I am in Austin enjoying my third day at my third SXSW, and it turning out to be an awesome trip. The inspiration and motivation is abundant, panels packed with stories of innovation through creativity. Its hard to resist the contagious passion.
Last night a friend from my first trip to Austin made an interesting reference; while I can not recall his exact words, he eluded to all of the “rockstars” at the event. A word that is becoming increasingly overused in Web 2.0 community, it accuratey describes everyone at this conference…SXSW is packed full of “rockstars”. Those who travel to the lone-star state share an insatiable curiosity; something that Jason Fried mentioned that he looks for in new recruits for the 37 Signals team. Curiosity really sets people here apart… they know they need to seek the unkown and that there are bigger things worth exploring. I can’t turn around without bumping into a rockstar and striking up intriguing conversation about their journey of curiosity that brought them here.
One piece of advice I can give to a SXSW newbie is: call a cab, and talk to your driver. Austin has the most interesting cab drivers I have ever met, and they always manage to give me the most insightful look into the culture of the city. My first year here I met Rosie, who possibley was Janis Joplin resurrected from the dead. With a raspy texan accent she told me stories of escorting the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Willie Nelson to down-home destinations. This year, while I did not get his name, our driver from Chuys serenaded us with a song he made up as he went singing “jolly ride, jolly ride” as we crossed the river into downtown Austin.
There is still more time here at SXSW and I look forward to the people I still have left to meet, the stories to be heard, and lessons to be learned . If you are at the conference and see me, say hello. If your not at the conference take a look at my photos on my flickr account to check out what I have captured on my iphone.