Decide what sessions to attend ahead of time
There is also an un-official schedule guide from
SCHED that includes many un-official parties, meetups, etc. (also need to register for system to keep
track of your choices).
Decide on 2-3 critical sessions/meet-ups per day and
get to the venue for your top picks early to ensure
you get in.
Treat all the other sessions/meet-ups you want to
attend as secondary choices and be fluid with your
Review all sessions ahead of time in a browser
http://schedule.sxsw.com/ or by downloading an
official SXSW schedule app (iOS & Android). Be sure
to log in to pick your favorites so that the system
remembers your choices.
If you miss a session don’t be afraid to sit in on a
session that is outside of your topics of interest. It
broadens one’s horizons and you get to know 2
Decide how you want to spend your
• There are many, many parties and gettogethers. In order to get in you need to
register ahead of time. Since you don’t know
which party your friends will be hanging out at
you might want to sign up to as many as you
can. Eventbright makes it quick and easy
especially if you have an account with them.
• Some suggest checking out ATXSHHH (For $5
you have access to over 400 parties and RSVP
sites. It also allows you to create a schedule
and receive notifications as new parties are
announced), or RSVPster (for $40) but I relied
on Eventbright myself.
Photo: Ken Yeung
• Don’t forget to download the Eventbright app
to your phone instead of printing out all party
Get your networking plan set ahead of time
• GOAL: If you have not made at least 10 new
or rekindled old connections at SXSW you
have not succeeded.
• Find out who from your network will be in
attendance (ask on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
• Look through SXSW speakers’ list and reach
out to folks you want to connect with.
• Find like-minded individuals and schedule
meet-ups with them ahead of time using
SXSW Social where you can search for
people based on location, industry, expertise
and send them a message. (This feature is
better for discovery. For intros move to
LinkedIn or Twitter.)
• Consider networking at officially sponsored
meet-ups (they are much quieter than
Have your schedule set, but be
Give folks access to your
SXSW calendar so that
they know which sessions
you will be attending
My schedule (still work in
What to do when you get in?
• The first priority should always be
getting your badge at the Convention
Center. If you get there on Thursday or
Friday early morning you’ll have no
trouble. After 11am the crowds will be
huge so get ready to wait in line 2+
• To streamline the registration you may
download your headshot to your SXSW
profile (which will be used as your
picture on the badge website) and
bring your Badge Pickup Quick Code
(printed or email).
Photo: Maxime Guilbot
For your daily trek to & from your
hotel – get the SXSW shuttle pass
(you need patience to ride them,
but it is still the best deal in town)
unless of course you are staying
There are free Festival Shuttles to
take you to different hotels that
run every 5-10 min.
Catch-a-Chevy program offers free
rides to and from events around
downtown Austin. Look for
appropriately marked cars around
the convention center to catch a
Pedi cabs or on foot (make sure
you have your google maps app
installed on your phone)
What to bring with you for the day?
If you are staying far away from the
Convention Center (like I am this
year) you will need some essentials
to help you survive the day
• Comfortable shoes (doh!)
• Layered clothing (+ small
umbrella or rain coat might also
• Business cards (Moo can help if
you don’t have any) and yes, you
will need them.
• Bag/backpack for your gear but
others prefer a more minimalist
approach and pick Runnur).
• Optional: Anything to make an
impression (cowboy hats, boots,
ABC = Always Be Charging
• Charging cable (doh!) for all devices you
will be using (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.).
• A battery booster for your phone (I have
Mophie for my iPhone and thinking
about purchasing The Energy to Go pack
by Energizer for my MacBook Air per
recommendation from Lucid Routes)
• A power cord (very handy if the only plug
in site is taken). You can easily expand
the number of plugs and it is great for
starting a conversation with others while
Photo: George Kelly
• SXSW keynote presentations are
generally very crowded. Don’t be
surprised to see a line to get in starting
to form an hour or more before the
keynote start time. And even if you are
in line ahead of time you might get
turned away due to overcrowding.
• If you don’t want to wait in line to get
into the main keynote hall find out
where the overflow room is at the
Convention Ctr. or watch it in
designated spots throughout SXSW
main hotels. It’s much less crowded
and you can use that time to re-charge
Photo: Kris Krug
Staying in the know!
• APPS: The official SXSW events app,
and the unofficial SCHED app will be
updated throughout the event with
• TWITTER: subscribe to @sxsw
@sxswtweets @RSVPster & more
accounts to follow
• FACEBOOK: Official fan page
• Google+ main page
• INSTAGRAM: main account
Photo: Rusty Blazenhoff
Where to eat?
• There are usually long lines at the
convention center, but you can eat
breakfast there particularly if you get
• There is usually a decent selection of
finger foods in lounges. Some of them
you need to RSVP ahead of time like
the PayPal’s Social Media Lounge
(RSVP here )
• BBQ places
– Franklin BBQ
– Salt Lick
– La Barbecue
Photo: John Biehler
– El Pollo Rico
– Torchy’s Tacos
– Habanero Mexican Cafe
• Add folks to your LinkedIn
connections, follow them on
Twitter, add them to circles, etc.
• Take advantage of all the
content you’ve accumulated.
Share your notes on your blog,
upload pics to Flickr, etc.
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.