Tag Archives: Texas

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!

Austin Tips from Texas

Enjoy your stay in Austin. It will be Spring Break at the University of Texas, so most of the college students will have left town, leaving more room for SxSW attendees, rodeo fans, and others who pick that week for events. Hotel rooms and car rentals will be at a premium. Austin has a lively music scene at other times of the year as well. It is the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” but I'm sure there are other similar venues. In any case, we do have a wide variety of music venues that offer just about any type of music you might want to hear (and some you probably don't).
Getting around in Austin can be frustrating. The major roads all seem to run north-south – Interstate 35, MoPac Expressway (Loop 1), Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), and Loop 620. Loop 620 takes you to Lake Travis – a worthy diversion. If you don't have time to go to Lake Travis, take a trip to Lake Austin and have a meal at the Hula Hut near the dam. Take a little time and walk the hike and bike trail around Town Lake and bring your swim suit for a dip in Barton Springs (in Zilker Park) where the water is 68 degrees year-round. For good TexMex fare, try Chuy's. Near the convention center, there is the Iron Works Bar-B-Q – one of several good sources for this type of food.
I hope you enjoy the city and your time here. The weather should be pretty good. I hope you don't get too turned off by the “homeless” people who litter the street corners of major intersections asking for handouts. That's how they make their living – they have no ambition unlike most Austinites. If you'd like more recommendations, let me know. I've lived in Austin 30 years and know the landscape. If you get bored and need a geek fix, Dell's headquarters is just north of town in Round Rock.