On the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, Lauren, Dave and I went to lunch and then to the Huntington Library and Gardens. As we were walking to the Sam Maloof exhibit, I was telling them why I will most likely not be attending SXSW Interactive this year, but will most likely be going to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona instead.
As I was saying this a tall man walking the other direction said, “MWC is a boondoggle. I used to work in wireless and I know. I went every year.”
I said, “And so is SXSW now and I haven’t been to MWC so it may just be a new adventure for me.”
He laughed, shook his head and walked on.
Dictionary.com defines boondoggle as:
“boon·dog·gle [boon-dog-uhl, -daw-guhl] Show IPA noun, verb, -gled, -gling. noun
1. a product of simple manual skill, as a plaited leather cord for the neck or a knife sheath, made typically by a camper or a scout.
2. work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
3. a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.”
“A boondoggle is a project that is considered to waste time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations.”
Both SXSW Interactive and MWC are huge conference/exposition/party for their respective industries that takeover the cities they are held in. The last three years of SXSW Interactive has been expensive, overly crowded, hard to find people, sessions ok, and impossible to swim through the crowds. Now veterans of MWC describe the same but with the added fun and excitement of Barcelona pickpockets and laptop thieves but with excellent food.
If it was just a matter of being burnt out by the last few overwhelming years at SXSW, I would most likely find myself in the same position as the last 3 years where I didn’t register until the very last month before the conference when friends convince me to go and someone offers for me to be their roommate at the Hampton.
This year is different. This year my best friend, Erika, is due to deliver her baby on March 12th, and I have the choice between staying home and getting to meet the New Little One or spending 5 days overwhelmed in Austin, I am going to stay home and be apart of the Team Hope cheerleading team in and around the same time as SXSW.
I am still considering attending the developer days at MWC and making a small holiday of visiting Barcelona and northern Catalonia, but MWC is the last week of Feb / first week of March and babies do come early and they can arrive late.
Hmmm…. I am going to go to Barcelona, need to experience Catalon mobile boondoggle over Texas interactive boondoggle.