SXSW 2008 V – Geek Spring Break

Bruce Henry | March 11, 2008

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SM SXSW 7Today is just fun.

The “How to Rawk After SXSW: Staying Insprired” was much fun. Candy was thrown to/at the audience. I won’t go into details but it was basically a big geek lovefest. Totally sweet!

I’m in the big ballroom (A) waiting for Jane McGonigal to talk. I’m about written out. My fingers no longer talk to my brain before writing. This’ll be my last post from the conference. I may or may not write an overview or retrospective later.

There are some key take aways that I have for anyone thinking about coming to SXSW. These are colored by my position evangelizing a product at a conference where I am just an attendee.

    1. Don’t focus only on “relevant” panels.
      Branch out and try a bunch of different panels because SXSW is really about inspiration and ideation. You never know where you will find “relevant” material.
    2. Don’t skimp on the nightlife.
    3. This is where the magic happens. I had the best conversations with people that I met in bars. And on that topic, get to your venue about 30 minutes before the party starts. You will really want to get in and start mingling. Talk to everyone you can. Everyone here is friendly.
    4. Don’t friggin’ pimp your product every damn time you get up to a mic to ask a question.
    5. In fact, if you don’t have a question (as in, ends in a question mark) don’t go on some long rambling discourse about how open source software is changing the world through social networking for the good of children in Angola on SourceForge. Get up, ask your question (one or two sentences at most) and then sit down and listen to the answer. We’re at the panels to hear the panelists, not you (so much).
    6. Get lots of business cards.
    7. Get familiar with Twitter.
      Sounds weird, but I really get Twitter now. It is one of the coolest productivity tools for conferencesever.
    8. If this is your first SXSW, there will be others (hopefully).
      You don’t have to do it all. Meet people, see a few good panels, learn how SXSW works. This conference is more like a romantic relationship than a business one; you need to woo SXSW, not power sell it. You are building a long-term relationship.

Later I’m going to hit the futurist talk and then… well… there’s just the one more night in Austin with my friends Jerry and Shiner.