I know there are multiple guides to SXSW (South by Southwest) but since I always plan ahead my days in Austin, I am sharing a few things I found useful and might be useful to you. (Last update March 3, 2013 7:14 PM AST)
- Getting the best SXSW Experience
- My Version of the Rule of Three
- 3 Parties I plan to Attend
- Places to Eat at SXSW
- How to Connect with People
- What do to if Arriving Early?
- Tips for the First Timer
- Must have Apps for SXSW
- Gadgets that will make your life easier
- More SXSW Guides and Posts
- Neat SXSW Info-graphics
- How I got Sponsors for my 2012 SXSW Trip
Getting the best SXSW Experience
During 2011 and 2012 the two occasions I attended SXSWi I quickly learned that to make the best of your SXSW experience you have to be agile and also go with the flow of what is happening around you. The first year I missed a few sessions the second session I missed even more for mainly the same reason. So many conversations start and where initiated with people that shared common interests.
When you have the opportunity to talk with individuals like Tony Hsieh, Gary Vaynerchuk, C.C. Chapman, Julien Smith, Steve Garfield, Wayne Kurtzman, and Guy Kawasaki even if it is for a few minutes or seconds it might be worth skipping a session or two. This year I am planning to make sure I get to a few more sessions than last year so I am following C.C. Chapman’s advice on planning ahead of time for the conference.
My Version of the Rule of Three
During the 5 days I think I will stick with my version of the Rule of Three that I learned on a post by the Austin Eavesdropper. I will attend at least one Session I want to go too, one meet-up, and one Party. I have to say I will try to stick to this one this year. Do you have a plan or strategy? I will keep my simple since doing things in threes makes it easier to handle.
3 Parties I would like to Attend
There are plenty of Parties and Meetups I have created my list of 3 parties (down from last year’s 5) I want to go to. I am sure once I am their I get to decide where else I will go.
- State of Now – 140 Conference Party
- Copyblogger Presents: Another Indelicate Diversion
- Rackspace MVP Party SXSW
Places to Eat at SXSW
If your not vegan their will be plenty of places to eat here are a few inexpensive options if you will be on the go. A few resources to find where to eat.
How to connect with People
There are multiple ways for you to connect while at the conference.
Last year in 2012 Google Plus helped me to meet new people and keep track of those that where at #SXSW. I created a circle last year and I am currently building a 2013 one. So if you are going feel free to comment with your Google + profile link so I can include you.
Twitter Advanced Search
Twitter took off when it was initially used at #SXSW. The first year I got some great advice on creating a query of people around the SXSW Venues Zip Code to keep track of conversations of those chatting about #SXSW around me.
If you click the image above you can easily get a link to the twitter advanced search with the Hashtag #SXSW from people tweeting within 10 miles of Austin. If you want to customize it a bit more feel free to go to Twitter’s Advanced Search and choose the options that fit your needs.
Another option is creating a list of people that you want to connect with at SXSW. I try to update that list once I meet someone so I can connect with them again during the conference. If you know of any lists feel free to share with me in the comments area. Here is a list of people I have met during the SXSWi conference.
There will be various HIRLs (Hangout in Real Life) these are meetups where instead of hanging out via Google Plus you will meet people who mainly use the Google+ platform in real life
Lanyrd will help find twitter contacts that will be at the conference attending and/or speaking. Might be a great opportunity to get to know any twitter contacts you have not met in real life yet.
Stop and jump into the conversation
My first year I learned a few things from Pablo Tirado who will be assisting this year too. He would connect with people on the street. One of my favorite places know people I did the same at the Samsung bloggers lounge last year where I got to meet some awesome people like Pamela Hernandez, Nicole Simon, Hugh Macleod, Steve Garfield, and Jonathan Brewer. I met the creative minds of Lanyrd Natalie and Simon while waiting to be seated at the Iron Cactus.
What to do if arriving Early?
The first year I arrived a day before which helped me get my badge without a huge line. This year as I did last year will get their two days before. Make sure I get some rest from my long flight, get lost in Downtown Austin, and meet up with early arrivers. Here are two events on the day before the SXSW Interactive starts:
I can relate very well with how overwhelming it can be to a first timer to absorb the Chaos activity. I wrote a post on my experience last year and what do expect. But on the other side I compare this experience as to when I was going to Boot Camp in Fort Knox Kentucky when I joined the army no matter how much advice other veterans and soldier sgave me it was an overwhelming first few weeks. To make sure you enjoy the most of the conference try to pick up your badge as early as possible and register your information on the SXSW.com site so the process is faster and you don’t have to wait in line for hours. Some Tips on Preparing:
- 8 Tips on Preparing for SXSW by @WayneNH
- SXSW 1st Timer Quick Guide
- First-Timer’s Guide to SXSW by SXSW.com
- Beginner’s Guide to Attending SXSW by Jeff Moriarty
- A First-Timer’s Guide to SXSW Interactive [Tips from the Veterans] thanks to Alexandra Gibson for sharing
Must Have apps for SXSW?
I caught a pretty awesome list via Google Plus by Barry Teoh where even Robert Scoble chipped in a few ideas and suggestions. Here is the G+ post (updated) and below is the list of the new apps I found interesting (see the full list here). Last year I had also created a post on apps that I will try to update in the coming days.
- Eventbrite – find events nearby to RSVP too.
- Evernote Hello – Business card replacement app (as well as Social CRM). I still carry cards but I plan to do so in a very limited quantity for traditional purposes.
- Gauss [iOS]
- Meetup (company)
- sonar [iOS]
- foodspotting [iOS/Windows Phone/Android/Blackberry]
- forkly [iOS]
- Localmind [iOS and also iPad]
- Highlight ( [iOS/Android]]
- Glassmap [iOS/Android]
- Qrious – [Mobile Web]
- Roamz 2.0
Gadgets that will make your Life Easier
I will be creating a future post on gadgets that make my life easier during the conference. If you want to share a few feel free to add them below or contact me directly. If you want to receive the future Gadgets that will make your life easier at SXSW post directly into your email inbox please sign up to my email Newsletter.
Other Guides and Posts that might help you get ready.
- Guide to SXSWi 2012: An Experiment on Pinterest by Esteban Contreras
- SXSW Expert Advice: The One Thing You Need to Remember by Nick Westergaard
- The two hottest apps you’ll “run into” at SXSW by Robert Scoble
- The Definitive Digital Author’s Guide to SXSW 2012 by Evo Terra
- Top 10 SXSW Guides for 2012
- The Austin Chronicle Guide to SXSW by Austin Chronicle
- The Unofficial SXSW Insider’s Guide by SXSWInsider
- Unofficial SXSWi Session Guide by Lanyrd
- Austin Neurotic’s Guide to SXSW by Austin Eavesdropper
- Citizen Taco’s Essential SXSW Guide
- The A-Z of SXSW 2012 by Long Straws
- Unofficial SXSW Guide by Sched.org
- SXSW Survival Guide by GSD&M
- SXSurvival: 10 Tips for SXSWi 2012 by Alix McAlpine
- 4 Ways to Help You Survive #SXSWi 2012, From a Veteran by Josette Rigsby
- #SXSW 2012 Film and Interactive Photo & Video Policies by Steve Garfield
- 5 Lessons From my 1st #SXSW Interactive by me
- Yes I’m Going to SXSW, But Not to Your Party by C.C. Chapman
- SXSW 1st Timer Quick Guide by me
Neat SXSW Info-Graphics
10 Things do to by Edelman Digital at SXSW
Although as a responsible Vegan I recommend staying away from #2 maybe substitute it with having a Vegan Lunch with your Vegetarian and Vegan friends sounds a lot more inclusive than leaving your vegan friends out. Source
Don’t Text and Walk while at #SXSW
I do see this often at conferences but in SXSW some people don’t really enjoy their surrounding and are too busy tweeting, texting, or emailing away. Chris Yates shared the following funny video created by him and the team at Huddle Productions. Take a look at it if you think it is funny just relax for a few minutes while at the conference and observer those around you that can’t disconnect from their phone.
Don’t Become a Business Card Ninja
The only individual that looks cool flipping business cards is the following guy in the video. If you don’t have his skills then I highly recommend you only share your business cards if someone actually requests one. Even then I would try to look at some cards that allow people to get to know you better like the Meet-Meme Cards.
Any others we should add?
What is your plan?
Feel free to add me on Google+ or twitter @rj_c and let me know if you will be at SXSW.