SXSWi: the year of the battery
The StartupBus rolled into Austin on the 9th, the first day of Interactive. It was my first SXSW experience and when I rolled into the city, I instantly realized to what degree the tech community had taken over Austin. It was a marketer’s dream – a demographic of mostly middle class and wealthy early adopters all densely congregated for the sake of tech, nonconsensual networking, and 5 days of partying. It was their time to shine – branded blimps, food trucks, iPhone charging stations, and an infinite supply of American Apparel t-shirts.
Each year, there seems to be a new location-based app to facilitate networking with the thousands of SXSW attendees. This year, it would be an understatement to say that there was hype around the Highlight app. It’s a lot like Sonar, locating people in the vicinity with 2nd degrees connections or mutual Facebook interests. Needless to say, the general consensus was that it was a big fail, a channel for nonconsensual networking and creepy encounters. Whether it was Highlight, Glancee, or even Sonar, all of these apps caused enormous battery problems for everyone. Even with charging stations in the convention center, Mophies, and human chargers, re-charging affected everyone’s schedule.
Is this a sign that devices need better battery life or that we need to put down our phones and actually enjoy SXSW? It’s a little of both. I’m guilty of being glued to my phone but SXSW would be far more productive and enjoyable if we all gave our phones and iPads a bit of a rest next year.