My first time at SxSW

This year I attended togehter with colleague Joris for the first time the conference South by SouthWest Interactive (SxSW or South by in short) in Austin Texas. It was quite a experience, a huge number of attendants (about 20.000 they say) and more than 1000 sessions to choose from. It felt more of a festival than a conference sometimes, which certainly add to the experience.

The conclusion from the sessions I saw and heard about from others is that the big trends are still on track. The things I preach for some time were confirmed: moving from web-experience to ecosystem of apps, big data (science, visualization), and above all: gamification, which can be seen as the buzz word of this edition. Location and context are still big, just like social media dynamics. Group services apps turned out very popular.

The focus in the conference seems to be a bit more on one app wonders than building a complete service experience, so let see if that will get more focus the coming year. The mixing up of digital and real world is just touched a little. It will be a good check if these trends will have landed next year.

Read my posts on the conference here:
De ontwerpkeuzes achter Ditto [in Dutch]
Gamification for the world
The new American way
Designing for ecosystems will be big on the next SxSW

And for the statistics. This was my list of sessions I attended.

  • Fireside Chat: Tim O’Reilly Interviewed by Jason Calacanis
  • Social Games: Manipulating Your Brain Chemistry, For Good
  • Clay Shirky; Why Would We Think Social Media Is Revolutionary?
  • How Progress Bars Change the Way We Live
  • Banks: Innovate or Die!
  • Time Traveling: Interfaces for Geotemporal Visualization
  • Keynote Simulcast: Seth Priebatsch
  • How Does SciFi Influence Our Future Cities?
  • Web Mashup Platforms for Future Programmable Cities
  • Mobile Social Gaming: The Next Frontier
  • The Science of Influence
  • Urban Technology on the Dark Side
  • Keynote: Christopher Poole
  • Jeffrey Zeldman’s Awesome Internet Design Panel
  • Machine Learning and Social Media
  • How the Web is Changing Dutch Politics
  • How Small Screens are Making iTV Big
  • GoogleTV to iPad Apps: The Connected TV Experience
  • Personalized Interfaces and the Arrival of Smart TV
  • Second Screen: TV Meets The Web Backchannel
  • NFC and RFID, How It Will Change Mobile
  • Tag, The Mobile Assassination Game
  • Keynote: Felicia Day
  • The Future of Microformats
  • Understanding Humans: New Psychology and the Social Web
  • Long After the Thrill: Sustaining Passionate Users
  • Is Crowd-sourcing the Enemy of Innovation?
  • Locationpalooza! Leveraging Geo-intelligence to Engage Hyper-Local Communities
  • The Now Revolution: Will Speed Kill Your Company?
  • Closing Speaker: Bruce Sterling

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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