It's that time of year, when the global digerati invade Austin (much to the dismay of some) for the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference (SxSW).

Much has been made in the last few years that the conference has jumped the shark, but the way I see it you get out of the conference (or any conference) what you put into it.


With that, I've scoured the scheduling tool on their web site, have RSVPd to the events that seem fun, and have connected privately with friends and strangers I look forward to connecting with while I'm there.

With my departure 48 hours away, I was thinking about what I'm most looking forward to and expecting ...

We're all adults here.  It's no secret that the parties are a big part of the conference experience. But those who have never been to SxSW can't really appreciate the truth in the cliche that the most meaningful interactions happen at social events.  It's where you meet colleagues from other offices, people you only "know" online, potential new hires, new business leads, exciting startups, partners, etc.. Laugh if you will, but it's just true.  Particularly looking forward to seeing folks like Virginia, David, Josh and others of their ilk.

Every year themes emerge. It's hard to explain, but it's like one or two things happen that everyone talks about at and after the conference.  Looking at the panels I've chosen to attend (n=1), here are some of those themes we'll be talking about for months to come (most are not new, actually):

  • Game design and gamification (and particularly how they apply to marketing and product development) 
  • Social video (how to do it well, how to get it seen)
  • Behavioral science (understanding how the brain works so that we can communicate more effectively)
  • Mobile (no-brainer)
  • "Hacking" and the Maker movement (creating real life experiences fueled by technology)
  • Social overload (is social too much? are we inundating? inundated?)
  • Storytelling (another no-brainer)
  • Big data (how to harness and use it effectively)

And while the points above are speculative, there's one thing I know for certain. Come Monday afternoon I'll be very much looking forward to getting home to my kids.

Will share my learnings. And if you want to connect please DM me.  I'm @iansohn.