SX:There’s a common misconception that SXSW is all about partying, music, and hangovers. While there’s lots to do to have a good time, there’s also tons to learn and inspiration everywhere. This March will be my second year as a SXSW Interactive attendee since departing from my role there in 2015. And let me tell you, it’s awesome to not only see the event that you helped plan for 4 years, but to be a part of it! I really love checking out the lounges, the special activations, and sessions surrounding my personal and professional interests. There’s something, literally, for everyone. But, you do have to do your homework.
The first step is read the SX website for announcements on special sessions, get a lay of the land, and understand how SXSWeek works. Then, create your SXSW schedule by the site or SXSW Go Mobile app. I use the search filters to narrow down the event/session type and then the category/theme. I star everything that looks interesting to me. Then, let the “this or that” games begin!
You’ll find that there’s way too much happening at the same time. And, not everything is as close as you would think (hope). You have to have somewhat of a strategic plan for what you’re trying to see, and be realistic about the time it takes to walk from one venue to another. I recommend having a “preferred track” which is essentially your wish list. Then, if you think you can’t make the next session on your “preferred track” or the room is full, you hit up your “backup track” for another session to see. Again, this takes time but it’s well worth it to have sessions already in your queue.
And of course, if you need a break, you can always go grab a bite (hint: SouthBites). Definitely check out things that are in your forte, but I challenge you to go to something that is a little out of your element and learn something new. Oh, and put down your phone and LISTEN and LOOK AROUND. Meet people, go with a positive attitude, be flexible, and enjoy where the day takes you. Because, your Plan A (“preferred track”) will likely NOT happen. Embrace it! Also, if you’re a first timer, check out this session on Saturday morning.
Below is a list of a few top schedule picks of mine for this year for Saturday and Sunday of Interactive (I’ll be out of town for the rest of the week). Connect with me on SXSW Social and I’ll see you in Austin in March!
SXSW Interactive Sessions:
SXSW Interactive Lounges & Parties (meet other attendees, check out new innovations, meet the creators, see live music, relax, recharge):