Much as I would have loved to have been there, the annual South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference/festival in Austin is proceeding without me. Via Twitter, I have been following reports from friends and colleagues who are lucky enough to be there.
A session that took place on Sunday afternoon (beware the Ides, and the Ideas, of March) apparently provoked strong reactions from those attending. Kirk Biglione offers an on-the-ground take that I really enjoyed reading. You can also try reading William Aicher’s piece, an able assessment of the shifting roles played by traditional publishers.
On a more general level, I wonder how much longer we are going to collectively sit through canned presentations that promote the speaker, the speaker’s brand or product and offer little or no chance to engage in the frank exchanges that make up the “storming” part of developing a new business model. We attend conferences (perhaps SXSW is the exception) at which the future is couched in terms that we can all live with.
I am afraid that I will have to plead guilty to (on occasion) simplifying, dumbing down and making nice in my presentations. Maybe that’s not doing the world any favors.
An edit: after posting links to work by Kirk Biglione and William Aicher, I had a chance to read Kassia Krozser’s work, as well. I admire (and envy) the clarity of her thinking and her voice.
And what I hope will be a final edit: Kevin Smokler offers a perspective.