March 08, 2006
Helpful SxSW hints

This will be my fourth trip to SxSW Interactive. Here are my hints for the conference, refined from my experience.

Introduce Yourself - People are at SXSW because they want to meet people and see new things. Strangely, many of the blogger types that go are introverted types that are a bit shy. Do yourself a favor and say "Hello, I'm So-and-so" to that person you are sitting next to. (Don't say So-and-so, use your name...) I guarantee that they will be happy to talk to you.

ABC - Always Be Charging - If you bring a laptop, you need to be charging it every single chance you get. No battery lasts long enough. Try to sit near an oulet in the session rooms. Share power outlets with others.

Personal cards - Make up business cards with your name, email, and website info on them to hand out. Bring your regular business cards if you want, but what people really want is a card that ties you to your online persona so they can find you after SXSW.

Shiner Bock - Shiner Bock is a local Texas beer that you find everywhere. Often referred to as simply ‘Shiner’.

Fray Cafe - Go to the Fray Cafe on Sunday night. It's one of the best things about SxSW.

Stay Warm - It can get cold and rain in Austin this time of year. Bring a good jacket or coat.

Sharpeners - There are no pencil sharpeners at SXSW. People think writing on a pad of paper with a wooden pencil is a bit strange.

The Backchannel - Be aware that there is a backchannel of real-time IRC discussion going on. Probably on, probably on #sxsw. The trick is to not make the backchannel into the front channel for you. It can distract you from listening to the speaker/session that you paid to see...

Secure connections - Wifi traffic is in the clear and people are sniffing packets all the time. Arrange for secure email, FTP, and if possible, secure browsing while at SXSW. It’s unlikely that a malicious hacker is gunna do bad things, but it’s best to be prepared.

Street Signs - For some reason, downtown Austin has few street signs. Get a map and study it before venturing out.

Food - Eat food. Austin has a great bar scene. You will be drinking. Don‘t drink on an empty stomach.

Texas BBQ - IMHO, Texas BBQ pales in comparison to BBQ in other areas like Kansas City and Carolina. That chopped beef sandwich stuff just doesn't cut it, but people will want to eat it for lunch.

Say Hello to Me - This year, my brother Matt and friend Martin can't make it, so I'll be back to hitting SxSW solo. Email me or IM at pusateri AT and I promise to respond.

Posted by michael at March 08, 2006 10:17 PM


Dear people at SxSW:
Some of my best memories of SxSW2003 involve hanging out with Michael. Along with my Mike, aka Coffee Mike. And Moose Mike. And Beta Mike. Ok, there are a lot of Mikes. That said, introduce yourself to this guy - you definitely will NOT regret it. I only wish I was there this year so I could see him again.

Hope you are having a great time!

Posted by: Christine [] on March 11, 2006 11:24 PM

Mike, this is some of the best SXSW advice ever. You forgot only one important point: Sleeping is optional. Hope to see you again, in hallways or panels!

Posted by: Betsy Devine [] on March 13, 2006 8:26 AM
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