When I set up my trip to the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, I assumed Friday would just be a travel day. Heading to Austin from San Jose, I thought maybe I would get in and find a badge, but would more likely just get unpacked and get ready for the weekend's efforts. It turns out I was wrong.
In the hours I've been in Austin, I managed to squeeze in a dinner with two bloggers who have contributed to the site this year, as well as one of the entrepreneurs I've grown to consider a close friend. Additionally, I managed to meet several bloggers I've known primarily through social networks for the past few years, and not to be outdone, we participated in a live UStream video interview. And all that has happened before attending any panels - though a full deck is planned starting plenty early tomorrow.
Phil Glockner of Scribkin.com and ReadWriteWeb, also a contributor to this site, is acting as my tag-team partner for the weekend. He generously picked me up, and we're crashed out at his place, far away from the noise of the parties, but close enough to the convention, and at a much cheaper rate than the nose-bleed prices I was seeing just before making plans final.
After getting our badges, he and I met up with Paul Buchheit of FriendFeed and Google fame, and Eric Berlin of the Online Media Cultist and Web Worker Daily. (Eric, as you know, also contributes to the site) Following our dinner, I met Allen Stern of CenterNetworks for the first time, and later saw Drew Olanoff and Sean Percival while we were en route to the UStream Studio.
The video interview on UStream, with Michael Sean Wright of Nice Fish Films, focused on "Are We Human or Are We Bloggers?", a clever way to discuss how we can remain personal and transparent, and leverage the blogging medium to make change and express ourselves. In the 45 minutes or so we had, we discussed how we started blogging, our interests, products we like, and how we use new technology. We also managed to talk about the strategy behind featuring additional voices on the site, and how we use Twitter and FriendFeed. I appreciated getting the time to talk with Michael, and he said way too many nice things about me - some of which I would have a very hard time backing up.
I've posted my SXSW schedule here: http://sxsw2009.sched.org/louisgray. If you are at SXSW and want to meet up, please do. I'm looking forward to it. Reach me by e-mail, by phone, or any network of your choosing.