Our design team (plus Kaz and Marian) journeyed to SXSW this year, and came away with full brains and fuller stomachs. Here's just a tiny bit of what happened, from each person's (unique) perspective.
What was your most memorable moment?
Daniel: Picking a single moment as the best is difficult because they range from technical learning experiences to the totally absurd. On Sunday night Hashrocket sponsored BeerCamp 2011 -- it was great to cut loose with our team and evangelize Hashrocket.
Doris: Memorable? Good choice of words ... because chances are i don't remember everything ;)
Marian: A pedicab ride uphill with three of us on board!
Kaz: Most memorable: First seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in Uchi then getting rejected when trying to get a photograph with him. Most favorite: Being in a really cool town with loads of great food, meeting awesome people, hanging out with friends and of course going to see The Foo Fighters.
What was your least favorite experience?
Daniel: Deciding which panel discussions to attend is difficult. It's a real hit or miss process to choose one. I attended one panel that featured some well known names in our industry only to find that there seemed to be no preparation, agenda or theme to the discussion. It ended up becoming a weak discussion of the obvious. It was quite disappointing.
Doris: Missing our flight and being fearful of missing a day of SXSW. That would have been tragic.
Cameron: Getting five minutes into a panel and realizing it's a bust, which happened a few times. Every year I root for the conference portion to become more well-executed.
Marian: Airport drama! And waiting in line for coffee at Starbucks in the Hilton Lobby.
Kaz: Missing the airplane to Austin. [ed: obviously we made it there, after much grief and confusion. Thanks for nothing, TSA]
What was your favorite panel?
Daniel: On the flip side of the hit or miss process, there were some real winners in the bunch. I attended an iPad UI talk that was quite informative, another on using visual data to discover music that kept me thinking and the geek in me loved the panel where sci-fi film UI designers discussed their work.
Doris: GeekFit. Robert Jolly, Derek Featherstone and I have been trying to come up with a way to promote health/fitness in the workplace for a few years now. The panel explored some of the long-term health risks associated with our obsession with all things digital and too little time maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. Lots of ideas were tossed out and we're continuing the conversations -- search Twitter for #geekfit Next year at SXSW, expect some bigger and more exciting things surrounding this topic!
Cameron: John Gruber, Jim Coudal, and Michael Lopp hosted a panel about their personal approaches to creativity & writing. It took place approximately 739 blocks away in the basement of the Sheraton, but was absolutely worth the early time slot, taxi drive, overcrowding, and heatstroke.
Marian: The Lean Start-Up panel.
Kaz: A Conversation with James Gunn,
Ellen Page and Rainn Wilson. I also enjoyed the various 15 minute closing panels on using video to help your business.
What was the most delicious thing you ate?
Daniel: The best food I consumed by far was from a Japanese fusion restaurant call Uchi. Apparently the chef has competed on Iron Chef and is culinary wizard from the future. Everything I ate seemed to be prepared with magical unicorn dust and continued to get better with each plate they brought to the table. I also ate a donut filled with potato salad and smothered in BBQ pulled pork. I felt very guilty afterward ... but not that much.
Doris: That's a hard question to answer. I'm big into raw foods and walked myself to Whole Foods every single day to indulge on some incredible eats. One of my favorites was the pad thai Kaz and I made in our hotel room from julienned zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, peppers and pad thai sauce from the raw bar. The best thing i ate though, had to be the dinner of high caliber amazingness that is Uchi.
Cameron: Yes, Uchi was even more delicious than the pork-on-a-donut. Even more.
Kaz: Whole Food's Raw Pad Thai, oh and ALL of the food at Uchi. Austin has great food!
Sum up your SXSWi experience in one word.
Daniel: QR Codes