Sneak Geek

Marcus Lillington

Marcus shares some thoughts about our upcoming trip to SXSW.

I’ve really been looking forward to SXSW this year. I think it has something to do with familiarity with the whole event and also that Paul and I will be doing a little more than sitting in the audience (and bars).

So, it’s my third year. Does that mean I can say ‘southby’ now instead of the interminable south-by-south-west? I hope so.

Does it mean I can call myself a geek? No chance.

Other than making me feel old (which I honestly don’t care about), being at SXSW does give me a sense that I’m out of place.

In some ways I am a geek, but none of them to do with webs and internets. Following my career as a musician, and the advent of ‘proper’ jobs, I have, and let’s make no bones about it, been a salesman. Salesman is such a dirty word. It’s the complete opposite of ‘cool’ and in no way geeky at all.

I’m not suggesting I don’t have a role within the agency I work for, far from it. I like to think of myself as the person that interfaces (oh god, did I say ‘interface’) with people who are even less web-savvy than I am. This undoubtedly works. I have been blessed with enough intelligence to listen to people like Mr Boag and relay his words of wisdom, often making recommendations based on business objectives, in ways that potential (and existing) clients understand.

I’m likely to get shot down here but, usability is largely common sense and I’ve got bags of that too. But can I do design? No. Can I do any coding of any kind? No. Therefore, I am not a geek.

Ah yes, but geeks aren’t cool. Not like musicians are cool.

So, the SXSW music conference has got to be the real place to be right? I never attended it during my pop days, but, way back in early 90s I did go to MIDEM in Cannes which is the European equivalent. This event was frequented mostly by music business tossers (apologies) who were about as far away from ‘cool’ as you can get and I have a sneaking suspicion that the SXSW music conference is similar.

Conclusion: geeks are cool. Rock stars? No, probably not but the vast majority of the geeks I have met are conscientious, innovative people that really want to make some kind of difference. And, for the most part, very entertaining speakers.
Like I said, I’m really looking forward to southby this year.