I settled into my seat, something I don’t find difficult. Nearly everyone else, however, was juggling various tablets, pads, pods, laptops, noise-cancelling headphones, fedoras and more. Instead I opened my book.
After just a few moments a 30-ish guy sat down next to me. Though it was warm on the plane and, last I checked, almost 80 in Austin, he wore a thick wool pullover hat.
“Going to South by?” he asked.
At some time during the last year or so, SXSW attendees decided en masse that saying the entire name of the conference was too onerous and they thereby shortened it.
“No,” I lied. “Visiting a friend outside of Austin.”
“Bro, I’m really looking forward to it.”
“Of course you are,” I tersed.
“So what do you do?”
“I’m in advertising,” I answered. I used as few words as possible. But he failed to take the hint.
“Advertising’s dead man. It’s all social now. Google glasses. Mobile apps. Facebook’s new graphic newsfeed. You can’t just shoot messages at people. You have to engage them. Community management.”
“What makes you think advertising can’t engage people?”
He ignored that thought completely.
“I’m a thought-leader,” he winded. “I’m leading a Hackathon at South by.”
“I’m sorry I’m missing that.”
“Dude. It’s gonna be awesome.”
“Well, there’s always next year,” I answered.
I stuck my nose in my book and we flew the rest of the way, thank god, in silence.