SXSW Conference Tips


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What to do, where to go and what to bring to your 2014 #SXSW Festival

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SXSW Conference Tips

  1. 1. Photo: nickmickolas 2014 SXSW Tips by Aneta Hall @anetah +AnetaHall 0
  2. 2. Before you get to Austin 1
  3. 3. 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 schedule. • Photo: stealingsand Review all sessions ahead of time in a browser 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 interesting people.
  4. 4. Decide how you want to spend your evenings • 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 3 sign-up confirmations.
  5. 5. Get your networking plan set ahead of time Photo: ShashiBellamkonda • 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 4 parties).
  6. 6. Have your schedule set, but be flexible Give folks access to your SXSW calendar so that they know which sessions you will be attending My schedule (still work in progress) 303bbd9268db27382db4afe6aaad60260ca 90 5
  7. 7. While you are in Austin 6
  8. 8. 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+ hours. • 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). 7
  9. 9. Getting around • • • • 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 downtown. 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 free ride. Pedi cabs or on foot (make sure you have your google maps app installed on your phone) 8
  10. 10. What to bring with you for the day? Photo: ShashiBellamkonda 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 be necessary) • 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, etc.) 9
  11. 11. ABC = Always Be Charging Bring • 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 charging together. 10 Photo: George Kelly
  12. 12. Keynotes: • 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 devices. Photo: Kris Krug 11
  13. 13. Staying in the know! • APPS: The official SXSW events app, and the unofficial SCHED app will be updated throughout the event with latest changes. • TWITTER: subscribe to @sxsw @sxswtweets @RSVPster & more accounts to follow • FACEBOOK: Official fan page • Google+ main page • INSTAGRAM: main account 12 Photo: Rusty Blazenhoff
  14. 14. Where to eat? • There are usually long lines at the convention center, but you can eat breakfast there particularly if you get there early. • 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 • TexMex Photo: John Biehler – El Pollo Rico – Torchy’s Tacos – Habanero Mexican Cafe 13
  15. 15. After your return from Austin 14
  16. 16. Follow up! • 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. Photo: ~C4Chaos~ 15