Entries Tagged as 'SXSW'

March 13th, 2009

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Austin Time

Well it’s that time of year again, to head down to Austin for SXSW. This will be my third year attending and I’ve enjoyed both previous times that I’ve went.

It seems, though, that there are less interesting panel selections this year, than last year. I’ve picked out a few that I plan on attending, but I more look forward to meeting and conversing with new creative/business minds.

I also plan on tweeting quite a bit, so if you’re on Twitter, let me know if you’re down there so we can connect! I’d love to meet you, if I haven’t already.

I have to cut this blog post short because I need to go register and such. So if you see me, say hi.

Tags: SXSW

March 12th, 2008

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My SXSWi 2008 Recap

SXSWi for the 2008 season is officially over, and aside from being exhausted, I had a great time this year. My experience was a lot better this time around because I wasn’t new to everything as I was last year. So I had a much better feel for the town and getting around and such. It also made a drastic difference having a hotel that was 3 blocks away as opposed to having a hotel that is a 10 minute cab ride away. It saves a lot of time. So here is my brief recap on the trip:

Panels

I wasn’t too impressed with the panels that I attended this year. Maybe I just chose the wrong ones, but very few stood out to me. My two favorites, however, were 37signals’ panel, which it exactly what I expected it to be. It was very informative and I run my business in many ways similar to 37signals, so it’s nice to hear him speak on that. My next favorite panel was from Jim Coudal, who in my eyes, is a creative genius. I can’t even begin to explain how the panel went about, but if I find a recap from someone else, I will link to it.

The last panel that stood out was from Jason Santa Maria and Rob Weycherts panel on “Everyones a Design Critic”. The title is fairly self explanatory but the panel was great. I think those two are great presenters and compliment each other more than any other presenters I’ve seen on a stage. So overall, the panels were just ok, and hard to tell whether I preferred this years panels to last years.

Networking

What made SXSWi more valuable for me this year was the networking. Last year I got a bunch of business cards from top people in the industry with no intentions on re-contacting them. I just wanted to see their cool business cards, and I was more “star struck”, if you will. This year I feel I’ve made some very good connections with people and built real relationships that will be lasting. With the business cards that I got from people this year, I actually intend on following up with them just to keep the communication lines open. But a definite thanks goes out to the great people I hung out with and communicated with via Twitter, which brings me to my next point.

Twitter

I mentioned in my beginners guide that Twitter is very useful in a conference setting. So to reiterate that, and more, I loved using Twitter and it become extremely valuable this year. In conjunction with networking that I mentioned above, being able to communicate with people through Twitter was a great way to get information fast, whether that be finding out how long a line is at a night event, seeing how a panel is, or looking for a place to eat. You post a tweet, and you get almost instant responses. I also set up Twitter to send SMS messages to my phone, but only for those that were at SXSW, which made it a whole lot easier to use it. So I was able to see what people were up to in Austin, as well as let them know what I was up to. It was great, and made the experience very cool. Now I’m more addicted to Twitter.

Socialthing!

There is always some kind of app that comes out each year and this years was Socialthing! I’ve been using it for about a week and a half, and I think it’s an awesome product. I try out as many new web apps as I can and haven’t used one that I really liked in a long time, until now. Socialthing! aggregates some of the more popular social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, etc.) and brings all of your contacts updates to one place. It’s very useful, and talking with the creators, they have some good plans to do more with it in the near future. So check it out, it’s in private beta right now so sign up. They also have an awesome iPhone interface.

So, that is the recap on my visit to Austin this year. Great times had, and thanks again to all those that I hung out with that made the trip more fun. I am already excited about going again next year.

Tags: SXSW

March 7th, 2008

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Headed to SXSWi…Eventually

So the time has finally come for 2/3′s of the team to head to SXSWi. Unfortunately we won’t arrive when we had originally planned. Our flight to Dallas was cancelled this morning due to weather, so we had to scramble to get a new flight, and now won’t be arriving to Austin until 11:50 p.m. So it will be a very long day spent in airports and flying, aka, lots of time to blog and catch up with feeds.

Luckily the meat of the panels don’t start until Saturday, so we won’t miss much, although I was very much looking forward to seeing the Repect! panel with Zeldman, and company. I will just have to get the recap from someone.

Here are a few panels that I’m looking forward to:

Of course there are more panels that I plan on attending, but those listed above look the most promising. So hopefully the rest of my day will go more smoothly than the morning, and I very much look forward to getting into the conference atmosphere and abusing my twitter account.

Tags: Personal, SXSW

February 24th, 2008

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Beginners Guide to SXSW

SXSWi is a mere days away and I must say that I’m pretty excited. Although last years’ was a whole lot more crowded than I expected, it was a blast, and based on the panel selection, I’m sure there will be tons more people there this year. I’ve been pondering writing this for months now, and though I was beat to the punch, I still want to go over my take on a beginners guide to SXSW. So, After Andrew and I discussed what first timers might want to know, here is my advice:

Have business cards – There is nothing more embrassing than meshing with a [potential] client or business partner and telling them that you don’t have a business card. Make sure you have plenty, because you should at least expect to hand out as many as you get from others. And you will collect quite a bit of cards.

Plan panels wisely – There are a ton of panels this year. Make sure you plan which ones you want to see carefully, because though there will be a lot that you want to see, there are also a lot of crap panels as well, and you want to make sure you’re not sitting in one of those when there is another panel going on at the same time that you would rather be in. I would recommend ranking the panels you want to go to. Have a tangible list handy so if you’re in a panel you don’t like, you can easily find where another panel is you can go to.

Get to popular panels early – While on the subject of panels, you will probably notice some of your favorite designers on them. Get to those early because the good seats fill up very fast. And the closer you are to the front, the better the experience. Last year I had a front row seat to a panel with Jason Santa Maria and Rob Weychert, and it was a great experience.

Travel light – You will do a lot of walking between going to panels, and eating out, so pack light. A laptop bag might get heavy after a lot of walking. If you can part with your laptop, try using a notebook to take notes. And if you plan on attending the evening events, you definitely won’t want to have a laptop bag with you.

See the town – There will be some days that you aren’t in panels all day, so take that time to explore Austin. There are lots of cool places to eat, and things to see, so while planning panels, also plan some time to go check out the town.

Speak up – SXSW is no time to be shy. If you are, force yourself to talk and meet people. How often are you surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of people who love doing the same kind of work as you? If you find someone you meet and connect with, go to dinner with them. It sounds that easy because it is. Everyone is there to network and meet more people in the industry.

Know your pitch – I’ve written about getting your pitch down, and being at a major networking event like SXSW makes it all the more relevant. Know how to pitch yourself because the people you meet, are trying to meet other people. So be interesting, and quick.

Go to the parties – Your SXSW experience is not complete unless you enjoy all of the evening events. This is where all of the real networking happens, and there is no shortage of parties to attend. List a few you want to go to, write the the addresses, and go have fun. You will thank yourself when the conference is over.

Use Twitter – I was not only shocked at how much buzz Twitter got last year, but also how useful it was. I signed up for my account last year while at the conference, and it’s interesting how much stuff I found out about, whether it’s happenings around town during the day, or events at night. It was very useful. So follow some people you meet, or stalk your favorite designers, but it could be worth it.

So those are my tips for you first-timers at SXSW. A lot of what I mentioned in basic networking stuff, but going to a new conference can be overwhelming at first. Iit is a great experience, and possibly the cheapest conference you will go to for that many days. I hope this is helpful.

If you are going to be there and want to meet up, shoot me an email and we’ll work something out.

If I’ve missed anything on tips for beginners, feel free to add in the comments.

Tags: SXSW