The Badass Guide to SXSW Interactive Panels

Yes, amidst the vats of BBQ sauce, the buckets of Lone Star, and the drunken networking, there are panels to see, people to meet and actual things to learn. With two days to go before SXSW Interactive starts you might as well figure out your schedule now and I’m here to help.

Yes, amidst the vats of BBQ sauce, the buckets of Lone Star, and the drunken networking, there are panels to see, people to meet and actual things to learn. With two days to go before SXSW Interactive starts you might as well figure out your schedule now and I’m here to help. If you’ve attended SXSW before you know that your schedule can be rock solid, but once your feet cross the Austin Convention Center threshold all those plans go out the window. So just consider this a good starting point for figuring out the who, what, when, where, and why. You’re on your own though in figuring out the “what happened?” the next morning.

MARCH 11

When: 2:00 PM
What: Fireside Chat: Tim O’Reilly Interviewed by Jason Calacanis
Where: Ballroom D
Why: The chat offers an interesting dynamic since you have the poster child of blog monetization (Calacanis) interviewing the godfather of traditional tech publishing (O’Reilly). Also if you’ve ever listened to Calacanis’ podcast This Week in Startups then you know the man is great at interviewing. He doesn’t mince words and hits all the angles from professional to personal.

When: 3:30 PM
What: Matt Mullenweg Interview: The Future of WordPress
Where: Ballroom A
Why: Most attendees will tell you that Google’s Marissa Mayer Presents talk happening the same time is the one to be at, but why sit through a bonafide Google infomercial when you can gleam insight from the man behind one of the most versatile and popular online publishing platforms in the world?

MARCH 12

When: 9:30 AM
What: It’s Not TV, It’s Social TV
Where: Hill Country AB
Why: Have you tried watching an awards show on TV without watching your Twitter stream? I can’t remember the last time I did. At this panel you can hear what the big brains at Twitter, The Travel Channel, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, CNN.com, and Next New Networks think about this new era of A.D.D T.V.

When: 12:30 PM
What: Flipboard: Game-Changer or Passing Fad?
Where: Town Lake Ballroom
Why: I’m still not a big fan of Flipboard. I get what it’s trying to do, but it undoes the beautiful simplicity of Twitter streams, Facebook updates, and RSS feeds. So it’ll be interesting to see what it’s co-founder has to say about the future of iPad-centric content consumption and how much interviewer Kara “Brass Balls” Swisher of the Wall Street Journal is a believer. Stick that in your iPad and flip it.

When: 2:00 PM
What: Keynote: Seth Priebatsch
Where: Ballroom D and simulcast everywhere
Why: With services like Foursquare and Gowalla leading the utility front of location-based check-ins, there’s a scrappy start-up called SCVNGR that’s trying to pioneer the “game layer” of the space. But is it another layer we need? Chief Ninja of SCVNGR, Seth Priebatsch, will layout his thoughts on this unexplored territory of the Geo-Loco Gold Rush.

MARCH 13

When: 11:00 AM
What: Designing iPad Interfaces - New Navigation Schemas
Where: Ballroom A
Why: File this under for “Design Geeks Only.” I’m fascinated with the way in which Apple’s touchscreen revolution has reinvented the way we interact with our computers. It’s exciting to know there’s not one right way yet to design your application or content, that the rules have yet to be established. Partly because we as the consumers aren’t sure what works for us yet and partly because it’s a totally new design language. Hopefully Lynn Teo can point and swipe us in the right direction.

When: 2:00 PM
What: Keynote: Christopher Poole
Where: Ballroom D and simulcast everywhere
Why: Probably the thing I’m most excited to see is this keynote by the founder of the most infamous imageboard in the world: 4chan.org. A site which has birthed countless Internet memes such as lolcats and Rickrolling and has continued to grow despite it’s anonymous anti-social networking attitude. Typically recluse and only making public appearances and interviews in the last couple years, it’ll be cool to see the man they call “moot” speak about the underground railroad of the internet he created.

When: 3:30 PM
What: HTML5? The Web’s Dead, Baby
Where: Ballroom C
Why: File this under for “Web Geeks Only.” HTML4 has been the standard language of the web for over a decade—and for as long as I’ve been designing sites—so it’s a big deal that we’re finally moving up to HTML5. Long story short is that it “app”-ifies the web. You can hear the long story from this panel of web designers and programmers which include a couple Microsoft guys who I hope to pelt with Internet Explorer 6 buttons.

MARCH 14

When: 11:00 AM
What: Barry Diller Shares Insight on All Things Media
Where: Ballroom D
Why: Kara Swisher. Barry Diller. Nuff said.

When: 12:30 PM
What: Enabling New Experiences & Creating Serendipity Through Check-ins
Where: Ballroom D
Why: Although I’m not a huge fan of Foursquare, I can’t deny the speed of their growth and the fact they’re looked at as the next Facebook. Here we have the gentlemanly Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable, interviewing the brash and sometimes douchebaggish Dennis Crowley, Foursquare CEO and co-founder, on the future of Foursquare and location-based applications. I’m willing to let him win me over, but I doubt he can.

When: 3:30 PM
What: Ain’t it Cool News’ 15th Anniversary Panel
Where: Room 18ABCD
Why: The very first film geek blog of the web gets sentimental with this reunion panel of AICN writers past and present. Speaking of sentimental, the highlight will be seeing Head Geek Harry Knowles in person who has been in the hospital the past month after a serious back operation.

When: 5:00 PM
What: Indie Gaming Meets Indie Filmmaking
Where: Room 12AB
Why: The exact subject of this panel has yet to be revealed, but just know that it’s moderated by fellow BAD writer Moises Chiullan. I call shotgun!

MARCH 15

When: 9:30 AM
What: Made It So (Interface Makers in Movies)
Where: Ballroom B
Why: Meet the guys who design the interfaces that bring sci-fi sets to life. An art that involves motion graphic design that’s pretty, but also plausible for all you continuity hounds.

Are we missing any Interactive Panels that are must-see? Let us know in the comments below. And to see what the BAD Team is up to during SXSW follow us on Twitter.

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