April 4th, 2010 | Activities, Culture, Escapes, Nightlife

I was fortunate to have a chance to go to Texas not once, but twice in the past several weeks. The first trip was to Houston, which was a nice city, but seemed like it was mostly parking structures and freeways. It actually reminded me a lot of Orange County, CA, except lots of accents. I did have some epic BBQ that filled a major gap in my diet. Other than that, it was a lot of working during the day and taking advantage of the hotel bar at night :)

The second trip I took was to Austin for SXSW 2010. South by Southwest is an interactive festival that all dorks in my line of work drool over every year. For me, it was not only a good chance to fulfill a geeky fantasy, but a needed trip to meet my longtime online buddy, Greg! I’ve known Greg for about 10 years in only online and telephone capacities. He is planning on moving back to his homeland Germany in May, so it was key for me to get my ass out to see him before the trip costs would go up exponentially.

So with that, I set off to Austin on my own funds and with hopes to learn lots, party lots, and meet some cool people.

The sessions during the day were really all over the map, to be honest. Some sessions were fantastic, inspirational, and taught me far more than reading a blog post ever could. Other sessions were a thinly veiled sales pitch and were deemed utterly worthless. Wow, that sounds harsh! But, more than most of the talks were quality and the ones that were good could have alone made the trip worthwhile.

Aside from the fact that at any point during the day you could drop into a lounge and load up on free drinks, the parties at night were quite memorable. I’ve never been anywhere that featured bars that were sponsored and all drinks were paid for by the sponsoring company. Greg and I did pay for a few drinks over the course of the weekend, but that was basically cause I wanted to see some non-dorkdom Austin. One night I was so lucky to be able to even meet Leo LaPorte!

Meeting Cool People
There were 1600 attendees for SXSW Interactive and I was happy to be able to meet a few of them. Now that I think of it, I ought to email some of them… But of course, it was great to meet Greg in person finally. He was very considerate to let me crash at his place with his family for a few days and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Here are some pics with more to come in separate posts:

Downtown Austin from the Convention Center balcony.

One of the early parties on one of the days

A night party overlooking the city

The Microsoft Taco Truck!

Me standing outside the Frog Design party

Greg standing outside the Frog Design party

Inside the Frog party… it was this huge outdoor cultural center and a great night

This is 6th street, where all the kiddies that go to UT hang out

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