Getting into the SXSW Groove

Well, here I am at my second-ever SXSW Interactive and I'm jazzed.  Started it off yesterday by standing in the long badge-pick-up line -when I got there, the line wrapped around the inside of the building and was longer than I've seen it at any time since, of course. (My daughter was with me, so her reward for being good in line was a stop at the Interactive Playpen a bit later.)

After making it through the line, though, I was able to get to my first panel titled "Career Rev 342: Dabble, Dabble, Toil and Kick A__" Described as a talk about the benefits of being a n00b, it turned out to be appropriate to get in the right frame of mind for a varied conference like this.  There's everything here from deeply technical code talk to design or from virtual worlds to teenage online usage.  My main takeaway from the talk was a reminder of how important it is to your career, and what a benefit it can be to those you serve in your career, to step out of your comfort zone.  For instance, if you're a web designer and all your friends are web designers, you're likely to design for each other and lose sight of all the end users out there who don't share your same sensibilities, likes and dislikes.They suggested that while here at SXSW everyone attend at least two panels that have nothing to do with what they currently do in their career.  I think this is sound advice.  I followed that last year and learned so many new things that may not have been directly applicable to my daily job, but were still beneficial.  An example was the panel on Ajax vs. Flash.  While I don't directly design or program in either and it got a bit technical for me (over my head), I do make choices about the pages on that I'm responsible for that were improved by knowing more about the two.

Sometimes it works well like that. Sometimes it doesn't. I'm writing this during my first panel session of the day today, and only half listening primarily because the speaker is so unenergetic. There are probably some good takeaways I could glean at "Rome, Sweet Rome: Ancient Lessons in Design," but the presentation is too professorial.  Later, I'll try to read the book she referenced.

But for now, on with the search for those little nuggets that will not only help me, but hopefully help those of you who visit by broadening my perspective and bringing forward new ideas.

About the Author: Laura Pevehouse

Laura Pevehouse was profiled as one of five “social media mavens” in the March 2009 issue of Austin Woman Magazine and named an AdWeek’s TweetFreak Five to Follow. She has been part of the Dell organization for more than 15 years in various corporate communications, employee communications, public relations, community affairs, marketing, branding, social media and online communication roles. From 2014-2018, Laura was Chief Blogger/Editor-in-Chief for Direct2DellEMC and Direct2Dell, Dell’s official corporate blog that she help launch in 2007. She is now a member of the Dell Technologies Chairman Communications team. Earlier in her Dell career she focused on Global Commercial Channels and US Small and Medium Business public relations as part of the Global Communications team. Prior to that, she was responsible for global strategy in social media and community management, as well as marcom landing pages, as a member of Dell’s Global SMB Marketing, Brand and Creative team. When she was part of Dell’s Global Online group, Laura provided internal consulting that integrated online and social media opportunities with a focus on Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. She managed the home page of, one of the top 500 global web sites in Alexa traffic rank, and first brought web feeds and podcasts to the ecommerce site. In her spare time she led Dell into the metaverse with the creation of Dell Island in the virtual world Second Life. Laura has earned the designation of Accredited Business Communicator from the International Association of Business Communicators, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Louisiana State University. Before joining Dell Financial Services in 2000, she worked at the Texas Workforce Commission and PepsiCo Food Systems Worldwide.