One of the great things about going to any conference is the swag—the freebies given to attendees. The South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival, from which I just returned, has some of the best swag.
Here is a look at some of the items I grabbed:
Word cloud self portrait
The New York Times
had one of the most inventive pieces of swag out there. A rep took your picture and then asked for your favorite section from the Times. This was used to transform your portrait into a word cloud with the most popular words from that section; it was then printed and matted. The result was awesome.
Glasses, glasses, glasses
You would think it was a Buddy Holly revival with all the retro glasses handed out this year. They were often bright colors (orange, green, purple and blue) and the side of the glasses had the company’s logo on the side. I was partial to this pair from Volusion
. Rave on!
While cotton candy may not be exciting, the way that data visualization company Visual.ly
handed it out was pretty cool. A translucent sticker was placed on the clear container showing the emotion that resulted by the corresponding level of cotton candy. As a person that sometimes enjoy making graphs
, Visual.ly hit home what they do in a fun way.
is the social network for people you don’t know yet; the app runs in the background of your phone and alerts you if people are nearby with similar interests or if your friends are nearby. To help spread the message, Highlight peddled some frozen treats on the streets of Austin, complete with an ice cream truck and pushcarts. A popsicle might not normally make this list, but Highlight was a Godsend to squelch the fire in my mouth after attending the Nuclear Taco event
The best shirt
T-Shirts are in no short supply at SXSW, but finding a cool shirt is another thing entirely. WordPress
stole the show with a shirt that paid homage to the location of the event, looked awesome and was super soft.
The one that got away
, the mobile marketplace that helps connect people to tasks, had a fur covered “TaskVan” during the conference that would hand out shirts, glasses, and fortune cookies. Unfortunately, I just missed out on the fortune cookies, but a woman next to me got one—an elegant box with cool packaging. This was the one swag item that got away.
Garrett Heath blogs for Rackspace and has experience as a technical project manager in the cloud. He enjoys writing about how the cloud is spurring innovation for startups, small businesses, and enterprises. Follow him on Twitter @pinojo, Google+, and App Dot Net @gmh.