SXSWi 2007 – Monday – Day 4

Those cinnamon twists at Starbucks are good, mmm.


Barenaked App: The Figures Behind the Top Web Apps

This was one of my favorite panels of the week. This panel was similar to Web App Autopsy on Friday, in that there were a number of web app companies that showed numbers about their app. However, this panel talked more about the costs involved in creating and maintaining the app. The five companies were DropSend, FreshBooks, Mobissimo, Maya’s Mom, and Wesabe. I was very surprised at how much each of these companies had put into their apps, both in startup costs and maintenance as well. Mobissimo, an airline ticket service, was the front runner in spending costs both initially and in maintenance. That’s understandable though because they have offices in four countries. There was lots of good information to take in. Such as, it’s a better idea to get your product out early, and with less features, than to wait around and get it out later. This goes with the mantra of ‘Fail early, fail often’. Another good point, particularly useful to me, is that the panelists advocated not buying your own hardware to run their app on. They suggest using something like Serverbeach, which I have heard of, or something like Amazon’s S3 Service. The latter being something that I’d really like to look into. All in all, really good panel and I’m excited to find their slides online as well as listen to the podcast.

Scaling Your Community

Mr. WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, had a nice talk about scaling the community that surrounds a site or web service. It reminded me a lot of Brian Fling’s talk about the mobile web inasmuch that it was very fluid and free-flowing. His main points for scaling up a community were: build a good foundation, bootstrap, let go, and finally personalize. Building a good foundation means knowing exactly what it is that you’re trying to do. Bootstrapping refers to things like being your most passionate user. Eventually your community will reach a point where you can’t micromanage every single thing about it. It’s at this point that creators often have a hard time letting go of their product and allowing more help from other passionate users. Finally, personalization refers to getting your users to build up a strong bond with your site or service. This is another panel I’d like to hear again when the podcast comes out.

I missed the microformats panel due to a long lunch. I’ll find the podcast sometime.

I also missed out on the Bullet Tooth Web Design panel because it was apparently very popular and the room was filled to capacity very early. I heard that it was a good panel, though not a whole lot of information. So I’m not too concerned about missing it.

I didn’t go to the design patterns panel, but instead went to Javascript: The Big Picture with Peter Paul Koch. Not the best panel ever. It seemed as though he hadn’t really prepared for the panel, which was disappointing. He kept looking down at notes he’d written on paper to know what he was talking about. Furthermore, he has a theory that the type of people at the conference were polarized into two groups: web designers and web developers. One’s who do front-end design and those who do back-end programming. I, unfortunately for Paul, fit into both and consequently break his little theory. To exacerbate this problem, Koch readily admitted that his theory was based on him working with a back-end coder many years ago. When I feel that if I would have missed a panel and not been regretful, then there is something wrong. This was one of those instances.

And then we got the crunk on, boomshockalocka! This was the night of the really good parties.

First was the Great British Booze-Up, which was held at the Lava Lounge. As many have attested to, this place found the right mix of music and conversation. The whole back patio was packed full of people socializing. I had a good time questioning British folk’s long-standing ability to ‘queue’ properly. Incidentally, according to Jeremy Keith, American’s go to the restroom, whereas Brit’s go to the toilet and that you don’t ever queue at the toilet, as that would be weird. I talked with Jeff, Michelle, and Lisa Price about all things American vs. British. Apparently, 2 weeks of standard vacation is simply atrocious. I also got to talk with Sergio again. This time I did happen to mention me bashing on his panel last year. He clarified what he meant by stating that when you have things like time constraints, and there is a faster way of doing things, then it’s perfectly ok to get stuff done the fast way. A statement that I completely agree with. Also, everyone in Austin apparently really likes Shiner Bock a lot, it’s everywhere. Mind you, it’s not bad, but it’s not my beer of choice. However, this was the first time during the trip that I had some. That happens when it’s free. 🙂

After the well went dry there, we headed across the street to the South by Northwest party at the Iron Cactus. Had a good time there as well. I met some good people who got drunk and registered the domain name I think it’s hilarious. Speaking of that site though, if any of you folks find this site, shoot me an email because I don’t think any of you told me your names. I also continued a helpful conversation about Ireland with Dan Mall.

After a while though, I was sufficiently drunk and decided to make for ye old Raddisson Hotel.

One thought on “SXSWi 2007 – Monday – Day 4

  1. Regarding Matt Mullenweg, I think he’s still at that “hard to let go” point. I think the tight grip he keeps on WordPress is stifling the community, and preventing growth.

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