Let’s say your stereotypical, white-collar conference is straight out of Office Space – an extension of the monotony of cubicle life, interrupted by staid speakers waxing boring on industry topics, where a team-building exercise or trust fall would be the only non-alcoholic activity to provide a needed, if unpleasant, recess.
SXSW is the exact opposite. It’s a (spring) break from office/production/whatever life. It’s a serious conference that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s replete with amusing panels that are there for no other reason than to amuse.
Exhibit A: Worst Website Ever: That’s So Crazy, It Just Might Work – Nine internet-renowned writers, designers, and engineers pitched their best most terrible ideas for an internet-start-up to a real-life investor for a shot at a fake $1 million. Bonus points went to presentors who were able to pull off a semblance of knowing wtf they’re taking about while making the least amount of sense.
Exhibit B: Battledecks II – Powerpoint meets Karaoke meets improv comedy. A game-show competition where internet cool kids took their turns at 3-minute, impromptu presentations in front of slides they had never seen before. To add to the difficulty/hilarity, the slides had nothing in common except they were all swimming in the web’s meme pool.
Rocketboom has a look:
In any case, geeks at conferences know how to have a good time.