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What San Diego Thinks About SXSW

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jennifer Van Grove

    San Diego is well represented at this year's SXSW Interactive festival. Startups, designers, developers, bloggers, podcasters, corporate social media types, and first-timers have all traveled the distance to take in the unique conference and walk away with more knowledge and new connections.

    San Diego web developer Kevin Thompson touches on one of the more widely discussed topics this year: the bloated size of SXSW.

    Thompson believes, "The quality of the panels seems to have improved, but the fact that attendence has almost doubled is making it difficult to enjoy events and form valuable relationships."

    InfluenceSD creator and SXSW veteran Matt Browne agrees saying, "The show seems much larger than last year. Swarms of people are massive, though they've handled the growth really well."

    Browne also points to a broader audience and more brands. "This year seems even more mainstream than ever with consumer brands who are courting the attention of the tech elite."

    Dan Larsen of Qualcomm speaks to the somewhat troubling notion that there's not one break out idea or new toy here this year.

    Larsen philosophizes that, "Social is diversifying. Thoughts and Memes are all over the place. Creativity and exploration of new ideas is rampant. Ideas are storming. No one idea is predominant. Bringing together datasets is a value add. Location awareness and correlating activites across time, space, and your social network friends is a trend."

    HP's Liz Philips is a first timer with plans to return in the future. Offering up her fresh perspective, Philips finds SXSW to be a "geek paradise." For her, walking around and seeing "the avatars from Twitter come to life everywhere" is "surreal."

    The San Diego socialite Rob Marlbrough -- otherwise known as DowntownRob -- is a SXSW veteran but he tends to agree with Philips. He's finding the company representation and social media initiatives refreshing. Ultimately Marlbrough believes, "SXSW is a great opportunity to meet the people crafting the shape of social technologies future."

    These San Diego voices touch on the this year's trends: Early adopter burn out and more mainstream first-timers with open minds. They also echo the conversations happening in the halls of the Austin Convention Center.