Microsoft is this year’s Gnomedex Diamond Sponsor. We’re involving various departments, and Ponzi has a handle on all of that. I’m not sure if they’re going to be announcing anything this year or not, though. We certainly couldn’t be doing Gnomedex without the support of them and other top-level sponsors (like Yahoo!, who’s come in at the Gold level). More top-level sponsors will be announced soon… as well as a few other surprises. If you haven’t yet reserved your ticket, I wouldn’t wait too much longer.
Confirmed Gnomedex Discussion Leader: Ethan Kaplan. No relation to Pud, Ethan is the Director of Technology for Warner Bros Records. That would mean he’s largely responsible for a lot of the geeky stuff that happens over there. I can’t imagine any Gnomedexer not owning at least one Warner Bros music product – go look at your CD shelf right now (or iPod, for that matter). With music playing such an intregal part of our lives as consumers, we’re looking forward to discovering what the other side has to say about all this new-fangled technology. Are they coping, choking, or creating new opportunities for everybody in this circle?
Confirmed Gnomedex Discussion Leader: Pud Kaplan. Many of you may not know this, but Pud was at Gnomedex III a few years ago. That was his first trip to Iowa (and boy did he have fun with us). He was a fantastic discussion leader back then, and he’ll be a fantastic discussion leader this year as well. If you’ve never met Pud in person, you’re in for a treat. Certainly, he’s launched
millions dozens of successful Web services – so I’m sure he needs no introduction. If nothing else, it’ll be a laugh a minute with him on stage! He’s good f’in company.
Oh boy. I just checked registration numbers, and we’ve only got 100 seats left – and I haven’t even accounted for a few people. If you were planning on coming, register today. I can’t make exceptions folks – the main room at Bell Harbor can only seat 300 people. If you’re registrant #301, you’ll become a “Cove” Gnomedexer – experiencing Gnomedex from another room. That said, every attendee had a wonderful time last year – many of them returning for this year’s event. We’re going to be sold out before too long…
Confirmed Gnomedex Discussion Leader: Werner Vogels. Yeah, that’s the CTO of Amazon – getting ready to jump on stage and lead a conversation about Web Services. Amazon’s been doing an awful lot with that lately – just ask Jeff. Amazon isn’t sponsoring Gnomedex (though I’m not sure why), but Werner’s going to be there based on merit. I gotta see if someone over there can help us get OpenSearch RSS for Gada.be…
Some people will do anything to get into Gnomedex – anything. At least he didn’t claim to be from the English department… ’cause that would’ve been a dead giveaway. This even tripped Ponzi’s red flag:
MY NAME IS PROFESSOR JAMES PARK FROM CONVENTRY COLLEGE IN UK FROM COMPUTER DEPARTMENT.
MY COLLEGE WILL BE SENDING US TO ATTEND YOUR CONFERENCE.
WE ARE 5 IN NUMBERS THAT WILL BE COMING FOR THE CONFERENCES.
KINDLY SEND US THE TOTAL COST THAT WILL COST THE 5 OF US.
I WILL ALSO LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT WE ARE WILLING TO PAY YOU AS SOON AS YOU CONFIRM THE PRICE FOR US SO THAT YOU CAN QUICKLY RESERVE SEATS FOR US.
WE WILL LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT MY SCHOOL IS WILLING TO PAY THROUGH MONEY WIRE.
WE KINDLY URGE YOU TO SEND US THE BANK INFORMATION WE WILL USE IN MAKING THE PAYMENT THROUGH MONEY WIRE.
WE WILL BE EXPECTING YOUR URGENT REPLY
THANKS FOR YOUR COPERATION
Confirmed Gnomedex Discussion Leader: Susan Mernit. I bet you were beginning to think that we had forgotten all about the female of the species (much geekier than the male, or so the song claims). We certainly have women in our dais, and I’m certain we’ll invite a few more of them on stage as the event unfolds. Ponzi has certainly made a few suggestions for female leaders, although so far (much like in years past) we’re largely receiving responses from the male candidates. Are we really going to be a Bizarro world BlogHer?
I called upon Gnomedex.com’s original graphic artist to give ‘er another go. Eddie Hollenbeck is back and better than ever, as evidenced by these mock-ups. I definitely have my top choice, but would like to know your preference as well.
I’m starting to get caught up, and I have a handful of other conference participants to announce. Hang in there, my friends – we’re just getting warmed up. If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do. If I haven’t personally invited you to be a discussion leader, don’t count yourself out yet.
It’s always good to get the perspective of the person responsible for building a show like SXSW to get a sense for where the conference came from and where it’s headed in the future. At SXSW Interactive 2006, Chris talked with Hugh Forest, Executive Director of SXSW, about his thoughts on this year’s event. In addition to touching on some of the show highlights, Chris and Hugh also chat about Austin and what it’s like as both a place of business and a venue for one of the largest annual conference events in the country.
Enjoy your stay in Austin. It will be Spring Break at the University of Texas, so most of the college students will have left town, leaving more room for SxSW attendees, rodeo fans, and others who pick that week for events. Hotel rooms and car rentals will be at a premium. Austin has a lively music scene at other times of the year as well. It is the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” but I'm sure there are other similar venues. In any case, we do have a wide variety of music venues that offer just about any type of music you might want to hear (and some you probably don't).
Getting around in Austin can be frustrating. The major roads all seem to run north-south – Interstate 35, MoPac Expressway (Loop 1), Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), and Loop 620. Loop 620 takes you to Lake Travis – a worthy diversion. If you don't have time to go to Lake Travis, take a trip to Lake Austin and have a meal at the Hula Hut near the dam. Take a little time and walk the hike and bike trail around Town Lake and bring your swim suit for a dip in Barton Springs (in Zilker Park) where the water is 68 degrees year-round. For good TexMex fare, try Chuy's. Near the convention center, there is the Iron Works Bar-B-Q – one of several good sources for this type of food.
I hope you enjoy the city and your time here. The weather should be pretty good. I hope you don't get too turned off by the “homeless” people who litter the street corners of major intersections asking for handouts. That's how they make their living – they have no ambition unlike most Austinites. If you'd like more recommendations, let me know. I've lived in Austin 30 years and know the landscape. If you get bored and need a geek fix, Dell's headquarters is just north of town in Round Rock.