Takeaways from The Big Internet Gathering

In March I woke up before the sun and left Dulles Airport to make my way to Austin, TX for South by Southwest Interactive. Having not been to the fabled SXSW before, I was pretty excited. I had heard a lot about what SXSW was supposed to be, what was supposed to be awesome, what would suck, events that would be good and others that would disappoint.

I found the panels to be less than what I was generally expecting. I know that recently coming from DrupalCon, where they were extremely informative, that it’s likely not a fair comparison. Generally I found that once things were open for questions it was no longer interesting to anyone except those asking questions. Worse was sometimes when one audience member would outright dominate the questions and the moderators didn’t do a good enough job giving others a fair turn.

Not all fell flat though. Security for the Social Set was a discussion of all of the attendees facilitated by Ed Finker. It was refreshing to share and listen to ideas from others instead of 3-5 “experts” who doesn’t always know it all like panel members can come across. The Ultimate Showdown of CMS Destiny was great, too. It wasn’t a lot of new information but it was great to see the EchoDitto weapon of choice Drupal win over Joomla! and WordPress. In fact, Idealware recently compared the major open-source content management systems and Drupal came away very highly there as well. Back to SXSW, Gary Vaynerchuk’s session was great; it’s refreshing to see someone so passionate about doing whatever it takes to succeed (as long as he doesn’t annoy you). Oh, I was able to help figure out how to make money on the Internet.

Despite the ups and downs of the weekend, I had a blast and anyone should spring on the chance to go if they have the opportunity. You’ll get to meet great people, eat amazing food, and use Twitter until your brain hurts.

This post originally featured on the EchoDitto blog.