On two separate occasions this week, I observed buzz surfacing about things that I had experienced for the first time about a quarter ago. I am beginning to wonder whether there is something significant to this 3 month time period.
I participated in this on a lark, while SxSWi was going on in force and really enjoyed the experience.
Birds of Feather (BOF) sessions have always been popular at Technical Conferences, and I've always felt that these were typically the most (and sometimes the only) valuable parts. Running an entire conference as a set of BOFs seemed to be a next logical step.
Then last year, I heard the Java Posse describe their Roundup, during their Podcast. It was the first time that I heard the words Open Space and Unconference. I was a little surprised then to see Seth Godin propose the idea a few days ago. He is usually one of the earliest adopters and has appeared as a TED speaker (which is at least in the right neighborhood). Needless to say, I think Open Space will begin to make inroads everywhere.
In an equally odd and coincidental fashion, I started seeing tweets and blurbs on Bob Lefsetz's site talking about Live from Daryl's House. This show was heavily marketed at SxSW Music this year, and I agree that it is amazing. I've been watching it regularly since first hearing about it. I am somewhat amused by the fact that I would have never considered my self a big Daryl Hall fan in the past.
The timing of this seems to indicate a pattern. BTW, check out the recent episode with Nick Lowe and Daryl!
I think the confluence of people and ideas here in Austin during SxSW, is a major catalyst. I don't believe that it's the breeding ground, but it is certainly a place where you can first observe the early adopters using new things in the wild. Of course, there's a jaded part of me that has tended to scoff at the value of SxSW, because some parts of it seem so commercialized (and political). The impact of the event seems obvious now.
This has led me to the conclusion that I should continue to keep my eye on certain new things in the Tech Industry. Right now, I am fascinated with the Ruby community and what is being done with cloud computing, github, and heroku. I'm sure they will be very prominent at Bar Camp Austin IV.