I overheard a conversation where one person said that SXSW now makes more money on the Interactive portion than the Music event. That doesn't surprise me. I mean, it's right there in the name--Interactive. People are excited about meeting up with old friends, making new business deals or waiting in 30-minute lines for ice cream cookies. And waiting in the line means you meet more people. It's inspiring to be around such excitement.
In the "Conference Startups" session, attendees stressed over and over that they want to be inspired by experts. Nowadays, the definition of an expert is blurring, so people don't necessarily want to be talked at anymore. They want to engage. Panel discussions are on their death beds, and core conversations are the preferred path to success for conferences.
Another point attendees talked about at the session was the value of hallway meetings. In fact, most attendees find them more valuable than sessions themselves. And that's pretty evident here at SXSWi. With 30-minutes between sessions, people are given time to meet up and talk.
Or if they're hungry, find one of the several food trucks offering free food. And with that, I'm off to lunch.
NOTE: Click here to read our case study about the SXSW music festival.