Welcome to SXSW 2012

As we mentioned in a previous post, we're attending and exhibiting at SXSW Interactive again this year. Four of us arrived in Austin on Friday including: Chad Jaggers, Support Director; Matt Sanders, Creative Director; Matt Grimm, Software Engineer and Designer; and myself, Tim Wall, Marketing Director.

Here's a typical view of the foyer of the Austin Convention Center. We took this from the level above. As you can see, there are lots of people here.

The big story thus far has been the rain. It has been raining in Austin since before we arrived here. As I am typing this, I am just seeing the clouds break up and rays of sunlight beginning to come through. That's a welcome sight.

Of course, this part of Texas desperately needs the rain so we can't complain too much. The only problem is that SXSW sessions take place in a number of buildings scattered across downtown Austin, so there is often a lot of outdoor walking involved. And, unfortunately, we only had one umbrella among the four of us. I had another umbrella, a nice big blue and white one I bought at Walmart before I left, but I conveniently left it in the registration room on day one and was unable to recover it. All this to say, we have gotten a little wet down here. In fact, here's a picture of Matt and Matt after walking to the convention center Saturday morning. I'm sorry the photo is a little blurry, but I just had to include it to illustrate all of this talk about the rain.

Matt (left) and Matt (right) after walking from the parking garage to the Convention Center in the rain.

Despite the rain, there are still plenty of good times to be had. Though we've been at SXSW for four consecutive years as an exhibitor, this is the first year we've actually been able to attend any of the sessions. In previous years, we've arrived just in time to set up and operate our booth. But this year, we came in early so we could be a part of the educational sessions SXSW has to offer.

There are hundreds of solo, dual, and panel-driven sessions on a wide-range of topics here at the Interactive Conference. From design and development to emerging technologies to PR to Journalism to Marketing and beyond. There truly is a lot to be learned here. Anyone involved in the Interactive space should be able to find sessions of interest to them.

One of my favorites so far has been an interview with Vic Gundotra, Senior VP Engineering for Google+ in a session devoted to talking about Google+. Now, I'm no Google+ devotee, but I do use it (did you know we actually have a LightCMS Google+ page?) and of course I'm interested in where the product is heading. Mr. Gundotra was a masterful presenter. If nothing else, I learned a lot about how to present your product in the best light possible. By the end of the session, my esteem for Google+ had increased at least ten times over due almost entirely to his performance.

We also took a break from the sessions to drive our little van into the giant exhibitor loading bay and roll our booth materials into the trade show area. We're in booth #605, which is a quaint little booth in a nice neighborhood with good visibility to the Northeast trade show entrance. We haven't met all of our neighbors yet but Red Laser is the big end cap on our aisle and directly across from us.

We're not finished setting up the booth just yet, but we'll post again soon with more pics of the booth and more details on the trade show portion of our trip. We're exited to be giving away three iPad 3s at the SXSW trade show so if you're here, be sure to come by for details on how you can win.

That's it for now. More details to come from Austin soon.