#SXSW, the world's longest street party celebrating interactive, film and music is now over. The crowds are gone as people wend their way to the airport and we can once again drive downtown.
So what have we learned from our total immersion in the creative experience of #SX and, are there corollaries for life?
- Nice Works. Guests around the world constantly remark how polite we are. Everyone I met seemed to be either from LA (although no one is really “from” LA) or NYC or the EU and yes we are polite. We do say please and thank you. Its not an act. Why? We're from here, and this is the South. Besides, it makes life richer and is just good karma.
- Patience is Cool. Related to the first point, if you add 50,000 people to town without growing the size of the town there are going to be stresses. Be patient (or don't participate). Some locals avoid SX not being able to deal with the crowds and demands: that's okay. Know what you're getting into and it can be a lot of fun and terribly interesting. But not fast.
- Planning is a Myth. Newbies learn immediately that they are no match for the energy and intensity of #SX. The panels, parties, places and people are so overwhelming you'll be on an adrenaline high the moment you hit town. Go with it but remember adrenaline doesn't last forever and you shouldn't want it to. Take a break every now and be okay with it if your plan has to change.
- Infrastructure Matters. Our town is small, as is the taxi fleet, bus service and almost non-existent rail coverage. Hell: its hard for us to get around much less thousands of visitors. This constraint is “charming” only so long. Emerging cities take note: it really matters that you have power and transportation systems to build on. Systems scale.
- Creativity Knows No Limit. You can't judge a book, or anything else by its cover. More than anything else the feeling I have after interacting with new friends over the past two weeks is that creativity is pandemic, vibrant and growing. The pure concentration of ideas and energy at #SX leaves me feeling very positive for the future. With so many smart creative types, I know our world will get better and better.
- We're still Weird. This is Austin, the home of be yourself. We welcome those who march to the beat of their own drum. Wether its appearance (tats, piercings, clothes), politics, religion or philosophy, we have a community here that celebrates that diversity and breadth of interest. This means you will assuredly come face to face with people you may not understand or even like. But if you want an open society, everyone has to be welcome, not just people like you.
So thank you very much for coming to visit and learn with us. We hope you had a good time!
And for those of you who are now calling your real estate agent to facilitate a move to Waterloo (Austin's orginal name) you might want to visit us in August before you commit. Did I mention it gets hot down here?