SXSW Closing Thoughts

by Troy Grosfield
March 17th, 2011

With this being my first conference, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  As the week progressed I was overly impressed with how the conference was setup and run and very impressed with the people in attendance.

Keynote Speakers



All keynote speakers were not just big names, but very good, intelligent presenters.  I enjoyed almost all of the keynotes and took away something new from each speaker.  All the main keynotes were in a very large ballroom with comfortable chairs so you never felt too cramped even when the room was packed.


The sessions overall were very good.  Some obviously better than others and doing your research is a must ahead of time.  A few presentations had misleading titles which would suck you in then you’d be disappointed with the actual content of the session.  However, there were only a few like this.  The vast majority of presenters were very well spoken and very intelligent.


It was great to be able to network with some of the best in the business.  One of the more notable being Kellan Elliott-McCrea, the VP of engineering for Etsy.  Kellan, Etsy, and company gave a presentation at Venue 222.  They explained their corporate culture and gave insight to their development process.

We ended up running into Kellan the next day eating lunch and chatted more in depth about their processes.  It was quite influential and hopefully we can implement some of these similar development processes at Cerner.

Social Media

I’m impressed with social media usage.  At the beginning of the conference we met some other SXSW goers that told us about the awesome app Beluga.  You create pods that users can pull other people into.  It’s an awesome app that acts like a mix of twitter and mass text messaging.  However, it doesn’t use SMS.  This allows our group to get updates on sessions to attend, dinner plans, events around us, etc.  Conferences move at a fast pace and this allowed us to easily stay connected.

Twitter updates everywhere.  It works as your online business card and a way for people to follow and interact with you.


Impressed with the diverse music selection.  All song playing between sessions or keynotes are pretty unique and upbeat.  Was great not to have soft elevator music that bored you to tears!




The parties were amazing!  Many companies rented out different venues around town and promoted themselves by throwing a fun gathering where most went until the wee hours of the morning.  This also created a great environment to continue networking in a relaxed, chill environment.

The City of Austin

Austin was an incredible venue for hosting this conference.  The city is large and spread out giving a solid mix of the big city feel without being too cramped.  Almost everything was in walking distance from the Austin convention center which made transportation easy.

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