The new SXSW Panel Picker is pretty snazzy. For those that don’t know, South by Southwest Interactive Week is essentially “geek spring break”—the biggest web conference of the year. Held in Austin, Texas, SXSW is simply huge. Last year was my first time.
SXSW likes to elicit the opinions of attendees when choosing who will speak on the tens of millions of panels that occur that week. They set up the panel picker to allow you to rate panel ideas (723 of them right now) from 0–5 (with “5″ going to a panel that you’d basically attend SXSW just to see).
I haven’t really picked panels before, but I’m doing it this year. I’m going the “honest” route—not just voting for buddies, but actually voting for topics I want to see. I have voted for 43 panels so far and I wanted to share some of those in case you want to support them as well (or in case I forgot some).
I gave four panels a “5″:
- How to Evolve Your Irrelevant Corporate Web Site: Kit Seeborg is chairing this. She chaired the Webvisions panel that basically triggered the transformation of my career. Another similarity between the two panels is the presence of Jeremiah Owyang. You know I’m a fan. Add Tara Hunt and Shel Israel and this one has huge name power. But it’s not about name power. I’m actively developing a corporate web site, a corporate blog, a support portal, user forum… I want to make all of this work together.
- Kick It Like Pele: Beautiful Touches for World Class Apps: Brian Oberkirch (man, yet another from that old Webvisions panel) heads up this one. With him will be Jeff Veen from Google. This panel will focus on the little touches that can make a web application truly unique and successful. Since I’m working on a web app… like, 24 hours a day… this is totally relevant. I need to keep an eye on the little touches that can delight the user.
- Self Replicating Awesomeness: The Marketing of No Marketing: Yeah, this one is going to be awesome. Oberkirch. Owyang. David Parmet (who was part of one of the highlights of last SXSW) and Deb Schultz. These people are among the top minds in modern marketing… or “un” marketing… or marketing 2.0… or—actually shutting the eff up and working with the gosh darn actual users to make your product better. I want to be a better person, so I’m going to this one.
- Interface Design & Development Behind the Scenes: Simplicity is beautiful. Garrett Dimon’s blog is proof. Sometimes I feel I’ve strayed a bit from actual design work at some of these conferences. It’ll be great to see someone who really does great work present a couple of case studies.
I have rated ten panels as 4s, including Social Design Strategies (Emily Chang), Wireframing in a Web 2.0 World (Richard Rutter and Mark Boulton), Using Color: From Black to White and Everything in Between (Veerle Pieters)—so I can start to let go of gray, Social Networking and Your Brand (Jina Bolton with Paul Boag & others), Designing Social Media: Interface Tricks and Tips (Christina Wodke), Building Portable Social Networks (Jeremy Keith), and Becoming a Web App Machine (Daniel Schutzsmith).
See any good ones I’m leaving out?