Saturday, March 21, 2009

My First SXSW

I just got back from my first South by Southwest conference and I have to say that it certainly lived up to expectations. I have been hearing about this conference for a couple of years now and how I must go, but this is the first time that I have actually made it. If you are a young start-up web company, this is the show to be attending. There were some great booths and lots of people to talk with and share ideas. I did attend several panels and talks and I would have to say that my favorite had to be Steve Souders talking about his new book "Even Faster Web Sites" and all of the tips and tricks you can do with loading Javascript, CSS, Images etc. It was very useful and included some great details that you really gloss over (but really shouldn't) when you are trying to get a product out the door. I am pre-ordering the book at so that I can make sure I apply his principles. I also went to a panel on Version Control because I wanted to dig in deep with CVS and SVN and figure out why everyone is so hot on SVN. It was fairly disappointing because it was extremely high level and not much meat to the discussion. I was interested in hearing what Matt Mullenweg, of, had to say since he was on the panel. He was by far the most knowledgable on the panel and it showed. He actually did a demonstration of an SVN checkin that propogated to all of the servers and then he did another checkin to fix the change. It was the first time I had seen someone try to do a live commit to many live production servers during a presentation to 200 people. Even though it was a trivial change, it was still cool to see someone that confident in the systems they have in place. The last panel that I went to for the week was the Cloud Computing panel. It was particuarly interesting because you had, Google and Microsoft sharing the stage talking about their different platforms. It was obvious that Amazon had the most complete architecture right now, but I am looking forward to seeing what Azure comes out with in the near future. One of the highlights of the conference was being able to sit down one on one with Werner Vogels, the CTO of, and talk about how we are using the services at DigitalChalk and give him some feedback on our experiences. There were many other experiences that will always stand out, like meeting Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble and of course all of the parties. Needless to say, I will be going back next year.

1 comment:

John said...

Sounds like it was a blast. Austin is a neat little city not "too" unlike RTP.