SXSW Day One Delivers...Everything
Day one at SXSW in Austin delivered on all expected fronts. Throngs of people descended upon the Austin Convention Center to pick up their badge and attend sessions which began at 2PM. But before sessions began, there was much mingling and plenty to do thanks to brand like Pepsi which set up an entire "playground" area called the Pepsi Max Lot adjacent to the convention center. There attendees could check out bands on a stage, play foursquare (the real kind), drink tons of Pepsi product. enjoy the sun on couches and generally mingle with friends.
Sony took over an entire bar and converted it into Playstation Central. CNN took over an entire restaurant even replacing the restaurant's sign with a fully branded one of their own. And Fast Company took over the Moonshine restaurant and served up a delicious lunch to those lucky enough to have been invited.
Inside the convention center, the Samsung-sponsored TechSet lounge was a happening place for bloggers who were treated to a live performance by He is We, given the chance to play games, drink and eat and hang with their fellow blog mates.
We had planned to attend a session called Do Agencies Need to Start Thinking Like Software Companies? but the room was packed with a 200 foot line out the door. Yes. A line to get into a panel at a conference. Hey, this ain't your average conference. This is SXSW. Inside the room were Barbarian Group's Rick Web, Google's Allison Mooney and Ben Malboun, SimpleGeo's Matt Galligan and Tribal DDB's Rob Rasmussen. No doubt, the conversation centered on exactly what we said yesterday. That it's time for agencies to get away from relying on the big creative idea and start to focus on technologies that allow for the interaction and connection with consumers social media has provided. As they over-crowded session and line outside would suggest, people, it seems, are beginning to understand this shift.
Around 4PM in the afternoon, it was time for a walk over to a Nokia and Microsoft sponsored event which was more film than interactive but who can pass up a chance to hang with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan who were on hand to promote their upcoming movie, Source Code. We've got all kinds of beauty shots of the two stars who were gracious enough to speak with us mere humans for a bit.
Following that celebu-fest, it was off to a few more parties including the Ignite social media party, the always fun TechSet party where the amazing iPad DJ Rana Sobhany performed and the Edelman party at the W. Oh and let's not for get the PathCrosser launch party at the Scoot Inn.
Yes, SXSW is a busy event. It's impossible to keep up with everything but we do our best. Perhaps we'll have better luck actually making it into a panel today.
With a little Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan thrown in for good measure.