March 17th, 2011
The question going into SxSW was, “What will the breakout app be?”
And the conventional wisdom was that it would be one of the group messaging clients. Conventional wisdom was wrong. It was Airbnb. Airbnb was everywhere at SxSW this year. But quietly. And they were killing it.
As someone who is learning the ins and outs of building a marketplace I can appreciate how well they’re doing it (and tried and failed to track down Brian for a margarita at SxSW). Meanwhile my friends who do iOS development are impressed by how well done the app is. But mostly I just fell in love with the design of their gift card packaging.
More importantly it let the underground SxSW survive another year. The official show was so ridiculously huge, the hotels blocked out and booked so extensively in advance, that the community that made SxSW important and has been thriving in the badgeless favela, wouldn’t have found places to stay without Airbnb. (thanks to Buzz for helping me refine that insight)
Always interesting to see how fast these things converge when they start to converge. When a standardized creation myth starts to emerge you’re observing a trajectory which is starting to steepen sharply upward. These two interesting posts by Fred Wilson and Paul Graham capture two of my favorite pieces or the Airbnb story: the breakfast cereal hustle, and the hitting the street commitment to knowing their users.
March 14th, 2009
Las Manitas was one of my favorite things about Austin. I miss it. I took a photo of the empty lot that used to be my favorite breakfast spot in the whole world.
The Flickr nearby page is one of the best memorial to it I’ve seen.
March 2nd, 2008
I’m heading out for a whirlwind tour of points ever so slightly south. I’ll be in San Diego for ETech, arriving Monday March 3rd (gulp, thats tomorrow) and leaving Thursday for Austin for SxSW, where I’ll be through next Tuesday night. (despite promises to myself, this is not the year I do the interactive+music marathon, I’m realistic, I’ve watched co-workers train all year, not an undertaking for amateurs)
I’m super excited by ETech this year for the first time in recent memory, all the things I want to talk about are on the schedule: large datasets, cheap customizable hardware, social networks, and the environmental, political, and social implications there of.
I haven’t even looked at the schedule for Austin yet, but I’m pumped to see both Heather and Simon talk about lessons learned from trying to internationalize a site like Flickr, (Mon 10am, and Tue 5pm respectively) and Paul and George (along with MattB, and SimonW) talk about working on interdisciplinary teams (Tue 3pm). And Andy’s ensemble “Worst Website Ever” stand up routine looks not to be missed.
What are you going to see?
I’m also looking forward to:
- having some quiet time this week to work with Rabble and finally release the iCalico source, though it looks like I’m going to first learn git to do it
- making a little progress catching up on a serious backlog of writing.
- seeing friends, especially those who’ve recently been opting out of the grind of Silicon Valley jobs/San Francisco geek party scene.
- continue conversations I’ve been having with folks about privacy and social expectation, large datasets and inference, , open data, and of course OAuth.
March 13th, 2006
Heard muttered in the standing room only crowd after Jason Fried’s keynote, “I’m working on my new keynote, its called ‘Eat When You’re Hungry, Sleep When You’re Tired'”.
HJ: “Do you love the Internet?”
EF: “I love the Internet, but it still has to go home in the morning.”
Aaron Boodman on why web developers don’t care about “making it work in Win/IE.”
“It’s hurt us enough, and we want to hurt it back.”
“Live blogging SxSW is rather besides the point.”
“This is what life should always be like!” (ambiguous in context, either in reference to the wall to wall, don’t stop partying with 3000 of your closest friends, or on the prevalence of dodgeball to organize much of it)
March 12th, 2006
Microphones need visual feedback on whether the speaker is speaking into them. At conferences you’re dealing with amateur speakers, and they seem to have no problem greater then that of speaking into the mike. A little bar, a light that goes on and off, something ambient and subtle.
March 10th, 2006
With everything going on right now I was going to take a pass on Austin this year, even though I’ve been tightly clutching my tickets and counting days since last Fall.
Jasmine however is wonderful, and set me straight, and I’m arriving tomorrow morning, perhaps a little discombobulated, and worse for the wear, but excited. See you there! (now I just need to deal with the fact that I already refunded my plane ticket, and hotel res., and I’m out of clean socks)
All of which brings me to the question, what the hell is up with the 5pm timeslot on Saturday. Who thought it was a good idea to have Kathy Sierra, danah boyd, and Tantek Celik cross scheduled. Bah.
February 7th, 2006
So this year I’m finally going to make it to SxSW (Interactive). I’ve been meaning to go for years, but I’ve always been busy, out of the country, or going to ETech.
So does anyone have advice on where to say, where to go, who to meet up with? Anyone looking for a roomie?