How to hack SXSW and the opportunity cost of shiny things

It is 1 day before I head down to South by South West (SXSW) event in Austin Texas. To say I am excited is an understatement as this is my bucket-list event but from South Africa, SXSW is not on the usual media circuit.

Over the past several weeks I have been planning my game-plan for the event. This is clearly one of those“if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” type of events as there is just so much going on at the same time that FOMO sufferers beware – it is going to be “organised-chaos”.

I don’t want to be sucked into that vortex and so I break down SXSW into two missions:

Mission 1 – gain knowledge

The Mission Aim: gain an understanding of how things wok in the US. Who is doing what? who are the influencers? who is making it big and getting it right? Who is changing the game?  In order to get those answers, I need to attend several sessions. As sessions happen simultaneously across varied locations, I need to shift through the colorful presentations titles and bios  and hand pick the ones that make the most sense in answering my own questions.

The  Mission Tactic: There are too many sessions to digest each one and make a decision. Therefore I use the SXSW Schedule tool to pick the ones that are interesting for me and I “star” them. At this point I am not looking for what is conflicting with what as I am just getting a short list.

Once I have my list, then I look at my day’s schedule and see where I have multiple sessions at the same time. I now only have to delve into those and make a decision on which one to attend. This is much more digestible and I can get a line up that works.

Mission 2 – Connection & Network

The Mission Aim: get to connect with people and companies who I can add value to and who can add value to me. Being new in the US has the advantage of seeing everything with fresh eyes, not being incumbent by history so I can make my own judgment and decision.

The  Mission Tactic: SXSW is where people, companies, authors, developers, engineers, start-ups, VC, producers, artists, marketers, brands all mix together looking for amazing opportunities.  I know that everyone else at the same conference is going to be vying for the big-hitters attention so I have to come up with some ideas of how to cut through the clutter and be memorable.

In my research I found this video from Tim Ferris (whose book the 4-hour work week changed my life). In the video Tim gives tips and pointers of how to win at SXSW but these tips can be used at any gathering and well worth watching:

Come hang-out:

Its all about Opportunity Cost (probably the only phrase I remember from Economics as University). Opportunity Cost is the what you loose out on because you chose to do something else. So if I want to make changes to my schedule to allow for interviews/ distractions then I weigh up the Opportunity Cost of doing that – what will I miss if I go and see this shiny thing and is it worth it?

I am looking forward to checking out the Mashbale House, riding the URB-E, interviewing some really cool people and absorbing the scene for the Blog, YouTube and Podcast.

So if you want to join in the madness that is SXSW follow me on:

I am charging all my devices and battery packs and hope that the power-that-be provide decent internet/ wi-fi/ 4G…

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