On our final day at SXSW, we ran into a good problem, there were more panels I wanted to see than time allowed. At 11a I saw probably the most informative panel of the week. Steve Zehngut moderated a discussion on “How to Hire and Manage a Software Developer.” It was funny to learn that everyone deals with missed deadlines, changing scope and costs overruns. Steve offered some great tips to minimize the chances of this occuring on your project. This day got broken up a little by a conference call, but I was able to catch the Net Neutrality Debate moderated by Maggie Reardon. While I am very interested in the topic I don’t believe it is a real issue at the moment. The limited competition between broadband providers does concern me, but I am not sure if any are real restrictions we need to be concerned about.
In the afternoon there were a handful of panels that looked interesting. I decided to listen to Josh Williams, the CEO of Gowalla speak about the future of Location Based Advertising. I really went to see if Gowalla had any staying power in competing with Foursquare. I left feeling that Gowalla is in a very similar position Apple was in a few years ago when battling with Microsoft. They have a superior product and are clearly focused on improving the user experience, but are a distant second. The main goals for Gowalla is to make an online “scrapbook” for people to save and share their adventures. The final panel I attended at SXSW was about project management. With a few major projects happening internally it was interesting to learn about new tools we could utilize including Omniplan. The presenter was surprised no one wanted to talk about the pros and cons of agile vs. waterfall methods, but maybe that is a separate panel for next year. The last meal in Austin was at Gueros which is a hike from downtown, but well worth the trip. The trip was capped by attending the Google party on the rooftop deck at Six Lounge. All and all the conference was a success, learned a good deal and met very interesting people.