Ethan Marcotte now blogs at Unstoppable Robot Ninja.

Weblog entry:

South by.

Since my first time at South by Southwest, Austin struck me as the Miss Haversham of southern Texas: an ancient lady sitting in front of a cracked mirror, proud, beautiful, and a bit, well, crazy. Walking down Fourth Street nets you an eyeful of old, graffiti-washed buildings, more than half of which abut a skyscraper or three. Something there is in Austin that loves a fifty year-old café sitting next to a fifty story banking concern—and it’s a beautiful, frenetic brand of schizophrenia.

As ever, this year’s SXSW was incredible: after surviving my presentation, I managed to stop stressing about slides in my hotel room (I am very much a first child, yay hooray), and actually go forth and enjoy the damned city. And more importantly, to enjoy the people visiting it with me: to meet other SXSWers I hadn’t yet met, and those I’d waited a year to catch up with again. It’s nothing if not an exhausting, delirious time: between beer, quick conversations, and enough digital cameras to make Big Brother blush, it’s usually enough to have me happy, if ready to head home, by the end of the conference.

But this year, I’m a bit sad it’s over. I’m not entirely sure why, either: it could be the burgeoning head cold I’m getting, or that stepping out into a cold and gray Boston evening after a week of color and compatriots doesn’t a happy Ethan make. Maybe it’s that this year has me returning to a different kind of office, sans coworkers and hallway noise; instead, it’s quiet classical music, invoices, blank Photoshop canvases, and turf wars with the cat.

Putting the mild post-SXSW depression aside, I am excited about the days and weeks ahead: I’ve walked away from the conference looking forward to working on this site again, something that I’ve not had for some time (as the three of you very well know). And I’m thinking that the piano in the corner of my apartment needs some attention. But no matter what happens, I think Wilson said it best: I need to keep my options open. Damned open.

So with that, thanks to all of you for your time this year. It was great seeing you, and here’s hoping we can do it again soon. Should be an interesting year, so keep in touch, and be well.



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