Monday, March 12, 2012

A Newbie at SxSW

My first South by Southwest Interactive conference is quickly coming to a close. Right now, you’re probably really jealous or you’re scratching your head asking, “What’s South by Southwest.”

I easily have a month’s worth of blog posts on all the awesome sessions I’ve attended, but I thought I kick off the SxSW content with my reflections as a SxSW newbie.

  • The sessions I thought would be most relevant to work often weren’t. The sessions I thought would just be fun almost all turned out to be incredibly relevant to work. The sessions I thought would be both were. Fun learning is the best learning, and I got lots of it here.
  • I expected SxSW to be full of pompous self-promoting posers selling their G+ (social media gadgety that no one cares about). Maybe it was the sessions I picked, but jerky jerks were few and far between. I almost exclusively met really awesome, genuine, friendly people who were just as excited to be here to learn as I was.
  • Launches are awesome, and I feel so lucky to have stumbled into one. More on that later.
  • SxSW is like a mini nation that takes over downtown Austin. I feel like I should have brought my passport. I expected a bit of local resentment, but Austin seems happy and welcoming. As it should be, SxSW pours $6M+ into the Austin economy.

Lessons Learned

  • Evidently, we call it “South By.” Once here, you are officially too cool to finish the names of things.
  • Don’t bother chasing the free food and drinks; it’s not worth it. When it happens, it’s a nice surprise. Maybe the seasoned participants are better at working this into the schedule than I was, but I just wanted to take it all in, not wait in a two-block line for a taco.
  • Everything you know about other conferences goes double: plan, but go with flow; take time to meet people; and wear comfy shoes. Who are these crazies in stilettos? They are more woman than me evidently, and being Austin, they probably weren’t all women.

So which category did you fall into, jealous or “South by wha…?”


The Naked Wife said...

Jealous. So. Jealous.

muddypebbles said...

jealous, looking forward to "south by" tales! :)