SXSWi: What I’ve Learned [Part 1]

SXSW Rocks!

It’s Sunday evening, halfway point through a jam packed SXSW. I wanted to do a quick post between events with a few notes that either, individually don’t make a full post or I’m working on a longer one.


Unlike most parties where everyone shows up fashionably late, everyone at SXSW shows up early to get as much in as possible.

  • The Hive Awards were much more entertaining than I thought (and I already had high expectations).
  • The Diggnation event was crazy cool. Wow.
  • Bryan person and crew nailed it with the Social Media Breakfast Mega Meetup.
  • John Hagel’s book launch party and the Powered dinner were perfect because they were more intimate.
  • I’m off to the PBS/RWW party now. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The People

While the parties have been amazing, thy’re not the highlight for me. I know it’s why so many people want to come here but for me the parties were just a convenient meeting place (probably because I don’t drink, so half way through when everyone else is getting their party on, I’m getting a little bored).

Best part hands down about SXSW has been meeting people I have known online, in some cases, as long as 2 or 3 years, and have never met in real life or people I haven’t seen for as long or longer. You all are great, I’m so glad I got to finally meet so many of you and I’m really sorry I didn’t get to meet more of you. I’m going to have to radically update my People to Meet Twitter list.

In fact I keep running into so many of you in the halls that I haven’t made it to very many sessions (but from what I’ve heard I haven’t missed too much).

The Sessions

The two best and most applicable sessions were the Social Business Summit (technically not a SXSW session but whatever) and Gaming the System with 4Chan. You may not realize the inherent irony in these two statements. The SBS was filled with speakers who are accomplished authors, entrepreneur CEO’s, Ivy League graduates and the best business strategists in this space. 4Chan (Wikipedia link because I don’t want to send you to the site) is the bridge the trolls of the Internet live under.  I that’s all very cryptic but I’m working on a much longer post.

Coming Posts

Other posts I’m working on (these are just working titles):

  • What Social Businesses can learn from 4Chan
  • Crowdsourcing Heats Up
  • The Victims Caught in the Crossfire of Geolocation Wars
  • The 3 Types of Social Media Strategy

And I’m only half way through the event.

What did I do right?

This was my first year so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect but here’s what I did right.

  • Wing it: I made almost no plans for sessions to attend knowing that my priority was to meet people.
  • Power Packing: I brought my own power strip, an extra battery for my netbook and power cords for my phones
  • Pack light: This is not a fashion show. Leave the suit at home and pack only the necessities.
  • Staying the whole week: It was rough to get Wed-Wed off but so worth it. I would have hated to be rushed and leave early. I still have so many people to meet and some sessions I really want to attend.

What would I do differently next time?

  • Bring more business cards (although I still wouldn’t give many out)
  • Bring my skateboard (for commuting purposes of course)
  • Book my hotel sooner. I’m a little out of town and have to drive in and parking is painful.
  • Plan more: While I’m glad I didn’t do a detailed plan I do wish I had planned a little bit better. The sessions were spread out between 3 building and I didn’t realize that I’d have to try and run from one building to another for sessions (remember running to class in college). This usually left me wondering around the convention center looking for a room that was in a different hotel. Of course that’s probably why I ended up meeting so many people.
  • Take more pictures and videos. I forgot my camera and at parties the camera phone doesn’t cut it. I also wish I’d interviewed all the great people I met.

Look for a Part 2 on Wednesday.

Photo via Balakov

About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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