Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Where did all these people come from?

If there's one recurrent theme to SXSW 2006, it would be who the hell are all these people? The last time I was here, in 2003, there was a lot of hand-wringing about whether or not SXSW would survive. Now the halls are clogged with people, many of the panels are standing-room-only, and there are a ton of interesting new faces here. Apparently this wasn't a slow growth over the two years I missed; most of my friends are looking around wide-eyed and exclaiming at the crowd.

There's also a ton of new sponsors bouncing around with a bunch of freebies and swag, from the giant Adobe logo on the side of the SXSW goodie bag to the free Clif bars making the rounds (which, actually, are really pretty good – try the chocolate brownie ones).

One downside, though, is a shortage of really cool panels. I know it's the direct result of the constant bombardment of cool ideas that MIT levels at your head, but most of the panels I've attended so far are pretty dull. There was a keynote earlier today by Jason Kottke and Heather Armstrong that boiled down to the old, old litany of "people are saying mean things about my dog!" nonsense.

That said, there have been a few really kick-ass panels, like the Interactive/Film keynote today with Henry Rollins. That was amazing, and I grabbed some fantastic photos I'll post to my Flickr account later. This was followed by Adam Greenfield's Everyware talk which was the kind of intellectual a-ha crackle that I remembered from SXSWes years ago (I did grab a copy of his book a few minutes ago at the bookstore and had him sign it) and now I'm sitting in a panel with Jason Santa Maria, Shaun Inman and others as a "Design Eye for the List Guy" kind of thing, wherein their team redesigned Plazes, a location-based site that I enjoyed tinkering with last year, but I haven't touched in a long time. This is very, very cool.

More notes as the days go on...

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