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 theinfluenceofartindesign.com

IRL

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.