As usually, my head was spinning upon my return from South by Southwest this year. The sheer intensity of the conference could do that to you. If you have never been, it is hard to explain the sensory overload that occurs, no matter what your level of participation.
As I reflect on the most important thing I got out of the conference this year, I would have to say that it was the Badgeless 2012 movement that I stumbled upon. As someone who was going to SXSW badgeless, I want to see if others were badgeless as well. What I found really astounded me. Yesterday during my Game Changer segment for the Pulse Network, I highlighted some of the badgeless and their reasons why they were badgeless. Check it out:
Whether the Badgeless Movement continues or not, there are three key takeaways that I think SXSW can learn from this:
Listen: If so many veterans are going badgeless, then there is something that has gone astray with the conference. This is a fantastic opportunity for SXSW to listen to what its loyal attendees are looking for within the conference.
Open Innovation: The veterans of SXSWi feel that the conference is losing sight of its uniqueness. By working with these loyal attendees, the conference may be able to grow in a way that they had not originally anticipated.
Core Product Value: As a product, the core value of the conference seems to be the connections that you make. What if SXSW focused in on that element and help people facilitate that more effectively? What if there were blogger lounges outside of the conference center, where people can pay for access to just that lounge. There are a plethora of opportunities to expand about this value.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that such a major conference should listen to its evangelists? Have you ever gone to SXSW badgeless? If so, why? We would love to hear from you.