SxSW starts this weekend in Austin. This is my fifth year and these are my helpful tips for the novice.
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.
Session Info - When you arrive on Friday go to the Convention Center and pick up your badge. They will give you a large canvas bag of swag. You don’t want to haul this around, so you need to figure a way to drop this off at your hotel before a long night of partying. In the bag are two crucial items. First is the program which has detailed session descriptions. Second is a small pocket card with the session schedule on it. You want these to be in your daily walk around bag, not in your hotel room.
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 irc.freenode.net, 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 - I would love to meet Loyal Cruft Readers. On Friday night I will be at Break Bread with Brad drinking beer and smoking cigars. Email me or IM at pusateri AT gmail.com and I promise to respond.
Any questions?Posted by michael at March 07, 2007 11:44 AM