SXSWi2006 | February 2, 2006

SXSW interactive –the biggest event on the web geeks calendar– is only 6 weeks away, and I’m seriously looking forward to it. If you’ve not been to southby before, it’s four days of inspirational talks, hanging out with cool people, eating, drinking and partying.

Last year saw a bit of a British invasion, with many of the BritPack heading out for the first time. This year looks to be even bigger and better, with the British contingent easily doubling in size. If you happen to live in Austin, I suggest letting the local bars know they need to stock up on beer. Despite drinking far too much last year, it was impossible to get even mildly drunk on their 3% larger, giving us a fairly undeserved reputation as hardened drinkers (if you’ve ever been out drinking with me in the UK you’ll know I’m a bit of a lightweight).

However it’s not all drink, drink, drink. There are some fantastic speakers there this year and some great sounding panels and presentations. Invariably panels will clash, but theses are the ones I’m most looking forward to:

You may have noticed amongst the book plugs and underpants icons in my right hand column a “See Me Speak at SXSW 10-14” button. That’s right, I’m going to be speaking at southby again this year, which is something I’m looking forward to. I’ve teamed up teamed up with the talented Mr Clarke and will be giving a presentation entitled “How to be a Web Design Superhero”. I’m not quite sure what it will entail just yet, but I’m sure it will be fun. Feel free to come up afterwards and say hi, or grab me in the corridors for a quick chat.

If you happen to be on a panel, I strongly recommend reading Seven Steps to Better Presentations by Jeff Veen. How to Kick Butt On a Panel also has some good, sensible advice. Whatever you do, just make sure you have your morning coffee first.

The official evening events look as good as ever, but it’s worth keeping your eyes on for a list of all the unofficial ones as well. Last year I painstakingly transfered all the events into iCal only to realise that I could subscribe to their shared iCal calendar. One big event that may have slipped under the RADAR is BarCampAustin on March 11th. With so many geeks in town, it could be good. Although it’s a real shame they didn’t put it on the day before the conference when more people were free.

If you are looking to keep track of all the latest southby news, or want advice on eating and accommodation, head over to the official SXSWi Community Blog or check out SXSWBaby. If you are stuck for accommodation I’d recommend finding a couple of people to share a hotel room with, or you could try couch surfing if you’re really desperate.

If you are planning to go to SXSW interactive this year lets start to get to know each other. Where are you from, what’s your website address, how many times have you been, where are you staying and what are you most looking forward to?

Posted at February 2, 2006 10:37 AM


Stuart Colville said on February 2, 2006 2:16 PM

I hadn’t realised it was coming up so soon (Must remember to buy an extra powerbook battery!).

This will be my first trip to the US as well as my first SXSW so I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m staying at the Hampton Inn which was recommended to me. (Btw, I have half a room to share if anyone still needs acomodation!)

Your list pretty much matches mine, and now that the information on panels is starting to come together there’s no shortage of interesting panels to go to. Of course I am also looking forward to all of the social aspects, that goes without saying!

Dane said on February 2, 2006 3:46 PM

Heh. I love how your Google ads have responded in time to the mention of late-night drunken revelry, and currently discuss such subjects as alcohol recovery and addiction treatment.

Soon. Not yet, but soon.

This will prove to be my first SXSWi and I’m stoked as all hell. I have no strategic plan at this point, as most of my brain cells are still tied up in planning next week’s ski trip to Utah. For SXSW, I’ll probably throw a schedule together at the last minute and marvel if it all works out.

We’ll be crashin’ at the La Quinta. Sure, it’s a seven block commute, but seeing as how we’ll probably be shuttling back and forth in a wheelbarrow anyway, it doesn’t really matter.

Dave J. Lowe said on February 2, 2006 4:01 PM

My list of panels is pretty much the same as yours too. I’d add that the one on ‘Cashing in or Selling out: The Future of the Independent Web’ also sounds interesting. And of course I’m looking forward to Web Design Superhero (must remember to come up with cool superhero alter ego).

This will be my first SxSW, and trip to Austin, so I don’t know exactly what to expect, though I do expect it to be generally awesome. I think I’m mostly looking forward to meeting as many people as I can and putting faces to names.

Oh, and I’m from Orange County, California and staying at the Radisson.

Jan Brasna said on February 2, 2006 8:00 PM

Damn, still waiting for documents from US Embassy to go. This is going to be my first SXSW.

And hey, Andy, I’m living in Pilsen, so when it comes to beer, rest assured that I’m here at the source ;)

Patricia said on February 2, 2006 11:30 PM

This will be my first time to Austin and SXSW, can’t wait. Been salivating over the panels list. Coming in from Montreal and staying at La Quinta. Stupidly only reserved a king but I guess the room could be shared with a roll away.

See ya soon, mates!

Jason Gilstrap said on February 3, 2006 3:24 PM

I’ll be attending SXSW for the first time this year and I’m looking forward to it. I’m coming from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I’ll be staying at the Crowne Plaza.

Andy, I’m eager to attend your panel.

Patrick Haney said on February 3, 2006 7:58 PM

Looking forward to finding out how to be a “Web Design Superhero,” that’s for sure.

I’ll be losing my SXSW virginity this year, as it’s my first trip to Austin (and Texas for that matter). I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of great designers that will be there lecturing and paneling, not to mention those that are just there to listen (and drink of course!).

I’m coming from the Boston area, where I recently moved to from Upstate NY. It’s a big change, but I love it.

I’m staying at a friend’s place just north of the city, about 20 minutes away. I couldn’t afford a hotel because I was late getting my travel plans setup, so I figured I’d deal with the distance and go the cheaper route.

What am I looking forward to most? Meeting all these great people I’ve been reading on an almost daily basis. And learning from them.

Faruk Ateş said on February 5, 2006 2:58 PM

Faruk Ateş reporting for SXSWi 2006!

I live in the Netherlands;
I have never been to SXSW before;
I am on the Web 2.1 panel;
I am a finalist at the Web Awards (yay!);
I will be staying at the Hampton Inn;
I blog at;
I am looking forward to meeting you again, and meeting so many others again or for a first time. :-)

Alun Rowe said on February 8, 2006 5:12 PM

I live in the Thame,UK
I’m pretty new to the CSS/Standards thing but I’m getting there slowly with Andy, Patrick and Jeremy’s help
I have never been to SXSW before
I am not on any panels
I will be staying at the Hampton Inn;
My website at is as usual unfinished and my blog is nearly live…

Better go and check out the list of talks then… and finish my website before a flock of complaints!

jenny said on February 28, 2006 3:04 AM

I am going to be there but I have no idea where I will be staying! If you (you being any readers!) have an extra bed and are in a busable/walkable location, drop me a line!