SXSW By Northwest 31 Left

SOMEWHERE OVER AMERICA -- I’ve been covering trade shows for more than 30-years, but this is my first covering the one taking place in Austin this week. I know that may sound boring, right? A “trade journalist” covering “trade shows,” but when you consider what our trade is -- media -- then I’m really covering something that is a proxy for much of what human beings think, feel and do something about. It’s also become one of the main accelerants for human innovation, and this week’s show in Austin -- SXSWi -- is one of the most accelerating. It’s also already a bit overwhelming. The impossible torrent of invitations to parties, events, meetings, meet-ups and, of course, barbecue, blurred to noise long before I boarded JetBlue 1995 from JFK via the only working runway this morning, “Northwest 31 Left,” according to our pilot, with head-wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour.

While taxiing on the runway I decided to do the full tilt SXSWi experience and downloaded the event’s mobile app. While it loaded, I asked the SXSW veteran attendee sitting next to me if she ever used it. She nodded, offering, “It’s iffy.”

I asked her how so, and she explained. “It crashes a lot. It’s not a very good user experience.”

I’ll concede I am not much of a power app user, and never actually used one to navigate an event -- not the Cannes Lions, not CES, nothing -- so this will be a new user’s experience.

My first observation is it wasn’t buggy at all, but was even more overwhelming that the pre-event invitation stream I’ve been battling in the weeks leading up to this. The number of events loading on the mobile app are too many to consider, much less actually attend and experience in person. A few caught my eye quickly, so I bookmarked and added them to my basket. (Picture)...

Meanwhile, JB 1995 is already taking on a SXSW feel, and I’m guessing the vast majority of passengers are headed for the trade show and are already networking in the aisles. That’s it for now. Will update you in a bit. Freel free to comment, suggest things you’d like to know more about. If you’re an ANA member, sign up for the live webinar I’ll be doing March 25th debriefing ad execs on highlights from SXSW. But you’ll probably read about the important ones here first.

(Posted in-flight).
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