If you’ve ever been to SXSW, you may have had the good fortune to meet Hugh Forrest, the event director of SXSW-Interactive. Hugh is a real prince of a guy, ever so humble, hard-working and full of heart.
Imagine a web where everyone has accessâ€¦ regardless of their physical or mental ability. This is the vision behind the Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) a friendly and fun competition that pairs web developers with local non-profits to create accessible websites. Even before the AIR awards ceremony, web developers win by receiving valuable technical accessibility training; Non-Profits win by getting a new and accessible web presence and we all win by moving forward on the path of web access for all.
Any one considering going to SXSW Interactive in Austin March 9-13, 2007? It is the most amazing web conference on the planet. I think of it as a great BIG IDEA conference. When explaining to others how to get the most out of SXSWi I have been known to say:
â€œSXSW is about the people. Go to the panels, go to the parties, introduce yourself to the person next to you. Seek out new people. Find out what treasures are overflowing in the brains all around you. Talk about your passions and then listen. I mean really LISTEN. Suspend judgement. Truly try on the perspective of the brilliant human being sitting next to you. Then let the magic potion of ideas, words and reality transform your thinking and open your eyes to new possibilities.â€
What is it about SXSW Interactive? It is just a conference after all. But honestly, it is unlike any other conference I attend. It is simultaneously visionary and insane, brilliant and ridiculous, inspiring and intoxicating. And it dawned on me that whoever named this conference nailed it. The whole point is to interact with each other. To share your wildest dreams, ask preposterous questions, make and renew scintillating friendships.
Some of the most creative minds in the world will be in Austin for SXSW Interactive. I jokingly refer to this event as spring break for geeks. Time to open our minds wide to new ideas and connect in person rather than just virtually. This event is really about the people and the ideas sketched out on cocktail napkins. Sure, the sessions are fantastic…but this isn’t the time to just sit back and absorb the wisdom of the greats. Last year, some of my richest conversations were after midnight in a bar, over a quiet late night coffee and sitting in the hallway between sessions.
To help get you in that playful, creative mind space…I’d like to suggest some authentically austin adventures to take with your fellow geeks.
Are you a lean, mean design machine? Do you long for the opportunity to design web sites the way you know they should be: accessible, usable and standards complaint? Does your organization care more about cheap, fast results rather than quality code? Then it is high time for a web wrestling smack down in SXSW style!
Take a step back in time to Sunday, March 13, 2005. You are in Austin, Texas attending SXSW – Interactive. You’re still feeling the effects of partying into the wee hours of the morning, but you’ve dragged yourself over to the convention center to see
SXSW-Interactive is about thinking outside the box. My brain is exploding with new ideas and perspectives.