SWSX hack – predicting how crowded a session will be

SWSX hack – predicting how crowded a session will be: Last night, I decided to wade through the intimidating SXSW panel lineup to get a sense of which panels I might attend. To help cope with the paradox of choice, I used a “toolbox” feature on the SXSW website that allows users to create a customized calendar of the sessions they’d like to attend. After creating it, I synch’d it to iCal.

In addition to giving me a nice graphical display of all of the sessions I chose, I noticed that the iCal comments frame displays how many people have added the event (session) to their calendars. While this does not reveal how many people will actually attend a session (for example, I’ve double-booked several sessions and I’m sure only a fraction of attendees are using the calendar feature), it nevertheless should be an indicator of the relative interest in different sessions taking place at the same time.

By the way, the most “added to calendar” sessions I’ve chosen (as of Friday evening when I synch’d up last) is the Jim Coudal/Jason Fried Opening Remarks, which 323 people had added to their calendars.

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