SXSW: Let’s Do ThisA Barbarian’s guide to being @ SXSW in 2011 1
Barbarians Going to SXSW✤ Benjamin Palmer ✤ Erica Kung✤ Rick Webb ✤ Tiffany Dickson✤ Stephanie Smeriglio ✤ Claudia Allwood✤ Chandler McWilliams ✤ Jessie Rauch✤ Colin Nagy ✤ Lexi Peters✤ Chet Gulland ✤ Zoe Chen✤ Jay Zasa ✤ Rye Clifton (he lives there!)✤ Justin Baum ✤ Dom & Chris (on vacation!)✤ Jim DiStefano ✤ GE contractors✤ Philip Stockton ‣ Ben Olander✤ Lexy Apostalou ‣ Tomas Apodaca 2
Barton Creek Hotel and Spa (don’t worry Downtown: it’s not as far as it looks - Nearly everything at Austin is small. SXSW happens here But it’s remote. Plan accordingly.) East Austin (ie, East of I-35)South Congress SXSW is Expanding(aka the cool area ths wayand where peoplehang when SXSW’s Airportnot happening.Some events maybe in this area) 4
Mohawk (Our Party)Furthest Red River & E 10thEast that SixtMost of the h St reetOfficial - th em ain To east crazStuff is At y dr ag o f Austin Aus More grungy. Some tin & SXS parties and events and W bars GE Carousel E 3rd & Congress, SW corner Austin CNN House Hilton Firefox Icecream San Jacinto & E3rd Truck Moving target downtown prolly outside the Convention Four Seasons Center convention center during the day - say hi 6 Ben, Rick + 5
Enter Here Hilton Cabs Client Presence in Convention Center: Aquent: Trade Show AOL: Studio Samsung: Media Wall (4th fl) Samsung: Blogger Lounge - 19AB 7The Convention Center
Background✤ SXSW is three conferences: Music, Film and Interactive. Interactive runs weekend of March 10th, Music the following weekend, and Film spans across both weekends.✤ SXSW interactive was launched in 1995 as the SXSW Multimedia conference. In 1999 it became the SXSW interactive conference (and, god help me, I was there).✤ It has, since its launch, become the one place where the entire internet comes together in one giant convention. 8
Background✤ 2010 marked the first year that Interactive became the largest of the three conferences, surpassing the 23 year old Music conference with over 14,000 registered attendees (never mind those who don’t register).✤ With the current dot com bubble (#3 baby!), SXSW interactive looks to be even bigger this year.✤ Despite a price raise, SXSW is estimating an increase in attendance of as much as 30%, for a possible attendance level of 20,000 or so, including those who are unregistered.✤ In short, it’s going to be a total shit show.✤ It is also an extraordinary opportunity.✤ We need to be ready. 9
What to expect✤ Masses of people, every one of them working in digital (and the occasional film geek - some, but little overlap)✤ You can run into the founder of a major web company next to an unknown blogger next to the dude who runs IT for Morgan Stanley✤ Remember: more than half of the people here are not from New York or SF. They don’t know all these companies, they have never met these people, and they will find you and us very interesting.✤ Also: there are 7,000 people who have never been there before, and probably around 10,000 people who have been there one or fewer times. Lots of people will be looking for company and not knowing what they’re doing.✤ Let’s be friendly! 10
Getting Around✤ Downtown you can walk most everywhere - it’s about a 30 minute walk from La Zona Rosa (southwesternmost venue) to the Mohawk (northeasternmost)✤ There are also an army of pedicabs to take you anywhere downtown - they work for tips. Tip ‘em $10-15 for a trip clear across town, proportional to that for partial tips. They don’t give receipts. We’ll allow you to expense these, just keep track of what you’re doing.✤ Cabs from downtown to the Barton Creek Resort are easy to get, except around bar closing time (2AM). If you’re waiting for a cab @ 2AM, expect maybe 30 minutes to find one. Best to congregate around Congress or Brazos. Daytime there are lots of cabs @ the convention center. Also try the Hilton or Driskill lobby for doormen to hail them for you.✤ Consider leaving @ 1:30 for Barton Springs or sticking downtown till 3. 11
The Convention Center✤ The convention center is the source of the action from morning till about 5-6 PM. If you have a badge, and you’re not working w/one our clients, lunching with one of our clients, hanging with one of our clients or finding more clients, you should be there*.✤ Convention extends into the Austin Hilton, that big tall building next door. (Do not confuse this with the Hilton Garden Inn, further downtown).✤ The convention center is the easiest, best place to randomly run into amazing people, and to find your friends & clients during the day. * “finding new clients” by randomly picking a bar and drinking margaritas all day 13 does not count. Nor does it work. I’ve tried.
The Trade Show✤ The convention center also has a Trade Show. This is easy to miss as it’s on a different floor than the panels, but due to the sheer number of people in the convention center, actually a lot of people see it.✤ Our client Aquent is in the trade show on Monday. Please go see them and say hi, at least once, even if you don’t work with them. It will be funny and kind. 14
The Keynotes*✤ Every day there is a keynote for the day, in a giant conference room plus spillover rooms that hold thousands.✤ These are usually @ the Hilton, but who knows this year. It’s usually like 4ish in the afternoon.✤ Keynote speakers this year: ‣ Seth Priebatsch, CEO of SCVNGR. Might be good. ‣ Moot of 4Chan/Canv.as. Don’t miss this. ‣ Actress Felicia Day. Will probably be cute but who knows! ‣ Blake Mycoskie - founder of Toms Shoes. Don’t miss. ‣ Bruce Sterling - Wired writer, novelist, will probably be the big one of the conference. Is super smart and if you’ve never seen him, go.✤ Might be fun to pick a place in the keynote and all of us sit together, but it gets crowded. * I am totally writing about keynotes in keynote. 15
Panels✤ There are panels all day, every day, of interactive - maybe 20 at a time every hour, so about 150 a day.✤ Go to the panels of your clients and companies we want to have be clients.✤ Tweet that you are there, tweet about it.✤ A panel is usually 4-5 people who sit up front and generally haven’t prepared much but are usually smart so it’s often worth it. If they’re obviously not (and it happens), feel free to panel skip.✤ Panels are followed by Q&As. They are the most painful thing about SXSW. Endure them if the panelist is a client.✤ Sit in the front row if you know the person. Make them feel important.✤ After the panel, do a quick hello and ask what they’re up to later - at that moment they can only spare a second or two for each person chatting with them. 16
Stalking Clients✤ Your clients are going to be busy, and they are going to be overwhelmed. They probably won’t have time for a lunch with you. You can ask - once - but do it casually, and if they say no, don’t press it.✤ The better approach is to ask them where they’ll be, what they’re up to, and show up if it’s appropriate. This works especially well during the day for panels and other events. It also shows you’re interested in what they’re interested in. And you can usually grab a bite after that panel, introduce them to someone, etc.✤ We’ll be passing out a list of all our clients with their names, photos, emails and twitter handles if they have them. 18
Stalking Clients (continued)✤ If your client’s a first timer and seems lonely, try and be their buddy - maybe grab a dinner with them or go on an evening adventure of trying to crash some parties, giving up, and drinking together at a bar.✤ Consider meeting them @ The GE Carousel so they can see what awesome stuff we do.✤ Don’t ask them for favors - getting you into parties, getting you into where they are, etc. Rather try and be helpful, just be there, etc.✤ Networking and schmoozing at SXSW is a chaotic affair - much of it happens by chance or luck. Everyone’s triple booked. Don’t sweat it if they can’t do a lunch or dinner. 19
The Nights✤ The nights are INSANE. There are a million parties, and you will not hit them all. There will be the “coolest” party of the night and you’ll probably want to go to it and you probably won’t get in. DO NOT WORRY.✤ The secret truth is that the coolest parties aren’t actually cooler than five dudes drinking at an empty bar on Sixth street, and you can often meet very interesting people that way. I met the CD of iTunes that way, and we’ve been friends for years. 21
The Nights (continued)✤ When in doubt, either: ‣ Go to one of the main official parties listed in your guide (if you have a badge) - this is where all the brands probably all are anyway ‣ Go to random bar with one other Barbarian and just start taking to everyone with a badge. It will almost always be rewarding.✤ What we do not want to see*: ten Barbarians all drinking in the same bar, all only with themselves. We can do that in New York or SF. * Exception for the team that works all day on the GE installation. You’ve done your 22 work, have a good evening and enjoy it.
XXXX Bar✤ XXXX is a punkish dive bar at XXX that is, generally speaking, not too crowded during SXSW. And it has a “patio”✤ Last year, I had great success turning its back patio into a makeshift party - plop down at a table and start inviting people on Foursquare until it fills up.✤ Though I’ve got to hit a lot of parties, odds are good I’ll try this again this year. I’m into avoiding the parties and trying for a medium sized mix of people.✤ There’s a possibility, of course, that this year XXXX will be overrun. If so, I’ll find a different empty bar to use. I am secretly good at this.✤ But for now, consider when in doubt bringing someone there or by all means join if I check in there. 23
Our party✤ Our party is Sunday, March 13 at the Mohawk, at Red River and E 10th.✤ Now in its fourth year, our party has established itself as one of the big parties of the Conference. This is good for branding but makes the party insanely popular and crowded. Lines form down the street.✤ That night, we’re working. We don’t get too hammered till the coast is clear.✤ Come at the beginning of the party, if not before, and stay through it, unless a clear client opportunity arises.✤ Be findable. It’s a great opportunity to introduce random Barbarians not on a client to the clients and show the breadth of our talent.✤ It will be absurdly crowded, we’ll lose touch, early and late are the best times for networking - easy on the booze until 1ish. 24
Social Media✤ Social Media is our safety net✤ If you’re not already, sign up for Foursquare and make sure all the Barbarians going are your friends.✤ This is not optional, and it will save you. Promise.✤ Check in everywhere you go and say what you’re doing there. Feel free to check in to individual panels (though there is debate about the geekiness level of this, but we’re at a geek conference so whatever).✤ Tweet what you’re doing. It will feel geeky, but just do it.✤ When you get back, Blog about it. This is not optional. 25
Work back at the office.✤ The convention center is wired and powered (and so is our GE carousel!)✤ Bring your laptop to panels, answer email as the panel progresses (I like to do it during the Q&A) or while waiting for the next one to start.✤ Try to reasonably keep up with your work. The last thing you want is a giant pile when you get home.✤ If there’s an emergency and you need to stay @ the hotel and jam on stuff, that should be fine but be warned: hotel Wi Fis are often overloaded and useless.✤ Last year, AT&T made a major effort to bring 3G and it worked. Will they do that this year? Unknown. Assume 3G will be down. Wi Fi is strong @ the convention center. 26
Expensing✤ Everything reasonable will be expensed.✤ We are working with a per diem level of $50 a day plus what you can save receipts for. ‣Beers are like a buck or two so this isn’t unreasonable.✤ Save your receipts for other stuff✤ Exceptions made for important client activities, try and get a receipt, but if you can’t, a Foursquare checkin with that person will work. 27
What to Pack✤ Packing for SXSW, a Woman’s Guide, by Brooke Moreland of Fashism✤ SXSW packing tips, by a nerdy guy, Tantek Çelic of microformats.org 28
Scheduling✤ Check out sched.org for the largest unofficial schedule✤ Lanyard.com for a great quick list of panelists✤ Also - your badge gives you access to a printed book of the whole schedule - grab it, save it, use it. 3G, Cell and Wi-Fi are perilous (WiFi is good in the convention center). 29
That’s it!Learn, have fun, socialize. But remember we’re there for work. Ten otherBarbarians asked to go and we had to turn them down. Please make thisproductive for us by doing awesome work for the clients, keeping our clientshappy, finding new ones and blogging about the things you’ve learned. 30
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