How uTest Spent the Week @SXSW: A Recap (with pictures)

Last week, I mentioned that Matt Johnston and I were heading to the SXSW conference in Austin, TX. Well, we’re finally back in Massachusetts and almost caught up on sleep.  The trip was a lot of fun and I think we accomplished what we set out to do.

I’ll run through the list of our initial goals (in bold) and whether we accomplished them (post-event comments as sub-bullets) with a few images below.

Meet a lot of new people
Yes. This was certainly the most fun and, with the exception of the storm trooper, arguably one of the most valuable. What I loved most about SXSW wasn’t the number of tech all stars that you could see any given night but how open and genuine everyone was.  Most conferences I’ve attended in the past have been about listening to speakers and occasionally breaking off in small groups to share.  SXSW was quite the opposite – it was all about jumping into conversations with people you don’t know to share ideas and simply chat about whatever comes up.

Learn about potential SXSW/uTest opportunity for 2012
Yes. I think Matt and I are in agreement that uTest would be well served to have a more established presence at SXSW in 2012, but the details have yet to be sorted out.

Recruit for the uTest Team (see our careers page)
Not really. To be fair, I don’t think Matt J or I were focused on this very much. It’s certainly a worthy goal but with limited time it took a back burner.

Learn about emerging tech and trends in software, mobile, and advertising (to name a few)
Yes. While I didn’t find quite as many advertising sessions focused on B2B marketing, I did learn a lot about the tech space and sat in on some great sessions like a Q&A with Google & Bing and a Panel on Community Lurkers. Great stuff.

Unlock a ridiculous amount of FourSquare badges
Yes. It was great to see 4sq in its element with, literally, thousands of people checking in within a square mile. I used it a lot to track down friends, events, and sessions (via the mapping).  My favorite user-generated location I saw on 4sq was “police custody”. I wonder if that counts as their phone call…

Attend some sessions that have nothing to do with software testing
Done. I think the stromtrooper photo says it all.

Eat some amazing BBQ
Done.  We visited the Salt Lick and Lambert’s. Highly recommended.

Overall, I think we’re certainly going back, but glad we have 50 weeks of rest between now and then. As promised, here are a few random pictures from the week:

The 6.2L V8 monster “Rally Fighter” from fellow Massachusetts-based crowdsourced company, Local-Motors.com
A barbecue pit (one of several) at The Salt Lick.

Sunny Austin, TX
Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

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