SXSW Conference Tips

I will be attending SXSW in just a few weeks. While this isn’t my first time, I’ve only been able to get there once before. Since this event is so huge, I sort of feel like a newb! There is a lot to see and do while at this conference, and I know that many people are confused as heck about what to do, where to go, and who to see! This guide done by C.C. Chapman is sure to help all of us figure out what’s what while we’re in Texas!

During my last trip to SXSW, I was fortunate to be able to talk with Hugh Forest, the Executive Director of the event. It’s always good to get the perspective of the person responsible for building a show like SXSW to get a sense for where the conference came from and where it’s headed in the future. The podcast version of that discussion is still available in my archives – along with the rest of my articles from that week.

The biggest piece of advice that C.C. has for us is that if we’re going to try and set up any type of meeting, do it over breakfast. Since there is so much going on at all times, breakfast seems to be the only time of the day you can really control to your advantage. People are awake, they’re ready to go… and they’re usually willing to talk. At the end of the day, they’re tired, their nerves are shot, and you’re not going to get very good information (or video footage!).

Another piece of advice that he has is to leave your laptop in the hotel, and pack for the day as light as you can. The conference center itself is unbelievably HUGE. There is going to be a lot of walking, and you don’t want to bog yourself down. Do your back a favor – don’t lug around a lot of equipment today. Keep your phone on you, yes… and perhaps a small video recorder. Beyond that, just be comfortable!

Make sure you take the time to say hello to everyone you see. You never know when the woman standing off by herself for a few moments may be someone who could greatly impact your future. At SXSW, there are musicians, actors, startup companies and everyone in between in attendance. Take the time to smile and just say a big howdy! Talk to the person next to you in each session. If there’s someone you want to meet, go say hello. You may feel they are too busy for you, but just take a chance.

Make sure the address book in your phone is up-to-date. If there are people you have contact information for that may be attending… make sure you have them in your phone. It will be much easier to find them come conference time!

Most of all… have FUN. Enjoy every moment of your time at this amazing conference.

I will be recording interviews during my time at SXSW, thanks to my awesome sponsor, AMD!