A while back I posted my concerns about how SXSW’s programming was a bit off this last year, to my taste. I definitely felt a lack of technical content, felt a lack of intellectual take-aways, etc. I expressed my concerns in the feedback and “Katie” replied thus:

i’m sorry to hear that you did not enjoy the panels overall. we feel like we spend a lot of time helping speakers to prepare for the event and certainly do not encourage the speakers to be “free form” and “spontaneous,” but rather well-prepared and focused. can you please give me more specifics on which panels that you went to and which speakers you felt were not sufficiently prepared? this helps us to know which speakers to invite back next year (and which not to invite).

we have talked a lot in recent years about organizing the panels around specific tracks, like you mentioned. the main reason we have not moved to this system is that we want to retain the flexibility to put what we think will be the most popular panels in the largest rooms. if we have tracks, we lose some of this flexibility. how do we determine which panels are likely to be the most popular? we pull this info from the survey that we send to pre-registered attendees in february. in the program book, each panel was given a rating based on the knowledge level - i.e. beginner to advanced. were you able to make use of these ratings to help better determine which panels you attended? if you have panel ideas, please submit to the online panel picker starting june 2.