First rock star, Kathy Sierra. I saw her Keynote in 2007 about Creating Passionate Users, and that became my mantra in class. Shortly thereafter, Kathy received online threats and dropped out of sight for a while. It was deeply troubling and sad, brings up the worst in gender implications of technology, but it is good to see that she is ready to move on. Her concepts are simple, yet important: don't make people who use your technology feel stupid. She's on Sunday at 3:30pm on a session entitled Tools for Enchantment: 20 Ways to Woo Users. It will no doubt be a triumphant return.
Did you see this?: Michael Eisner, former Disney CEO is on Tuesday at 11:30am. It's a joint session with the Film conference.
Need another rock star? How about Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia? In 2006, he interviewed Craig from Craigslist as a Keynote, but this time, he's on a panel Textbooks of the Future: Free & Collaborative! on Sunday at 11:30am. Another on the panel is part of the One Laptop Per Child organization (it's headed by Nicholas Negroponte).
Various and sundry other rock stars will be roaming the building, including designers Jeffrey Zeldman and Douglas Bowman (look them up on the schedule - good picks), as well as blogger Heather Armstrong of dooce.com. She and Jason Kotke were a joint keynote in 2006. She's on two panels, Online Adulation: Use/Don't Abuse Your Fans on Monday at 3:30pm and Content Boundaries: A 12-step Program on Sunday at 3:30pm.
Heard of Marshall Herskovitz? Maybe you were a fan of that great show, My So-Called Life, or if you are a bit older Thirty Something. Herskovitz is talking about Quarterlife, his Internet TV show, on Tuesday at 5pm.
Jon Lebkowsky, Austin tech and social media guru, is on a panel on Tuesday at 11:30am, entitled Visualizing Sustainability and Daniel Pink, author of the great book on creativity A Whole New Mind is on a panel on Japanese Manga comics on Sunday at 10am. Another important blogger, Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com, will be on a panel about the 10 worst online ad campaigns of 2007, Saturday at 11:30am.
And, here are just some panels that look particularly interesting to me:
- Where are the Black Tech Bloggers? Sunday 3:30pm
- Social Networking and Your Brand - Monday 11:30am - features someone from LinkedIn
- Designing for Freedom - Sunday at 2pm, features people from Ning, Google, and Apple
- Behind the Scenes at The Onion News Network - Saturday 5-6pm
- Peas in a Pod: Advertising, Monetization, and Social Media - Tuesday at 11:30am - features people from Facebook, Ask a Ninja, and Fast Company (by the way, "monetization" is my least favorite word in the English language).
- Browser Wars: Deja Vu All Over Again - Monday, 2pm - featuring people from Firefox, Microsoft, and Opera.
- Go For It! Attracting Girls to Technology - Saturday, 3:30pm - featuring people from UT and Girlstart.
- What Women Need to Succeed - Saturday, 5pm
So, I've planned out your conference. Actually, there are so many things from which to choose, that you will quickly find yourself double-booked. You might want to focus on video game panels or lean more toward technology sessions. Just have fun and soak up as much as you can. My next post will be on some survival tips for making the most of out of SXSW.