SXSW can be quite an overwhelming experience for newbies, as you typically have no idea what to expect until you’ve arrived. This I know first-hand…
The second batch of the Forthea crew drove over to the SXSW Interactive Conference on Sunday afternoon and the streets of Downtown Austin were already packed with geeks, techies, and hipsters. A few days before we took off, I decided to take a peek at the First-Timer’s Guide to SXSW. Although, the post was particularly instructive and informative; the minute I arrived at the Austin Convention Center I was absolutely astonished by how many people were swarming the area, literally and digitally. (I have the Foursquare badge to prove it.) After I had a chance to settle in, I reviewed the panels I’d starred, opened up my Google Map app (only to discover I was right by my favorite crepe café) and got myself together – I was prepared to head out to the panels, solos and keynotes, or so I thought.
Granted, Sunday was a rather exhausting day, as it seemed like I’d been running around comparable to a chicken with its head cut off, by Monday things had started to calm down. Considering one of the panels I had originally planned to attend was full, I decided to rush into what seemed like a sea of iPads, iPhones and MacBook Pros all set up to face a rather impressive panel of four young women entrepreneurs. The panel was incredibly inspiring and I was also introduced to one of the panelists; Victoria Ransom, the Founder and CEO of Wildfire Interactive – a tool we often use here at Forthea.
My first SXSW experience was rather interesting for the reason that it seemed as though the panels I was eager about attending tended to be a bit lack-luster (this Social ROI panel in particular, was reasonably disappointing) and the panels I wasn’t so enthusiastic about had a predisposition to be delightfully informative. All in all my first SXSW experience was indeed a positive one and I look forward to attending again next year – only next year I will be more organized and ready to take SXSW by storm. The conference was not only informative but it was fun as well!
Here are some of my takeaways from this year’s SXSWi Conference:
- Never judge a panel by its title
- Wear comfortable shoes (I came home with a quite few blisters)
- Attend the parties and don’t be afraid to network – you may come home with a plethora of business cards and a few new friends
- Plan ahead – think of everything! From the time you have to wake-up to a prediction of how much traffic you think there will be
Did you make it to SXSWi? Let me know how your experience went in the comment box below!