South By Southwest (SXSW) is upon us where thousands of technophiles, film-buffs and musicians converge and mix in an Love-Thy-Neighbour-Hipster-Like kinda way around the Austin Convention Center.
For those who have no idea what I am talking about, SXSW Conference and Festivals is an annual 9-day event (this year celebrating its 31st year) held in Austin, Texas. What makes this conference unique is that it is made up of three conferences: Film, Music, and Interactive (ie tech). This year, attendees will have access to all conferences provided space is available as priority will be given those badge holders who signed up for that event. This should add to the madness of SXSW ! Oh and the events are not restricted to the Convention Center but they span to several surrounding hotels too. And you better come to party too as the bars, clubs, parties (official and unofficial) are there to be enjoyed when the convention shuts down every day at 6pm.
|Scenes of the SXSW madness:
Here are some tips on how to survive SXSW 2017:
- Dress to be comfortable – it’s hot. You are surrounded by thousands of people. You are moving from room to room, session to session, building to building. Leave the corporate suite and tie/ formal dress at home and wear whatever you are comfortable in.
- Shoes – see point 1. Wear shoes that won’t kill your feet. Yes, those boots are stunning, but SXSW is more Converse/ Sneaker type event then high-heels and leather shoes.
- Rain – it might rain. It might not. I raise it here as when it rains in Austin, it pours and pours and pours.
- Backpack – bring a small backpack and not one of those that you carry over one shoulder (your shoulder will hurt like hell if you do).
- Food and Water – with all the excitement, sessions, networking you tend to forget to eat and drink. Before you know it, it’s 6pm and the only thing you had was breakfast at the hotel. This is going to kill your mood when the headaches start and your body starts fighting back. Make time to grab some food between sessions and drink as often as you can.
- Meds – bring headache tablets and band aids. A small thing like a cut on your hand or a splitting headache can ruin your SXSW day.
- Plan and Backup Plan – make sure you have a plan of what sessions you want to attend and most importantly where they are. Not every session is in the convention center – some might be at other hotels so ensure you know not only which room but which venue. Allow for walking-time between sessions so that you aren’t arriving hot and sweaty having just run 3 miles. Sometimes the sessions will be full, so have alternative sessions as a backup plan so you aren’t standing outside wondering what the heck is on now and where…
- Network – of course bring business cards to network.
- Open Mind – sometimes we attend conferences and just focus on what we know and stick to the tracks within out immediate comfort zone. SXSW has the opportunity to explore unique speakers across a wide range of topics. Make room in your schedule to attend some sessions on topics you have no knowledge of. It’s cool to stretch yourself and open your mind to new opportunities.
- Have Fun – now that sounds obvious but we tend to forget to chill and take it in. That’s the beauty of SXSW – it’s not a copy-and-paste of the same people from the same industry. The saying is “keep Austin Weird” so be weird for a couple of days and hang with people from across the world. Even the Weird ones.
See you there!
check out my SXSW 2016 feedback: