The Great 2011 SXSW Scavenger Hunt

This year the Pelago team will be attending the Interactive portion of South by Southwest in Austin, TX. This year will mark the fourth year that we have attended, and we’ve noticed that over the years the Interactive portion has lost much of its technological raison d’ĂȘtre and has become a bit more of a marketing wankfest wrapped up in a celebration of geek culture. Even SXSW itself seems to acknowledge this downward trend.

Granted, as I’ve often said, SXSW is an idea factory, and it really helps you stay abreast of the latest and greatest emerging trends in the tech industry. And if you dig hard enough, it is possible to find truly great panels with amazing speakers with tremendous insight to lend. But if you’re not careful, you might just end up in a panel that quickly devolves into an abyss of marketspeak douchebaggery (last year I was granted the special privilege of hearing from a panelist who was engaged in “hypervising neural networks”).

One of the emerging trends from this year’s panels appears to be games, so to help you make an exciting adventure of the highs and lows of this year’s SXSW Interactive, we’ve put together a list of items to keep an eye out for. Check off as many as you can, and post your results in the comment section of this blog post. The person with the most items checked off will win a free Intervals t-shirt. If you have any items to add to our list, let us know in the comments section.

So here, without further ado:

  • Someone very conspicuously using a new iPad2
  • Hipster wearing a vest or chunky Ray-Ban sunglasses
  • Someone wearing a fedora
  • Someone wearing a Threadless t-shirt
  • Someone wearing a ThinkGeek t-shirt
  • A dude with a HUGE (6+ inches) beard
  • Microsoft Silverlight promotional material clinging to its last vestiges of significance
  • Someone wearing more than one phone on their belt
  • Someone running Ubuntu on their laptop
  • A CR-48 Chrome notebook (the Google notebook)
  • A laptop with so many stickers, you can’t tell what brand it is
  • A 300 pound man using a tiny netbook
  • Free beer
  • Any mention of the following words from a speaker or panelist:
    • 4chan
    • Wikileaks
    • Libya/Egypt/Tunisia
    • Linux (or any Linux distro)
  • Someone taking notes with pen and paper
  • An attendee over 40
  • Pink fixed gear bicycle
  • Violet Blue sighting
  • Christopher Poole sighting (keynote doesn’t count)
  • A protester or soapbox evangelist carrying a sign

TIEBREAKER: A completely meaningless marketing buzzword/phrase (most syllables wins)

Let the games begin!

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6 Responses to “The Great 2011 SXSW Scavenger Hunt”

  1. Michael Says:

    I knew I should have kept my beard going. DAMMIT!

  2. John Says:

    Can I get half a point for a flourescent green fixie if it has pink handle grips?

  3. Greg Says:

    I see a 300 pound man using a tiny netbook every time I look in the mirror.

  4. Sean Bell Says:

    I like the way you think! We are trying to do a little something different at sxsw this year. Not to be cool or hip or trendy. Just to have some fun. My friend and I are recent Austin transplants and we are having a great time getting to know the folks in the city of Austin.

    So, about 2 months ago (yes really) we cooked up a little scheme we are calling infeKTD Austin. You can find the hash tags on twitter and the event/party on eventbrite. Nope, I am not going to give you the link. But, I will tell you that we (you, me and everyone else that will be at sxsw) are the only ones that can make the decision about whether the conference is fun, lame, stale or played.

    Personally, I hope to make things a bit more fun, and showcase the city, people and tech scene that is truly unique. Hopefully, if enough of us step out of line we will find ourselves breaking new ground, meeting new people, exploring new ideas, and returning to our lives energized.

    Just a thought. I like your list. I’ll see if I can complete it. Hope to catch you while your there. You can find me on twitter.

  5. John Says:

    Sean, that is a great point you make. As much as we love poking fun at how corporate and ‘hip’ SXSW has become, it’s ultimately up to us to take it back :)

    Meanwhile, here is the link to the hash tag on twitter:

    And the party invite:

    So go sign up people :)

  6. Clever release names for creative developers | Project management and time tracking blog for web designers and small business :: the Intervals Blog by Pelago Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[...] The Great 2011 SXSW Scavenger Hunt :: Pelago :: web design & development blog Says: June 16th, 2011 at 2:28 am [...]

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