SXSW Noteworthy Populations

SXSW: Half Time

Halfway through any trip, it’s time to go home. Vegas, Europe, or SXSW… after two solid days of different, I’m ready to get the hell out.

This is not a rational state of mind, it’s a subconscious self preservation mental switch that you brain flips after 48 hours of totally new content. Your brain is tired of processing people, places, and things so it says, “You. Home. Less processing.”

Panel is over. Went famously. SXSW has a Green Room where each panel is given a table for pre-game before the event. It was at this table that the panelists, myself, Joel Spolsky, Ev Williams, Cabel Sasser, and Joshua Schachter sat together for the first time.

I had ten minute intro presentation that I’d be fretting over for the past few weeks, but after ten minutes at the Green Room table, I knew the thing the audience was going to remember were the panelists. Not the intro. Whew.

Topics covered, off the top of my head, and not complete:

  • Why three out of the four gentlemen turned Google acquisition offers down
  • How to hire engineers
  • Types of engineering perks that work
  • Weblogs and their relation to shipping products
  • Why take VC money? (Ev, Joshua = Yes. Cabel, Joel = No)

There’s more, I’m sure, but it’s a blur. Too much processing.

[Update]: And, yes, I am having fun. It’s a mentally high-bandwidth situation when you’re sitting at table full of Type-A engineers and creative types. This has drained me.

The noteworthy population at SXSW are bright folks who are coming out of visual design, web design, or other creative professions and are considering a move into software development.


First, no, you don’t have to go college to be a programmer. Second, no, if you’ve never ever programmed, you’re not going to be able to pick-up Ruby on Rails without a serious investment… I know it’s Whizzing up the Bang in terms of approachability, but you’re still going to need to make some leaps if you want to start coding.

Three college classes that were essential for me to start programming: 1 C programming class, a data structures class, and, oooh, I don’t know… A hardware architecture class… I still think it matters to know how the plumbing works.

The noteworthy meme is “Should I or should I not take VC cash?” Spolsky did a fine job explaining why you should not take money and I’ll will butcher his explanation thusly, “VCs have a different agenda than you”. Translation: “Don’t take money from people who don’t want to do the same thing as you.”

Both Panic and Fogcreek are self-funded affairs. The question is, “Before you had a product, how did you eat?” Jason Fried’s fine keynote explained, “Do your start-up on the side”, but I’d have difficulty with that since I’m the type that fully needs to soak in what I’m building. Multi-tasking between my Real Job and the Next Great Thing would mean I’d be doing two things poorly rather than one thing well.

Also: The Social Customer Manifesto was paying attention.

And this fellow, too.

And Rocketboom leads with two clips from the panel…