notes on sxsw 2010

[“Texas”, which I sent out in the newsletter recently. You can buy the print here etc.]

Tomorrow I head for Austin, for the annual 5-day drunken orgy that is South By South West Interactive. Here are some thoughts:

1. SXSW is the only “MUST ATTEND” event on my calendar. It’s the one show I never miss, ever. Unless you’ve already been, it’s hard to convey JUST HOW MUCH more fun, interesting and full of business opportunities it is, compared to other shows. I can’t emphasize enough, if you’re into the Internet, just how much you’re missing out if choose not to attend. Sure, the price of going [entry fee, plane fare, hotel bill, taxi rides etc] might be quite daunting for some of us, but compared to the business and networking you could EASILY end up doing there, that cost is minuscule.

2. So you thought last year was crazy? Last year had ten thousand attendees. I heard on good authority from somebody inside the org that this year’s numbers have doubled. Hope you got a good hotel booking.

3. I’m on a panel on Monday. I hope you’ll come see us. All the other panelists are good friends of mine, so it should be fun…

4. I’ll be signing books. Barnes & Noble will have a little micro store on the fourth floor of the convention center, selling books written by some of the attendees. I’ll be there to sign copies of “Ignore Everybody” on Monday, March 15th at 5.20pm. My signing will last for 30 minutes.

5. Free Booze! Free Sex! A lot of companies sponsor parties, so as long as you have a pass, it’s pretty easy to go the entire five days without ever paying for a single drink or meal. Plus with all the young singles everywhere, everybody’s trying to get laid. X-thousand geek twenty-somthings trying to hook up en masse is pretty entertaining to watch. By Sunday or Monday everybody’s a basket case.Which is why the veterans are always telling the newbies, “Pace Yourself”.

6. Creating an island of calm in a sea of bodies. It’s going to be a madhouse this year, so to make ourselves easier to find,  gapingvoid has hired a trade show booth for the event. If you want to meet up, that’s where you can find me. I’ll be selling art, doing business, signing drawings and exchanging business cards. My focus this year will be much more about business, than my usual hallway wanderings.

7. I’m better organized, this time. Pretty much all the parties and events I’m planning to attend are already in my calendar. In past  years I just turned up and went with the flow. It was exhausting after about three days. Never again.

8. Follow me on Twitter if you want to see what I’m up to on the day. Heck, that’s what everybody else uses, too.

9. SXSW makes me proud to be Texan. I’ve seen this a lot: People come to Texas for the first time to attend SXSW, and “fall in love with the barbecue”. Texas has always been a very misunderstood State, if you ask me. SXSW does a great job of helping to fix that, at least with my crowd.


  1. Never been to Austin, much less SXSW. Maybe someday… I got pulled over in Dallas once. (Somewhere between Dallas and Texarkana, actually.) Lesson learned: never make eye contact with a Texas police officer.

  2. im looking forward to SXSW, i heard We Are Future Echo Records from Manchester, UK, are Sending 63 of their guys there, thats a lot!!!!!!!!!!!! SXSW 2010

  3. […] notes on sxsw 2010 | gapingvoid. 0 […]

  4. […] favorite piece comes from Hugh MacLeod: he’s honest when he says: A lot of companies sponsor parties, so as long as you have a pass, it’s pretty easy to go the […]

  5. […] by Hugh MacLeod, who calls it the annual 5-day drunken orgy (which he is attending, btw….) Posted Under : General Tags conferences sxsw ccevent drinking […]

  6. […] by Hugh MacLeod, who calls it the annual 5-day drunken orgy (which he is attending, […]

  7. Dear Hugh,

    I’ve been a fan for a while, you’ve had a great influence. But I have a bone to pick regarding “Texas has always been a very misunderstood State…”

    I lived in Austin, loved it, was in a band that was signed to a major during that time. Great food, great music, great fun. But to not tip your hat to W., nor the textbooks of Genesis, nor your seceding Gov. during a discussion of Texas having been “misunderstood” is… something.


  8. Hey Pete,

    Well, I cannot speak for the whole of the world, however, if you’re from NY, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Greece, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, South America… then I really think you’re in no position to gripe about Texas politics or politicians. Get your own houses in order then get back to me, Thanks. :)

  9. Ein Freund hat mir deinen Blog gerade empfohlen und dann hatte ich gedacht gucke ich doch einmal vorbei. Und ich muss sagen ich finde ihn sehr gut, ich glaube er koennte zu meinen Stamm Blogs dazu kommen bei denen ich regelmaeßigoft vorbei schaue.