What's SXSW? Who's going? And most importantly, why?
I'm about to board a plane to Austin, Texas. Not because the weather is better (it's actually raining there) or because I am in dire need of a breakfast taco (though I am). I'm going to this thing, Ess Ex Ess Double You, or South by Southwest for short. So are thousands and thousands of other people. And we're all there to take advantage of each other, which is why SXSW exists.
Officially, SXSW Interactive — the nerdiest of the three components of SXSW — is "an incubator of cutting-edge technologies" and "the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology." Forgive me for being existential, but what is a conference, really, if not the people that are there? So what follows, our guide to SXSW, is a taxonomy of the folks going to SXSW and why they are going.
Journalists/hacks who need an app to write about
Hello there! I cannot tell you how many shitty apps and online services are pitched to me and every other tech writer every single day of every single week--I'm sure the whole process amounts to enough man-hours collectively to build the Great Wall of China out of Lego, four times over--making tech writers unbelievably desperate to find the one or two good internet things that you, normal person, will actually be using in a six months.
Or, we're going to be on a panel with smart people, where hopefully we will say smart things too, or things that sound smart enough, and then hopefully the other smart people will tell us how smart we sounded, too. Oh, and all of us in New York miss all of our hack friends in San Francisco, and this is one of the few times a year we're allowed to hang out with all of them at once and drink heavily.
Lastly, we just want to talk to interesting people and maybe interview them. I do, anyway. So please, come to talk to me.
Foursquare Co-founder Dennis Crowley.
(Getty Images / Charles Eshelman)