It is that time of year once again when tens of thousands of geeks, musicians, filmmakers, organizations and brands descend on Austin, Texas for the annual SXSW conference.
To call it simply a conference doesn't even begin to describe the experience of spending any amount of time in Austin between March 8th and 17th.
I wouldn't miss it for the world and while my stay is shorter than in years past, I wanted to let you know where to find me and share a few tips for getting the most out of your time there.
In the past you've read how I rarely go to any of the parties. They are big, loud and insane. The lines will be long and you should be prepared to wait quite some time for the bigger ones. Every year you'll hear people complaining about the lines. Accept them or don't attend.
The shear volume of attendees is overwhelming and it is easy to get lost in the waves of people. You need to plan ahead to make the most of your time in Austin.
The schedule this year contains so many great sessions that you've got to make sure to put the ones you don't want to miss on your calendar and then plan around them.
Don't forget that the second you arrive in town you should pick up your badge. I always check into my hotel and then promptly head over to the convention center to get my badge. The process of picking up your badge is easily the worst part about SXSW and if you wait you could find yourself in line for hours just waiting to get your badge. Go early!
Finally, don't forget your comfortable shoes because you'll be doing plenty of walking and you need to leave earlier than you could ever imagine to get to where you want to go in time. Sessions fill up and they do close the doors so don't miss out.
If you need some more advice , this video I made three years ago still holds true.
So, where will you find me during my days in Austin?
I try to keep an open schedule for the most part, but there are a few events that I know I won't be missing. If you definitely want to see me try making it to one of these:
- Amazing Things Will Happen Brunch sponsored by Vocus
- Amazing Things Will Happen book reading followed by signing at the SXSW Bookstore
- Wiley Author Party
- AllHat V
As you can see, I don't commit to much because I know how crazy it is and prefer to go with the flow. Plus, I've got some client meetings and other private gatherings that will keep me busy.
I'd love to meet as many people as possible and as always I'm looking to connect with brands and organizations who might want to hire me. The best way to reach me is via text. My number is 508-241-1062, but don't call as I rarely answer.
Austin is a great city and I hope that while you are in town you take the time to see some of it. At a minimum make your way down South Congress to all the food trailers because the city has announced they are doing away with them after the conference. It is sad news and who knows, maybe we can help change their minds.
You are going to meet amazing people. Hallway magic will happen. One moment you'll be headed to a session and the next you'll find yourself on a photo walk or at a rooftop concert. Embrace that you can't do everything and you'll have a much better experience.
Part of what makes SXSW special to me is the chaos of it all. Last year the weather didn't want to play along, so keep your fingers crossed it does this year.
See you at SXSW!