I'm very excited about my first trip to South by Southwest Interactive conference. As a former Austinite and native Texan, South by has an allure in and of itself, and the Interactive conference is reportedly the cream of the conference crop for education, networking, business and, of course, a boatload of wacky fun.
All that being said, I'm still unsure what to expect when I board my plane for Austin on Friday. Oh, sure, I have my list of my favorite Austin haunts that I'm hoping to revisit (East Side Cafe and the Omelettry are the absolute musts, and I do so miss Magnolia Cafe's gingerbread pancakes) and a list of social media folks I'm hoping to connect with, but how will this conference be different? And why?
Enter C.C. Chapman, who has been going to SXSW for absolutely ever. He was cool enough to put together a video of his advice for newbies:
And I've pulled out his advice in print to make it a tad easier to search and find:
- Set up important meetings over breakfast--everything later in the day will end up being shifted.
- Leave your laptop in the hotel. Use your phone and a Moleskine or voice recorder to take notes. There is a lot of walking at SXSW, and the laptop will only weigh you down.
- Wait... how much should we touch people?
- Stay hydrated. Austin can be hot. Beer and margaritas don't count. Water does.
- Say "hi" to everyone. On the street, standing in line. You have no idea who is next to you, so greet everyone. Talk to the people sitting next to you in the session. You just might meet the next Biz Stone.
- If there's someone you want to meet, SAY HI, even if she is famous.
- Update your phone. Make sure your address book is up to date.
- Bring a power charger and extra battery for your phone.
- Take a nap. You can't do everything. If you're tired, relax and chill.There's nothing wrong with that.
- Don't play business card ninja. Really meet people and follow up afterwards.
Another item of note: C.C. says that most SXSW content is created AFTER the fact, so don't try to post those videos and TwitPics while you're there. Go out and enjoy yourself instead.
Thanks, C.C. I was debating carrying my laptop around--seems I always regret when I need it and don't have it; and it also seems that my arthritic shoulder regrets carrying it around all day, too!