Breakfast with the Blogroll
True to form, I’m late to the SxSWi 2006 wrap-up write-up game. The value and essence of South By South West has already been described and captured by far more capable writers than I. As a result this post is less “why you should attend” and more “it was great to meet all of you.” There will be far less name-dropping than last year’s post (because I will inevitably forget someone) but Mint doorbells will still be ringing.
There was some scheduling confusion regarding our return flight which ended up being at 10am rather than 4pm. (We’re doing a lot of travel in the near future, the original time we told everyone was actually for our return flight from Boston in April—not Austin!) Fortunately we made an early night of it and had time to pack and set the alarm. But instead of the anticipated leisurely breakfast with the usual Hampton Inn crew we were in a cab to the airport before most anyone else was up. Sans goodbyes. sniff
Over the course of the week I participated in two panels, Hollistic Web Design and Does Your Blog Have a Business? Everyone on both panels did a great job but I want to give an extra nod to Garret Dimon and DL Byron for being superb moderators. (Thanks for the Clip-n-Seal Byron!) Some guy named Carl has posted all of the files from the Hollistic panel.
There was a question at the end of the Blog/Business panel (transcripts available) about building an audience that I didn’t have a chance to chime in on due to time. Some of the other panelists talked about using lean mark-up and writing howto articles. My response would be to produce relevant content (howtos are an example of this) but more importantly you need to engage the community your content serves. This includes participating in relevant discussions on other’s blogs, helping where you can in forums and contributing to or creating community projects like A List Apart, Designologue or the CSS Zen Garden. If you make worthwhile contributions abroad people are going to be more likely to take a lasting interest in what you are saying on your own site.
While in Austin I had the pleasure of doing two interviews. The first with Geoffrey Grosenbach was the Rails Podcast (available now, no direct link though). We discussed Ruby and Rails from the perspective of a PHP developer and whether or not the LAMP combo was the right decision for Mint. The second interview was with Josh Owens and Chris Saylor for the Web 2.0 Show. We talked mostly about what happened to ShortStat 2.0 and how Mint evolved to meet the community’s and my own needs.
It seems like every other person I met at SXSW had something nice to say about Mint. Looking out into the audience during panels you were sure to spot someone checking their Mint installation or their Newest Unique Referrers feed. I had an opportunity to meet a Pepper developer or two and flesh out some ideas to improve the Pepper API. Maybe next year I should organize a night of mojitos and Mint juleps. Mint by South West?
Now for some Miscellaneous Superlatives
Most Awkward Introduction
Spelling Veerle Pieters’s name (V-E-E-R-L-E?) for fear of mispronouncing it and making a fool out of myself. Kind of backfired. Now that she mentions it, Leslie chasing down poor Catherine from Boston who was wearing my HatP Weapon tee to breakfast ranks pretty high too.
Best Nick Tagline
Most Thoughtful Gift
Most Unique Business Card
Best Use of a Grid on a Business Card
No contest, Khoi Vhin’s card for Subtraction.com.
Flashiest Business Card
Seed Media Group. Ooh, shiny.
Most Tactile Business Card
Most Homemade Business Card
A tie between Jason Santa Maria (is a graphic designer) and Rob Weychert. Stan went the extra mile and rounded the corners while Rob is big pimpin’ with gold foil. These Philly chumps have too much time on their hands. Isn’t there a giant cracked bell in need of repair?
Not making it out for a few drinks with Tom Coates and pals from Flickr on the last night. Not catching up with Timothy Gray despite being in Austin for almost an entire week. Not having something more interesting to say when I had a chance to talk with Jason Kottke and the guys from Skinny Corp.
New Faces and Old Friends
It was great seeing friends from last year: the extended Philly and Brit Pack contingent, our northern neighbors, ghosts from old haunts (New England), chums from the Northwest and those from the warmer states.
With all the people I met last year I was afraid that my poor, over-taxed brain wouldn’t be able to make room for all the new faces and names. It held up pretty well but there are certainly some gaps. I didn’t take daily notes each night before bed this year so illuminating those dark recesses is proving a bit challenging. Do me a favor, if our meeting was blotted out by a Rusty Nail or the time between the events and my writing this, add yourself back into my history below (but please save the historical fiction for a another time).
South By South Wicked
I’ll be fleshing this out over the course of the next few days. Feel free to add yourself including links to appropriate Flickr photos and blogs.
Arrival: Thursday, March 9th, 2006
- An uneventful flight (no engagements this year)
- Lunch at P.F. Changs with Leslie
- Met Veerle, Geert and Kenneth at the Hampton Inn
- Bumped into Andy and Molly in the lobby
- Had dinner at the Paradise with a lot of Brits, Belgians (and some Americans). Ran into Garrett, Eris and party.
- Promised Steve I’d post a link to some older original tunage
- Ended up at Buffalo Billiards. Met Anton, Patrick Haney, and Brits Steve and Dave
- Called it an early night
Day Zero: Friday, March 10th, 2006
- With Leslie, Jeremy, Jessica, Richard, Craig Cook, Stuart Colville, Chris, Ms. Jen, Lauren, and Aaron
- Went to the Wholefoods mothership for lunch and then across the street to Waterloo for some music
- Picked up the newish Boards of Canada, Beth Orton and Jack Johnson albums
- Bumped into the Pixelworthy crew. Met Dan Mall, Josh Lane, Jon, Michael. I missed some introductions because I had to run back up to the room (Greg and Liz maybe?).
- Finally met my internet heroes Rob Weychert and Jason Santa Maria.
The Registrant Lounge
- Immediately tore the Velcro off my badge lanyard, preferring to tie it off (the stitching was irritating).
- Caught up with Ryan and Gillian Carson and Gareth Knight over free beer and water
Dinner at 219 West
- With a very large group. My table ended up being Gareth, Ryan, and Stuart. Leslie almost scored our group a private room. Instead our sole waiter received a very generous tip.
- I think I “sold” Gareth a twenty pound note for ten dollars. Something tells me that starting with a Jack and Coke, a Shiner Bock and a Jagerbomb was not the way to go. Always a good idea to pace yourself with a glass of water per beverage.
Break Bread with Brad at the Ginger Man
- Met Jeff Croft, Wilson Miner, James Asher, Shannon (rhymes with cannon), Eric Rice, and more
- Introduced Jeff (who doesn’t drink beer) to the Belgian Kwak
- Ran into Jason and Trey who we met last year at SxSW and saw again at Cre824
Day One: Saturday, March 11th, 2006
- Did some Mint hacking during breakfast
Traditional Design and New Technology
How to be a Web Design Superhero
- Hey look, it’s me! As the Green Lantern!
- I may have met my arch-nemesis and Dane before this session…
Lunch at Moonshine
- With the Hollistic Web Design panel members, Eris, Jason, Garret and…
- Met some guy named Carl for the first time
Coudal/Fried Opening Remarks
How to Bluff Your Way in DOM Scripting
- Aaron gives me a nod for the scrolling script used in Mint and on the MORE website. Original props go to Travis Beckham.
Starting Small: Web Business for the Rest of Us
- I was sitting next Dunstan for most of the panel, only realized this at the end though
Rails Podcast Interview with Geoffrey
Wine and Cheese in Ms. Jen’s Room
- With a cozy group consisting of Ms. Jen, Geoffrey, Lauren, Veerle, Geert, Kenneth, Alun, Jon and Leslie
- Leslie stayed in after that
- Tried to hook up with Ethan et al
- Some went on in search of the Frog Design party, others sought sustenance
Dinner at the Iron Cactus
- With Geoffrey, Alun, Geert, Jon, Kenneth and Veerle
- Spied a pale Jeff Croft and Wilson Minor being seated as we were finishing up
South By North West at the Iron Cactus
- Once dinner was done we sauntered into the back room to say hello to the Blue Flavor/Newsvine crews
- Met a lot of people. At one point I thought I was talking to Stuart (a Brit) but I was actually talking to Wade from Bright Corner (a Texan). That was before any margaritas found their way into my grasp. Met Bryan Veloso, Dan Rubin, Jon and Heather Armstrong, Greg Storey, a guy from Maryland, Michael Buffington (was able to convince him that we could still be friends despite his involvement in Measure Maps and that he thought I was sleeping through his Small Business panel), and Andrea Schwandt-Arbogast. Crossed paths with Glenda “The Good Witch” Sims and many more I’m sure—this room was packed!
Day Two: Sunday, March 12th, 2006
Sink or Swim: Important Startup Decisions
Almost overlooked this one until the Pixelworthy crew told me that Cabel Sasser and Joel Spolsky were going to be there.
Met John Gruber (although this may have happened earlier), Cabel and his girlfriend, Paul from Apple, and Ryan Brill (I met Ryan’s brother later in the week but can’t place the event temporally).
Skipped a panel?
Lunch at the Iron Cactus
- Ran out to steal a passing Rob Weychert away from Dan Mall
- With Leslie, the Carsons, Gareth, Trey and Jason, Ryan Brill, Jeff, James, Craig Cook, and eventually Rob
- Craig scores a free Mint license by toting my forgotten laptop back from lunch
Heather Armstrong and Jason Kottke Keynote
Green Room preparing for…
Hollistic Web Design
- Met Vanessa Tan who travelled 14 hours from Singapore to visit SXSW
Sushi with just Leslie
- We ended up bailing on Keith Robinson et al so that Leslie could find onion-free food and not die
- Met up with Designolegend fashionvictim and the guys and gals from Cotton Blend
- Byran Veloso takes the Web Award for the Blog category thus jinxing my entire table (sorry Tracey!)
- Took Leslie back to the hotel
Web Awards After Party at Club DeVille
- With Jason, Eris, the P-dub crew, Greg Storey, Paul Nixon with “Nixon’s Vixens” (sorry Shelby, Bronwyn), Mike, Wilson, Jeff
- In a jealous rage at not having a Web Award in hand that night I “accidentally” kicked a Rusty Nail in Michael’s face. Shock and awe!
Day Three: Monday, March 13th, 2006
Green Room preparing for…
- Met DL Byron and Phoebe Espiritu for the first time
Does Your Blog Have a Business
- Met another Leslie from SCAD who was an SXSW volunteer
Skipped lunch to do the Web 2.0 Show
- Grabbed a pizza from the lounge
Craig Newmark Keynote
- Tackled some email in the overflow room
Designing for Community
- Finally met Kelly McCarthy (Aaron’s wife)
Design Eye for the List Guy
Dinner at Moonshine
- With, at my table, Scott Sims, Leslie, Kelly and Aaron, Veerle and Geert, Kenneth, and Lauren, and at the other table…they were to my back but I know Glenda, Craig, Andy, Ms. Jen, Jon, Alun and Andrea were there.
- Ran into Brad and yet another Leslie, both from SCAD. Three Leslies from SCAD in one day? Zoinks.
- Bumped into Jason and Trey, Dave and Lauren, Ryan and Gareth, Ethan, Rich, Dustin, and more (too damn crowded)
- Had a nice talk with Jamin before we decided to bail
- Tracked down Ethan, Rob, Ryan, Greg, Paul, Shelby, Bronwyn, Mike, and Eris. Met Brett Woitunski
Day Four: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006
Skipped the first panel
- Bid a fond farewell to Kenneth and helped Veerle fix images in comments on her blog
Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps
- With Andy and Leslie at the Old Pecan Street Cafe
Skipped the keynote to explore the exhibit hall
- Bought Object Oriented PHP Solutions Volume II, expected more.
- Ran into Drew, Dustin, Simon and Natalie (?) who told me about…
The Orthley Children and Their Computer
- _why is one crazy dude
Bruce Sterling: The State of the World
The Final Wine and Cheese
- With Craig, Alun, Jon, Leslie, Ms. Jen, Dave, Lauren, Jessica, Cindy Li, Glenda, Richard, Jeremy, Veerle, Geert, James Craig, Keith, Trey, and Jason (how did we fit so many people into one room?)
Dinner at P.F. Changs
- See above
Media Temple SXSW Closing Party at the Foundation
- Met Jason and Scott from Media Temple, formally met Amber, Tantek’s birthday surprise, someone claiming to be Hayo Bethlehem (all hugs, that guy)
- Said goodbyes to Crofty, Miner and Asher, Zeldman’s Angels with Rob and Ethan
- Everyone wanted a picture with the “got mint?” tee
Departure: Wednesday, March 15th, 2006
- No time for nothin’
- Verrry bumpy landing in Baltimore, so bumpy, I thought we were going to have to take another pass at it