Why Joyent Banned all Employees from Attending South-by-Southwest Interactive This Year

March 12, 2009 - by grassonthefield

We have been asked a number of times whether Joyent is going to the South-by-Southwest Interactive (aka SXSW) festival this year. The answer is “no”. All Joyent employees are, in fact, banned from SXSW for the following lucky seven reasons:

1) Drinking. There is lots and lots of drinking of alcoholic beverages. I think this is the most important thing to understand about SXSW. Lots and lots of drinking. Joyent co-sponsored the 16-bit party last year (I think they’re calling it 32-bit this year, haha, get the joke?) and I remember standing in this junk yard (the location of the party) being shocked while hundreds of people were jumping the fences to get into the party to: drink. Lots and lots. Then we got into these bicycle-drawn-carts and rode around in the dark. I couldn’t believe that ride cost $180. Seems high. Then I’m on an outside patio and there’s John Gruber and his lovely wife Melissa and they’re both talking about pixels. Too much. It just went on and on.

2) BBQ. As a native Texan (Dallas, 1966), I makes me sick to hear Yankees (non-Texans) talk about Bar-B-Que. Believe me, that is about all ya’ll hear about during SXSW when ya’ll not drinking and drinking. “Oh, we went to Salt Lick and had BBQgasm.” No self-respecting Texan talks like that. In fact, only the folks that moved to Texas from New Jersey go to the Salt Lick. I don’t care what Matt Mullenweg says. The “good food” in Texas is found in the back yard of someone’s house and only I and a few other folks know where to find it. If the SXSW crowd is there, well, I need a drink.

3) Social media. Be careful, we’re still on solid ground, but if you actually go to any of the presentations at SXSW you will tumble right into rapturous discussions of “starting the conversation” which is difficult to get excited about after all that drinking. So you’re sitting there in the audience and someone is going on about “bizarre versus convention center” when, I swear you look around and you realize you’re smack dab in the middle of…

4) San Francisco. What a pathetic excuse of a city. On almost all the levels and altitudes. It is no New York on the west coast. That would be Los Angeles. I can only repeat what my daughter recently said when I asked if she wanted to drive around San Francisco. “No, let’s go to the airport.” Amen. I need a drink.

5) Muxtape. If you aren’t already using Muxtape, I beg/urge you to get over there right now. However, if Muxtape were to break out during SXSW (Interactive AND Music), I don’t know that we could be so enthusiastic. Muxtape right now is like that silly little bar in the Bowery. We don’t want people streaming in from New Jersey muxing it all up. I have a bad feeling about this.

6) More than the “One Accelerator”? Microsoft, you’re got to be kidding. There is only one Accelerator.

7) Austin. Finally, Austin the city and its environs. This may seem a strange reason to ban Joyent employees from SXSW. Don’t get me wrong. I personally love Austin. It is a wonderful city with rich cultural, and historic offerings. My brother went to the University of Texas. Hook’em horns and all that. You can visit a French embassy to the Republic of Texas in Austin. Nice. But let’s face it. Austin is not Texas. It is cartoon Texas. I wouldn’t want to saddle New Jersey with Newark any more than I want to saddle Texas, and Joyent employees’ understanding of Texas, with Austin.

Maybe one day Joyent will be back at South-by-Southwest Interactive. I’m sure that will be the year before it winds down.


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