Another fantastic year. I know it seems silly; a giant mess of geeks running around tweeting and instagramming, but it’s surprisingly fun. Everyone is there to socialize and chat about the latest apps, techniques, and strategies.
This year I was lucky to score a room in the Sheraton, a mere seven blocks from the convention center. It was about the same distance as my Airbnb house last year, but the Sheraton did not require feeding a dozen chickens and a couple cats.
My roommates included pal extraordinaire ljharb, Matisyahu’s latest agent, and a Salesforce salesman. I thought four in a room would be tough, but it turned out fine. We were only in the room between 2am (or 5am for that one particularly unusual night involving the above photo) and 10am anyway.
The parties were great of course including live music (I discovered The Cults!), free drinks, and appetizers galore. For me the best party award goes to Dave Morin and Path. Nonstop sushi, a sake bomb station, and Rahzel performing. It was a great night.
However, this was a conference which means sessions and discussions all day every day (if you take it seriously like myself). I focused on keynote talks and design sessions. Keynotes included Ray Kurzweil (weird but intriguing), Biz Stone (eloquent and insightful), Sean Parker (well-dressed), Al Gore (very entertaining), and Amber Case (shaping the future of location data). Sadly, I missed Kevin Systrom.
The sessions were hit and miss as usual with conferences. To summarize: Google employees were ready with slides and insightful discussions. Facebook employees should be embarrassed. I understand being unprepared, but at least have something interesting to say! Don’t sit up there and say “I’m fucking surprised to be up here!” Weak, dude. Weak.
My favorite spot in downtown Austin continues to be the Driskill Hotel. I suppose I gravitate towards niceties when I’m constantly forced to eat out of crappy food trucks. I managed to get one good meal in their cafe.
That leads me to suggestions for next year.
That’s it. Can’t wait for 2013.