Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

SXSW 2013 Day 2: Let’s Get Physical

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It’s day two of SXSW Interactive 2013, and I’m a little more optimistic after a good night’s sleep and several actual informative sessions.

I also survived the Spredfast party last evening — I don’t know where the Austin fire marshals were, but as I navigated my way around the lovely but jam packed rooftop, all I could think about were fire exits — and jumping from a three story roof didn’t seem like a great option.

There are definitely some key themes emerging at SXSW Interactive 2013, other than that logistics matter (see yesterday’s snarky post for more on that topic) — the dolphins have receded back into Town Lake for the moment.

One theme has to do with the re-emergence of the physical world. Yesterday, Bre Pettis’ keynote on 3D printing was, for me, an eye-opener. His “Makerbot” company, which emerged at SXSW 2009, has emerged as a real and viable player in 3D printing, and for my money, the 3D printing notion is just the marker of a much larger paradigm shift: The opportunity to meld the digital and the physical and reshape design iteration, for all kinds of objects and products.

His 3D printing capability demonstrated that for not a lot of money, even the average Joe can jump into the design and manufacturing game, and organizations small and large can benefit from this downsizing of design iteration.

The other theme that has emerged is “Mobile” with a capital “M.” I’ve already attended several sessions tending to the opportunities and issues of the mobile realm, and I have a feeling we’ve only just begun.

The Google Android session this morning was an excellent example, where I learned some of the founding principles behind Android’s design from some of the people worked on it.

The rules of the road seemed logical enough: “Give me tricks that work everywhere” and “It’s not my fault” and “Make important things fast.”

But once the Googlers walked the audience through some specific examples, it made much more sense (and hard to describe here, since it required some show n tell).

Suffice it to say, the principles were very human and user experience-oriented, considering the fact that they were talking about an Android, and it’s the kind of thinking I’d like to see more mobile apps have taken into account.

And as I debate the pros and cons of eventually going back to a smartphone, the Android column certainly just garnered a few more points.

Logistics-wise, sessions I wished to attend continue to be oversubscribed, so get there early and/or be flexible continue to be core design principles for SXSW 2013.

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