Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

SXSW Day One

Some very impressive stuff today. This year's conference so far is much more focused on getting things done and real world application. It is also unbelievably more crowded than last year.

My three sessions today were Jeffrey Zeldman, How to Bluff Your Way in CSS, and How to Make Big Things Happen with Small Teams. Zeldman's keynote was disappointing as it mostly made the case that SXSW is cool and you can meet cool people here. But, already being cool people, we were all pretty much aware of that.

The CSS session was done as a two-part comedy sketch, which was both hilarious and actually informative for a CSS-newbie like myself. I can't wait to interview someone about their CSS skills now with my newfound power. The summation? Tables, spacer gifs, div tags are bad! Stylesheets are very good! The presentation is available online.

Jason Fried's talk on small teams was outstanding. Jason was the highlight of last year's conference for me and he has already set the bar very high for 2005. He is incredibly bright, articulate, and focused on delivering terrific software that brings user's joy. Just buy his book, manage your projects with Basecamp, keep track of your lists with Ta-Da, and give his company money to make your website sing.

Here are three examples of why Jason and 37Signals rule. First, Jason is the head of the company and he handles the tech support for their products. Second, Basecamp has over 10,000 users and they only receive 40 help requests a day. Third, our graphics department has happily used Basecamp for over a year to manage every single piece of work that flows their 5-member team - without any assistance from anyone on our technical side.

In the evening, Terry and I, without even a touch of irony, went to see Be Cool. Highly recommended!