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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977


SxSW 2006 Day 3

Sunday, aside from the aftermath of a fun Saturday night which caused me to miss the first two panels (whoops), started out with Dave, Cameron, Kelly and Brian‘s Demystifying the Mobile Web (personal points of interest include: there are approximately 200 different mobile units shipping in the US market alone; over 40 different browser types/versions; mobile versions of XHTML/CSS have a decent amount of support).

I’m starting to set the media type to “screen” when linking external stylesheets, so that even if clients don’t have the budget (or simply aren’t interested) for developing a customized mobile version of their site, that content will still be available. I use my Treo daily to access many sources of information online (including Backpack, which I use so often I might just go blind…), and the experience is far better than on my previous phone, but I’m still not convinced that it’s worth putting much time into making specific mobile versions of most sites or applications while the majority of the available mobile browsers don’t allow for an enjoyable user experience.

Next up was Running Your New Media Business, with Bryan from Adaptive Path, Evan of Odeo, Jeff, Jennifer and Erika. This is an area where I could use a bit of help, since I’ve never considered myself much of a businessperson (and I get the impression that many designers are in the same boat). The best thing about this discussion was realizing that I’m not the only one — even Adaptive Path seems to have had its share of hiccups, and the running theme seems to be the same as it is with anything else in life: plan on making mistakes, just learn from them and don’t repeat them. Highlights included advice on forming partnerships (make sure you have the tough discussions about each individual’s stake in the company, and what will happen when partners leave); how to deal with clients who don’t pay on time (note: check contracts/agreements to make sure work stoppage is covered under payment terms); taking the repercussions of late payment out of your hands by putting things on paper (make it an accounting issue, not a personal or project-releated issue); and think very carefully before accepting projects from clients who can afford to give you a hard time about billing (usually large companies).

I passed within 1 foot of Arrested Development‘s David Cross. Personal observation: he’s short.

The next panel was and is my favorite of SxSW: Holistic Web Design. Not only did Stan, Eris, Garrett, Carl and Shaun present a wonderful redesign (realignment?) of Plazes (a service I didn’t know about prior to the panel, but which I’ll actually use if they incorporate the team’s vast improvements), but they had the tightest, most organized overall presentation of any panel I saw the entire week (am I giving away too much before I post my wrap-up of Days 4 and 5? You’ll just have to read them all…). Their goal was to show the level of cooperation and interaction within a multidisciplinary team operating across multiple time zones (5 team members, 4 time zones), and the best part was that they each had a thorough understanding of the other parts of the whole, and showed that by first explaining their specific role within the project, and then one by one discussing the specific decisions made that resulted in the final product. And I’m not just saying this because I know everyone on the panel (hey, Stan barely said a word to me all week — he probably thinks he just imagined meeting me… ;)

After a quick snack at the Hilton’s sudo-Starbucks, I headed upstairs for the Web Awards, which (among other things), made me realize I’m an idiot for never entering any of my projects in the past (or this year for that matter). Tsk tsk. That aside, the free drink upon entry was a nice touch, and I walked in to find the 9rules table lacking a certain je ne sais quoi (Scrivs was in his hotel room, preparing to die), so I decided it was only right for another Florida boy to take his place at the table (and to their credit, Mike and Matthew didn’t object). This also gave me the chance to finally meet James of Forty Media, who was nice enough to make space at the table for me (and move a chair over — cheers James!).

The evening was light enough, though Laura Swisher isn’t the most entertaining emcee (note to self: contact The Daily Show and somehow blackmail them into both covering and providing a ‘real’ host for next year’s Web Awards). The real fun, however, was watching friends win their awards.

Bryan won the Best Blog award for AvalonStar, which was a total kick for me, considering I had just met him the day before (his acceptance speech was priceless), and 9rules won for Best Community Site, for their (successful?) attempt at world domination through leaves on weblogs. Mike and Matt accepted the award, and dedicated it to the 9rules members and also to Scrivs, and then they ran up to his hotel room to share the news (which turned out to be very good timing, since they ended up taking him to the hospital shortly thereafter. It was probably all the excitement…). Congrats to my friends and all the other winners and finalists!

Now comes the interesting segment of Day 2, a little story I like to call “The Eventful Evening.” Matthew did a nice job of summarizing the latter half (wherein Matthew was assaulted, and 4 of us received unjustified citations for jaywalking… seriously), so I’ll just jot down a few interesting notes about the earlier portion of the night (wherein: I helped Bryan’s financeé, Jen, gain access to the Web Awards After Party at Club DeVille; Garrett, Wade and I visited as many bars on 6th Street as possible, dodgeballing every single one; and I got thrown out of a bar before I even crossed the threshold). Well, actually, that’s pretty much it, because you really had to be there to experience everything that went on that evening. There were a few more “fun” things that went on, but to wrap it all up, I got back to my hotel room around 6:30am. A good night.

This item was posted by Dan Rubin on Sunday, March 19th, 2006.


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3 comments on “SxSW 2006 Day 3”

  1. Posted by Jason Santa Maria on Sunday, March 19th, 2006.

    “hey, Stan barely said a word to me all week — he probably thinks he just imagined meeting me…”

    No, I remember meeting you!

    I’m sorry. For some reason, our paths didn’t cross that much so I didn’t really get to speak to you. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to speak to many people, but that’s because SXSW was so freakin’ huge this year. Next year you and I can wear a two-man horse costume to the conference. Then we’ll see loads of each other. :D

    I’m glad you enjoyed our panel so much! *phew*

  2. Posted by Dan Rubin on Sunday, March 19th, 2006.

    A two-man horse costume? WOW!!! :) I hope you know that quote was tongue-in-cheek, I certainly don’t deserve any special attention from anyone, I’m just glad I got to shake your hand and break the “virtual divide.” I defintely don’t want to be like that woman who yelled at JZ on the escalator… I figured you were all busy enough last week anyway :)

    So, need I ask who gets to be the horse’s ass?

  3. Posted by Jason Santa Maria on Monday, March 20th, 2006.

    I think I’m going to call dibs on the head.