Darren Waters

SXSW: That's all folks

  • Darren Waters
  • 18 Mar 09, 10:13 GMT

As the web developers move out and the musicians move in to Austin, sporting more facial hair, tattoos and piercing, South by SouthWest Interactive closes for another year.


The small British firms at SXSW proved once again that innovation in the web does not start in San Francisco and end in Palo Alto.

The success of SixToStart in winning the Best in Show prize for We Tell Stories, beating the likes of Hulu, was the crowning moment for UK web success.

Co-founder Dan Hon told me how surprised they had been: "Someone was doing a video interview with us outside the ballroom and we were told to come back in by the ushers.

"We were standing right at the back of the room thinking of getting our bags or sitting back down. Suddenly they were announcing we were Best in Show and we were running up to the stage."

Quotes of SXSW

Anonymous web developer in the toilet: "I don't want Microsoft to embrace browser standards and work with the other browser firms. I want hackers to keep targeting Internet Explorer so I know I'll be safe on Firefox."

Opera chief technology officer Hakon Wium Lie: "Why does Internet Explorer have so many users when in the past it has been such a terrible browser. There are so many better options out there."

Lawrence Lessig: "We would never think of democracy as a tool to solve public problems.
We have that view because we have lost faith in our institutions."

Anonymous delegate: "You can tell which hotels people are staying at here by the smell of their body lotion."

Chris Wilson, head of the Internet Explorer platform: "Even my wife's computer got hacked earlier this year."

Spotted at SXSW

A senior Microsoft executive playing with his iPhone.

The Press Room was a picture of rolling tumbleweed and silent journalists, the blogger's lounge was the pre-party party.

In a straw poll about one in three phones on show were iPhones. Blackberry was the second most popular mobile phone.


  • Comment number 1.

    Have to concurr with the anon web dev in the toilet. His audience should have been bigger.

    I mean, in quantity, more people, it's nothing personal, Darren....

  • Comment number 2.

    Re: Hakon Wium Lie

    TBH, and I'm no Microsoft fan boy, Opera has been pretty terrible as well - it was firstly trial ware, and then till 2005 it including ads - hardly a product I could recommend.

    The real choice at the moment with Internet Explorer versus Firefox. With Firefox's market share gaining it seems that Internet Explorer's dominance could be on the wane - though I have difficulty forseeing a time when Microsoft doesn't bundle it with Windows, consumers expect a internet browser (see Safari on Mac OS X, Firefox / Konqueror in most free software distrubutions).

    If the EU do hit Microsoft for including IE, I find it difficult to see how it would be unbundeled - how would consumers download a web browser without one, unless it was a option when buying the computer. Perhaps the alternative is to have a option at install where the user selects a browser...

    Good to see that the UK web industry is alive and kicking - though coverage of teh event seems to be limited to erm the BBC.

  • Comment number 3.

    This all sounds like it was a really interesting event. And it's good to hear Microsoft execs admit to their own product's failure.

    Fair play to Hakon Wium Lie and the anonymous web developer, even if Opera isn't a suitable alternative, as said above.


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