There was talk of innovation versus crowdsourcing... uninspired millenians... real time response to real life situations... There were friends and acquaintances from all over the country toasting the year and talking about the future.
There was barbecue. Lots of it. And oh dear GOD it was good!
And then there was walking around the streets of Austin with a blow-up doll. Let me tell you... walking around with a blow-up doll will get you lots of attention! I did it to cut through the noise, which there's always plenty of at festivals this big. The typical cute blonde flirting while she hands you a sticker will get you and your product nowhere. But one blonde was definitely getting a lot of attention. In fact, she was getting her picture taken like she was a rock star.
I was starting to get a little jealous.
Judy was there to help spread the word about an app called Neer Life*. Neer Life, as I heard so many people say, is what location-based technology should be. In his talk, Josh Williams of Gowalla discussed the future of geo location and how it needs to be more helpful than just being a game where we gather badges. Interesting comments from the leader of the company that handed out passports at SxSW and said, "Go out and get some stamps!"
As I listened through his talk, I became slightly frustrated that I had gone to his session versus another that was on my list. It wasn't just because of the fact that he used the word "remarkable" a remarkable amount of times, but because his ideas of the future were already here... and I was with one of the groups that was already there.
Check out this video:
I'm glad that location-based apps are getting to be more useful in our everyday lives. Still, I think Josh was wrong when he said "Badges are bullshit." The amount of grown men and women that shouted in delight every time they earned a new SxSW badge proves that they are not bullshit. They're fun. And you know what? With all the crap in life that we all deal with, a little fun isn't such a bad thing.
But besides being fun, location-based apps like Foursquare (which Josh was obviously referring to regarding the badges), Instagram (my new favorite photo/location sharing app), and Foodspotting are a great way to discover places that friends recommend every time they check in. Or in the case of Bizzy, every time they check out.
What do you think about location-based apps? Which ones do you use? How do you think they can improve everyday life? Share your thoughts, would ya?
Peace, Love, and Sugar
*Neer Life is a client. I pursued them because I think they're awesome... and because I'm tired of leaving Costco without the toilet paper I went there to get.