South By South West Interactive was, in a word, epic, especially as a n00b and a non-road warrior. This is what I learned in (almost) chronological order:
- Choose your seatmate well for the flight into Austin – This way, you’re at SXSW even before you land. Mine was Scott Heiferman, CEO of Meetup.com who is an all-round nice guy. Bonus: see if you can get your plane turned around 30 minutes into the flight due to cabin pressure issues to ensure maximum face time and fear of dying.
- Get some rest – have the airline lose your luggage. You can fritter away your first day pottering around your hotel room in your travel clothes and not unpack your things.
- Party “plans” – treat them with the same disrespect as you do your business plans. Roll with the posse you find.
- Shatter your iphone – it makes for a great icebreaker, pun intended (“what the hell happened?”, “how does that thing still work?”, “HOLY CRAP! I HEARD ABOUT THAT PHONE”) Photo credit: Evan Blaustein
- Run into Sean Power randomly and frequently – highly recommended.
- Use a car service – Just because you call a cab doesn’t mean it has neccessarily been dispatched (512-573-2486)
- Have DJs rock your world – namely Flosstradamus (Chicago), Wants Versus NeedsTable Manners Crew (Austin represent!)
- Drink early, Drink often – It takes effort to avoid drinking at SXSW so why fight it? Stumbleupon party and Cheezburger party were both excellent. Driskill has great beef jerky (thanks Aidan
- Gatorade – the true breakfast of champions
- Talk about something other than tech – entertain people with videos of your dog Boomer! (thanks John!)
- Panels – ignore the title, research the speakers (thanks Stevey!) and/or go to things you know NOTHING about and expand your mind (thanks David!). If you’re on a panel, encourage people to participate by offering them free beer (thanks Grace!)
- Warm up your vocal chords if you’re going to a panel with Tara Hunt. She will probably make you sing and dance. You’ll appreciate the energy boost it gives you.
- Bring a Sharpie – you never know when you might need one.
- Extend your stay – have your homeward bound flight canceled due to technical issues and stay in Austin an extra day. Don’t forget to cancel your next day’s meetings! Bonus: try to be stranded with David Dufresne (what a mensch!) and hit the music festival. Super Bonus: make sure it coincides with St. Patrick’s Day and watch the chaos reign!
- Duct tape – bring it or buy it at 7/11. Your choice.
But enough about me though. How was your week?