I know everyone‘s doing it, but I can’t resist. I’ve only been to SXSW interactive a few times, but that’s long enough to make lots of mistakes and learn from them.
Prepare, But Be Flexible. Later on this list, I’ll suggest you disregard your carefully-prepared schedule, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need one. In fact, it’s best if you have a schedule prepared that allows for Plan B and even Plan C.Say, you’ve decided you want to go to one panel, or one party. If something doesn’t work out — and shit happens — be ready to move on to the next opportunity. Maybe you’re stuck on the wrong part of town, maybe you let yourself get caught up in conversation with someone you met, maybe a thunderstorm starts up just as you were heading out — whatever the wrinkle, don’t let it bother you. Just have Plan B ready to go, and pivot.
Take Care of Yourself. You’ll want to pack as lightly as you can, because you are likely walking everywhere you go, but be sure to have a few key items: Water, so you don’t get dehydrated. A snack (maybe peanut butter crackers or nuts), in case low blood sugar strikes at a time you’re not ready to go in search of food. And, this year, a small umbrella. Along those same lines, wear comfortable, broken-in shoes. There’s nothing worse than hobbling. The same applies to your drinking strategy (yes, you should have a strategy). I don’t agree with the “don’t drink” philosophy, partly because I’m a bit shy and having at least one margarita helps me make conversation with strangers. But, moderation is key. Don’t embarrass yourself, and don’t ruin the rest of the show for yourself. Perhaps set a limit of 1 or 2 drinks per day, and drink club soda the rest of the time.
Go With The The Flow. It’s easy to get uptight. Either you become too married to your schedule — so you spend your time rushing around from one event to the next. Or you become a party-chaser — always convinced that the best party is the one that the guy you’re following on Twitter is attending. Guess what? The best party is the one you’re at, right now. The best food truck is the one you stumble upon when you turn the corner. Allow yourself some serendipity. It’s your SXSW, and it may not be exactly as you planned, but it’s likely to be pretty darned good if you seize the moment.
I’ll be aggregating links and such to good posts I find on the subject, posting them below and continually updating. Feel free to drop more in the comments. Thanks!
When the dot-com bubble was mid-burst in 2001 or so, a friend of mine would ask me, “Do you still think the Internet is going to change the world?” As if some poor investments and a negative global economic climate were going to halt the transformation the Internet was bringing to our culture. “Of course,” I’d answer. It might be slowing down a little bit, but things are definitely going to change. Especially in my chosen fields of journalism, media and marketing. This graphic reflects that conversation quite well.
When you take the $79 leap into Prime, Amazon has you for life.
Once you’re in the cult you’re not leaving because leaving means you have the drudgery of having to drive to the store, finding the item you want, seeing if it’s in stock and then dealing with the most horrifying experience of all: retail employees.
I’ve been a Prime member since the beginning, and it’s only become more essential to me now that it comes with free videos for my Kindle Fire and one free book to “borrow” a month. Amazon has brilliantly made itself indispensable through services. Now that’s brand building.
I’m both pleased and sad to have said goodbye today to my tenure as a Federated Media employee. I’d been at the company since 2006 — I was employee 18 — and I’ve watched the company grow from a scrappy start-up to a seasoned professional organization. It’s been quite a ride and I’ve met some amazing folks along the way that I hope will be friends for a long time to come.
And now it’s time for a new adventure. I’m going back to my first love, journalism, and will be joining Third Door Media — publisher of Search Engine Land and producer of the SMX Conferences. I will be Executive Features Editor of the just-launched-in-beta Marketing Land, which will follow the SEL model but expand into a wide variety of disciplines in digital marketing — with a heavy dose, at the start, of social media marketing. I’ll also be writing news here and there for both Marketing Land and Search Engine Land.
I’m thrilled to be working with such a great group of people at Third Door, many of whom I worked with back in the day. And I’m especially excited to start my full-time work with them at the SMX Social Media conference in Scottsdale, which starts on Monday.
All this to say that I hope I see some of you at the conference, and at future conferences! Meanwhile, I bid a fond farewell to the great crew at FM, who I know are bound for bigger adventures themselves. Maybe in my new gig I’ll even have more to say on this very-neglected spot in the blogosphere. We’ll see…