SXSW Year 7

2008 was my first year in Austin. The year of the Zuckerberg interview. I knew basically no one in tech. And even fewer people knew me. I had just started working for VentureBeat. My badge, which I had bought before starting the job with VentureBeat, said I worked for ParisLemon.com.

Seven years is not a lot of time in SXSW-years — I know plenty of people who have been going for twice as long as that (and many more who have gone even longer). But it is enough time to have some perspective on the event — at least as it has existed in the “social, local, mobile” (I refuse to use that forced acronym) world. So here are some thoughts having just left SXSW 2014.

The entire thing feels muted. I don’t necessarily mean this in a bad way. It’s not like I’m saying “SXSW sucks!”, I’m just saying it doesn’t feel like it has the same energy that it did even in 2008.

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Stacey Higginbotham for GigaOm: 

And that’s one of the biggest repercussions of Google’s fiber roll outs. The more people who can pay $70 for gigabit service (or get 5 Mbps for free), the more pressure this puts on the existing providers to upgrade their networks and cut anticonsumer crap like data caps. But that’s exactly why more cities need these networks.

Google is very good at the do-something-to-pressure-others-to-do-it maneuver — which I appreciate.