Art and Commerce and Beer Goggles: SXSW

SXSW 2011 logo

South By Southwest started as an annual celebration of the arts but has become a conference where a telecom VP and an artist-programmer can talk shop or make a deal over brisket and Shiner Bock.

Austin, Texas is battening down the hatches in preparation for the yearly onslaught that is the South By Southwest Everything Festival. The interlaced conferences cover Interactivity/Web, Music, and Movies and the streets are crawling with people who hardly ever speak to each other the rest of the year — developers, programmers, musicians, directors, and marketers. Or, at least that’s true unless they’re hyphenates: singer-songwriter, writer-director, musician-programmer, mogul-sycophant, etc.

This year we’re noticing that a lot of people that didn’t used to talk to each other are talking a lot more. South By Southwest follows the Game Developer Conference follows the Mobile World Congress and it’s as if a herd of fun-loving elephants are following a trail from Barcelona, to San Francisco, to Austin. Games are becoming more mobile and social networking is getting gamey. And in Austin,  through all the music and the bar-b-cues, and the movies, people are looking at each other wearing a new kind of beer goggles. Yeah, sadly enough, they’re coming home saying, wow, I never realized a VP of marketing from the phone company could be so cool. I hope she calls so we can make a deal.

Or, maybe that happens next year. The point is that when we talk about these spheres of influence, digital content creation, CAD graphics, rendering, visualization — there are increasing points of intersection.

The road goes on forever …