Tips for your first time visit to South by Southwest – for SXSW 2014

If you SXSW 2014 - social conference, The Myndset digital marketing and brand strategyare thinking of hitting SXSW 2014 (which I already recommend!), I thought I’d share my first timer recommendations.  Here are my tips after having done my first SXSW in March 2013 (you can read my SXSW 2013 write-up here).  The 2014 dates are now set for March 7-11 for the Interactive part, March 7-16 for Film and March 11-16 for Music.

Optimizing your SxSW 2014

  • First time you go, you need a guide or a conference sherpa  {Thanks to Jennifer for being mine in 2013!}
  • golden compass, the Myndset Digital Marketing

    Find a benevolent sherpa for your first SXSW experience

    You need to book your hotel EARLY (and it’s best to get a hotel downtown).  That said, staying with kind local hosts makes a difference, too (bike puncture and all — thanks Matt and Jen!).  Want their contact details, let me know!

  • Go to the conference light in gear — a tablet, a phone and chargers for both!  Old fashioned business cards are still valuable, even though I wish more people had BUMP!  Leave the rest of your stuff in your hotel room!  But, always keep a spare bag for the random goodies (for example, the one you get at check-in).
  • Weather can be spotty at this time of the year in Austin, and you’ll be happy to have woolens in the evening when it can be rather chilly.
  • Take the time to pick your sessions ahead of the visit, but don’t go over board – you can’t reserve a space and, unless you’re familiar with the physical layout of the different conference centers, you can end up running around town rather than benefitting from”going withSXSW 2014, THE MYNDSET DIGITAL MARKETING & BRAND STRATEGY the flow” and the positive effects of serendipity.
  • There are several software tools to use to organize your schedule, including the one offered by SXSW.  None is perfect, but Lanyrd is probably my favorite because it is so easy to share with other attendees.
  • Keep energy for the evening events, as the music and party side of SXSW is not to be missed. {Click to tweet!} 
  • Get to the key sessions early and try to sit in the front row if you want to guarantee a clear non fuzzy shot of the slides.
  • Note to sponsors: Events that are located away from the downtown center of Austin are just too far away (not that you can’t have an intimate gathering with due effect).

By all accounts, the music side of SXSW is evidently ANOTHER event… With another level of intensity… {Click to tweet!}  I hope to count myself among the crowd next year.

In addition you could also check out SXSW’s first timer’s guide.

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