It’s about the people.

I’ve been on a South by South Break (harhar) but did want to take a moment to try to wrap up my experience from SXSW. I say try because truthfully, I’m still processing the information received, working to find ways to apply it to my field and also stay in touch with those I met. And that’s important. The connections made. The conversations had. It was great seeing the latest tech, hearing from experts on trends and learning new methods from others, but the most memorable thing is the people I met. Hearing the stories of others. While we waited in line for the keynote. When we bumped into each other lost, looking for the next session. As sophisticated as the technology gets – and it’s pretty darn slick, 3D printing, anyone? – we still yearn for human interaction. And that was evidenced so clearly at this interactive of all interactive festivals where strangers became friends and instead of trading business cards traded twitter handles.

The comradery was palpable. And I think Austin gets some of the credit. I’m proud of my city for being friendly and welcoming, inviting others to be the same. And the organizers do a great job of creating conversation around each session. Although it was my first year, I still felt connected. I had one of my new friends tell me how the last digital conference she went to had 5,000 attendees and she was overwhelmed. When I said last count I heard was 27,000 for SXSWi she couldn’t believe it. It just doesn’t feel like that. Which leads me to my biggest takeaway: It’s about the people. It’s the people creating the tech. It’s the people using the tech. It’s about the people. Smart, passionate people do great things. I liked rubbing shoulders with those people. I like thinking I’m one of those people. If you want to see more of the details of what I experienced at SXSW, check out my twitter or search #SXsxsw. In 361 total tweets at SXSW, I published my notes and got carpal tunnel. It was totally worth it.

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That’s me, third from the left. And I’m already looking forward to next year.

Originally published March 21, 2013, on sicolamartin.com

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