Bear with me while I gush about my experience attending SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas this past week. This post is mostly for me, to preserve this feeling of total gratitude and expanded possibilities.
SXSW Gratitude Video
(Click here if you can’t see this video.)
SXSW Is All About The People
Before I went to SXSW, I knew that it was going to be all about meeting my cool online friends in person. I also thought the panels might be interesting.
Some panels were definitely great, but I want to reiterate that meeting people was by far the best part of my SXSW experience!
Here’s a quick rundown (in no particular order) and a big THANK YOU to all the amazing folks I met up with at the conference. If I didn’t get a chance to meet you, please comment and we’ll make plans for next year. :)
Commence Major Geeking Out
Photo by Maya
We shared some laughs with Sonia Simone about getting to know people online, and I admired her pink hair in person. :)
Deb Ng and I bonded over stories of Chinese relatives-in-law. I thought I was the only one with funny Chinese related stories!
I got to meet and hang out with copywriting masters like Brian Clark, Taylor Lindstrom, and Kelly Parkinson. Their knowledge of copywriting and online business is incredible, and getting to know them personally was even more awesome.
We grabbed a green juice with Nora at The Daily Juice, and talked online business with a touch of law of attraction, and lots of raw chocolate – yum!
Photo by Maya
Hung out in the bloggers lounge and met with Muhammad Saleem, Darren Rowse, and Aliza Sherman. I had a nice chat with Jonathan Fields and love what he’s up to! The caliber of these folks still blows me away!
On my way to Austin I had a layover in New York and I sat 2 rows away from Sarah Cooley. I recognized her from Twitter and mustered up the courage to pass her a note, then we got to sit down together and have a heart to heart.
In the “How Not to Be a Douchebag at SXSW” panel I met Violet Blue (NSFW), and laughed at her jokes. Then nodded at her growing concerns as a famous blogger.
At Chris Guillebeau‘s meetup I met Eileen and her husband, and it was awesome to hear about her background. There’s only so much you can learn from someone through their online presence, but one thing is for sure – they are both so awesome in person!
I got to hang out with the super smart Ali Hale, who just rocked my world with her devilishly cute British accent. Now I know why I like her so much. :)
Another great person that I finally got to meet in real life is Charlie Gilkey and his wife Angela. This man is so authentic and bright, it was just awesome to get to know him. Next year, more conversation time!
In the bloggers lounge I also met my dear friend Maya! It was a coincidence that we tweeted each other about being on the 4th floor of the ACC, and it was great to hug in real life!
Saturday night I was so stoked to meet Chris Guillebeau, who as it turns out is also even more amazing in real life. He is so generous with his time and advice, and I’m so happy we got to connect. Really looking forward to his book tour now. :)
Coincidence had it that I was able to catch Elizabeth Potts Weinstein for lunch. We chatted about business managers and our time belly dancing with pitas.
Belly Dancing at SXSW
Jennifer Haubein, Danielle Miller, ElizabethPW, Martha Chinnock, Nathalie Lussier, LuAnn Glowacz, Reese, Liz Philips, Sarah Robinson
Some of us ladies of SXSW got together to take an awesome belly dancing class! It was a new type of female bonding experience that took us all away from our iPhones and texting devices. Not to mention that it was a great work out and really fun to be dancing like this!
Speaking of dancing, I got to watch Carl Nelson in action at the New Orleans party. Definitely look him up if you want to up your dance skills!
Kyeli and Pace Smith – Freak Revolutionaries
One reason why SXSW was so incredible was thanks to these two lovely ladies: Kyeli and Pace Smith! They let me sleep on their comfy couch and hang out with their three adorable cats. They also taught me the meaning of the word barnacle, along with a few other funny words. ;)
We had some of the best conversations between midnight and 3am, and I am super duper grateful for the honor of meeting them in person and getting to hang out!
And the fun continues…
On my second night in Austin, I got to be present for the Maple Syrup inside joke that took place between Jeff Moriarty and Melle! The price of my flight was worth it just for being able to see Pace Smith laugh so hard.
I got to hang out with Johnny B. Truant, and hear his new droid phone make funny noises. Oh, and his business cards made the rounds and totally made him even more famous than he already was. Rock on.
Speaking of rocking, we played Rock Band until two or three in the morning one night. Most fun I’ve had playing video games since I was a teenager! I now understand why The Beatles got so popular. “It’s about charity!”
The night before I left we held a birthday party for Cath Duncan and Kyeli! We scared the living daylights out of poor Cath by pretending we left and then jumped out screaming “Surprise!”. Happy birthday my dears!
I got to connect with Andy Hayes, whose accent is very misleading by the way. It was great getting to know him and talking business, travel, and life!
It was great meeting Tzaddi Gordon, a fellow Canadian, and talking about web design. It was so cool to meet her because I had seen her site before and really admired the designs she had!
I finally met Karl Staib of Work Happy Now, and it was great talking about business and life together. His sincerity and joy-of-life really shines through!
I finally got to meet Martin Whitmore (the man responsible for my awesome witchy logo) in person! This guy has such a fun personality, and we took full advantage of the Bing photobooth.
You can read about his adventures wearing a kilt here too. Oh, and yes I did escape without getting eaten, or turned into a zombie of any kind. I’m a witch after all!
It was fun talking to Robert Dempsey about our businesses, and what it’s like being a multi passionate entrepreneur.
I also had the pleasure of meeting and hugging the super sweet Adam Baker. I’m really impressed with all he’s done for himself online and it was great meeting him in person!
Brunch with Colleen Wainwright revealed more awesomeness about the lovely Communicatrix. Also I learned about a new non-martial martial-art called Nei Kung. Sweet stuff!
During the Freak Revolution meetup I got to hang out with the ever lovely Lynnivere. It was great to connect with her in person and hear her raw food journey story.
That’s also where I met Chris and Cherie from Technomadia. I was pleasantly surprised to see their trek across America and I invited them to come visit me in Toronto! :)
More Awesome People…
Naomi Dunford – Photo by Maya
Kelly Kingman was a total sweetheart and pleasure to hang out with. She also let us have parties at the swankiest pad ever, and we got down to the nitty gritty of online business together!
Another New Yorker I had the coincidental pleasure of meeting is John Keefe. It was fun talking about specialists vs. generalists and I’m eager to see what he is up to!
It was also really awesome to meet Andrea Ramirez and her husband Mark. Andrea and I really connected because of our shared passion for health and online biz, woohoo!
I also met Michelle and her husband Matt. Her sense of style is definitely wicked and I loved trying to anticipate what color her hair would be the next time I met her! We talked comics, biz, and blogging, woohoo!
The same night I first hung out with Michelle and the gang, we visited the Marble Cows. We also got to hang out with Steve Spalding and Nathan. Everyone was running low on sleep, so we came up with some hilarious book titles!
Talk About a Whirlwind Experience
I’m sorry if I missed you at SXSW, or if I met you but forgot to include you in this post. Leave a comment or tweet me and I’ll rectify that immediately. :) I blame lack of sleep and too much awesomeness for that.
So what did I learn at SXSW? That life is short and there are too many awesome people to meet. Also, that writing this post is a great way for me to not-forget everything as I move my business and blog forward!
Big hugs everyone!