. Deeper conversations. And over and over again I was struck by the fact that every person mattered. You would think that in the midst of this geek heaven…surrounded by thousands of brilliant minds…that you wouldn’t miss a friend or two who couldn’t be there this year. On the contrary…I personally felt a Hicks-sized hole in the event that not even FlatHicks could fill. And while we did our very best to virtually include everyone…it was good to know that no matter how amazing SX actual is…the event is truly about the people. So, to Hicks, Jessica, Kelly, John, Brothercake, Meri, Elly and everyone else who longed to be here…you were missed.

Once upon a time
there was a brilliant
(yet humble)
designer named Hicks.
His work was known
throughout the land.
He laughed often
and had won
the deep respect
of his peers.

Then, without warning
a very large
wheel of cheese
fell on Hicks.


Hicks was flat.

What in the world
will Flat Hicks do
in his two dimensional world?

Stayed tuned to find out!

The journey has begun toward SXSWi. You can see the city transform as an infusion of energy, ideas, brilliance and creativity pour in.

It is as though Austin is singing her siren song:

“Cut a path
across the blue skies.
Straight in a straight line
You can’t get here fast enough.
Run. – George Strait”

For a magical moment in time, SXSWi transforms Austin into a digital mecca.

Come thirsty.
Drink deeply.
Dream outside the lines.

Have you see the SXSWi logo this year? It looks like a lightning bolt and now I know why! I’ve just returned from the SXSWi Southwestern Connections party at the Beauty Bar. I’m still buzzing from the creative energy that flowed freely tonight.

In SXSWi style, I wandered around the room and introduce myself to people I didn’t know. This is how I connected with a Burner named Sparky. Sparky took me on a magic carpet ride through his personal discovery of Burning Man. It was an amazing journey that took my breath away.

He drew pictures with words in my mind. For a moment, I closed my eyes and I imagined that I was at Burning Man 2000, seeing the faces of man, the ribcage junglegym and the burning heart(h).

I was in awe…at how much his experience of Burning Man harmonized with my vision for museums and the principles of Web 2.0 that make my heart beat faster. His words still echo in my head

  • radical self-expression
  • radical inclusion
  • gifting society

The magic of SXSWi has begun.

One of my muses (chainsaw panda) shared a priceless video clip with me this morning. After I got up off the floor from laughing, I just had to share it with you.

So…if you want to know why I love being a woman born into a time and place where I’ve been given opportunity, inspiration and the belief that anything is possible…then look, listen and take heed…watch “Women: Know Your Limits” (which portrays the antithesis).

What if we were to remake this clip to portray the atmosphere at SXSW-Interactive? I imagine it would say:

Women! Take Heed!

  • No Limits!
  • Think outside the lines!
  • Don’t ever stop learning.
  • Learning keeps you young, sexy and irresistible.

So, my dear, sweet, adorable women…let your brilliance shine through!

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