Héctor Ramos

SXSW Day One

First full day of the South by Southwest Film + Interactive festival 
is now over. It’s been more of Interactive rather than Film, as all 
the panels and activities has just overwhelmed us.


We arrived on Thursday to Austin and were able to get to know downtown 
city thanks to Pablo’s (http://www.polsense.inc) previous knowledge of 
Austin and meeting up with Manuel Rosso. We got a good sense of the 
city and the layout and most popular places, which got us all set for 
Friday’s SXSW kickoff.


Badge pickup was a half hour line or so but organized, you would fill 
out a card with your info ad after matching it to your my.sxsw profile 
(which you should have filled out by now) they would quickly print out 
your badge.


The use of location based services I very high in Austin, in part due 
to it being the homebase of Gowalla, but mostly due to the influx of 
techies during this weekend. It is a different feeling when you check 
in anywhere and there’s 10 to 50 people who’ve checked in there in the 
last 20 minutes. And that’s just the coffeeshops. Popular SXSW events 
reach a few hundred. You check in, look to the side and there’s X from 
Y company or blog sitting near you, checking in as well.


And this was just Thursday night before the offcial start of SXSW.


Friday morning had no panels yet so we went to the Texas State Capitol 
grounds. The Capitol building is higher than the D.C. Capitol, I’m 
told. Yep, everything is bigger in Texas. The building is beautiful, 
as well as the grounds. Walking back we decided to grab lunch from the 
ONE TACO truck near the Austin Convention Center. We ran into the guys 
from Gowalla, and their Gowalla MINI Clubman. They are a cool bunch, 
and we are big fans of their applications so it was very nice to meet 
almost the whole team in person. The ONETACO tacos are tasty, by the 
way, especially the bacon loaded Gowalla taco. Try them!


On to the first panel… We all split up, hitting the SXSW intro 
(Addis), History of the Button (Pablo) and Beauty in Web Design 
(myself). Afterwards it was the Chasing Virtual Goods panel by Josh 
Williams, CEO of Gowalla, where we caught up again with the Gowalla 
peeps.


Last panel of the day was Mark Cuban vs Avner of Boxee on the future 
of streaming video on the TV. It was a very interesting head on 
discussion until the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the 
convention center. Turned out to be a false alarm, so we could see the 
end of the debate. It was pretty heated, and myself being a Boxee fan, 
I found agreeing with Cuban’s points against the success of a la carte 
programming.


We wanted to see the Kick Ass movie premiere, but we got there and the 
line was almost 2,000 people strong. After a while we were told the 
teather was at capacity so we had to leave. At least we got to see all 
of the starring actors in person at the red carpet.


Got some food, and headed back for the nightlife in downtown Austin. 
There are many, many places, all with their own unique charm. The 
location based services are great for finding the nearest hot spot and 
discovering new venues.


That’s about it. One day gone and still one week to go before it’s 
over. There are a couple neat panels tomorrow and some great events: 
This Week in Startups Live, Hubble 3D, Diggnation Live. I hope I can 
make it to all of them.


I’ll see when I can post again. Typed up all of this on my iPhone 
thanks to the lack of free Internet access at our suite.


And remember, if you’re here in Austin, follow me: @hectorramos