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Best of SxSW 2011

Another year, another South By Southwest Interactive Festival. Word on the street is that there were close to 30,000 people there this year, which included all four of the Idea Market team. We laughed, we cried, we made memories. Here are each of our top 5 favourite moments:
  1. So many great learning sessions. Mine were focused on the business side of things, covering topics such as project management, money, meetings and being a boss.
  2. Taking in a bit of the music side of things, especially The Spazmatics, The Gregory Brothers and Psychic TV.
  3. The trade show was immense this year. I got a year’s supply of free t-shirts, lots of free food, and met the likes of Guy Kawasaki (thanks for the autographed book!) and Mike Tyson (thanks for the crushed hand!)
  4. Food. As always. Nuclear tacos (again), Frank and Iron Works, especially. Gained four pounds.
  5. Hanging out with the Idea Market team and seeing things from the eyes of the newbies (Louise & Mike).


  1. Best of all was following the Happy Cog crew around to the sessions different team members led. Especially when Chris Cashdollar (real name!) made me cry. Or rather, sob my way through the session ‘My Title is Web Designer, Now What?’ I was tired and overwhelmed and apparently am a chick; give me a break!
  2. Racing between vendors for free food. In one lunch I was able to score amazing barbecue bun things, popcorn, a drink and the best ice cream sandwiches ever. Thank you for teaching me frugality, Mom.
  3. Attending a keynote session by Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes. Join the IMers on April 5th as we participate in One Day Without Shoes. Splash and experience the impact of how living without shoes affects everyday life. Oh, and it was pretty awesome when he made Carson cry.
  4. Falling in love with Derek Neighbours, a married man, from Gangplank. When I grow up, I want to be like him.
  5. While not an official SXSW event, I was able to convince everyone to join me on fulfilling a bucket list item – Taking in an Austin Roller Derby game. I even have the t-shirt to prove it.


  1. Blake Mycoskie Keynote – Very inspiring talk from the founder of TOMS shoes about his journey leading up to where TOMS is today and their revolutionary 1 for 1 business model. Buy yourself a pair.
  2. Microsoft IE9 Launch Party – Yes, as bad as it is, I have to give Microsoft credit. They did a pretty great job with the launch of Internet Explorer 9. The party was one of the best of SXSW for sure; visually captivating. Go update!
  3. Designing Across Disciplines panel with an architect, presidential speech writer, world renown event planner, and a user experience designer at Google. A fantastic comparison of perspectives on design from very successful professionals in a variety of industries.
  4. Mashable Party – One of the biggest and best of SXSW yet again this year. Too much fun to be had, from free drinks to free games. All made possible by one of my favourite blogs.
  5. Various UX and Mobile sessions – There was a lot of talk this year about User Experience and applying it to mobile mediums. Many speakers shared a common goal of driving home the importance of designing for the mobile web.


  1. The session “Techies Can Save the World, Why Aren’t They?” Insight into how techies can translate their app developing skills into solutions for environmental and humanitarian issues.
  2. The interesting cross-over of film, interactive, and music at one conference. Plenty to listen to, watch, and interact with.
  3. Learning about HTML5 (politics included) and how we can use it to build a better internet.
  4. The great taste of brisket straight from the Texas grill.
  5. The endless amount of free stuff, no matter where you went.
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