Wow. I mean, wow.
I’ve been wondering the past two days why I haven’t been to SXSW Interactive before now. It’s just so amazingly crammed full of interesting people and ideas — it’s hard not to be inspired.
As a newbie, I have been nervous my cover would be blown at the festival, because in my heart of hearts, I wonder if I really know what I’m doing. I’ll admit, that fear has kept me from going to several intense workshops that I had initially marked down.
I’m going to attempt to break down that barrier by going to a workshop tomorrow, but I digress.
You really do have to pace yourself at something like SXSWi. There’s so much going on, it’s easy to find yourself rushing from one session to the next without stopping in between to check out all of the other stuff. Or eating.
That’s what happened to me today. I am really glad I brought snacks, because I didn’t “stop to smell the roses” — sit down and eat. I was interested in going to a session at every opportunity.
Friday’s panels started at 2pm, and I though it was crowded. I was wrong! Saturday was nuts! I felt like I was back at UT at some points, trying to navigate between classes. The flow of people was endless, all going in different directions. If you went to UT or another huge university, you know what I’m talking about.
And because there were a ton of people, there were also a bunch of those “promoters.” You know what I’m talking about — people who stand at key crossings or entrances handing out slips of paper or brochures that you have no interest in getting at all. I hate that stuff, because I’m not going to do anything with it anyway. The one I actually read was trying to turn me into a vegan in order to end animal suffering. Anyone who knows how I eat will know that this was targeted at the absolutely wrong person — not that I like animal suffering or anything.
So what kinds of stuff am I going to in between navigating a ton of people? Here’s a quick sampling of the sessions I went to and whether I liked it or not:
- Social Media Marketing for your Business — AWESOME
- Crime Scene: Digital Identity Theft — SUCKED (should have gone to the workshop on content)
- Eight Ways to Deal with Bastards — AWESOME
- Pain Free Design Signoff — AWESOME
- Pen & Paper Tools to Get from Research to Design — GOOD
- Shameless Self Promotion Without Looking Like an @#$%^&! — AWESOME
- From Kitchen Table to $Million Business — OKAY
- How to Unplan Your Business — GOOD
I also went to the keynote speech by Danah Boyd, an expert on social media, about privacy and publicity, which was really good.
So, most of the stuff I’ve been to has been great, and I’ve been doing a lot of business sessions. Sunday is no different — lots of business and a little development and design. I still need to go to the trade show and check out the South By Bookstore, where I have a feeling I’ll be dropping some dough.
One area I’m consciously trying to work on is networking. I finally starting introducing myself Saturday evening, but I need to keep doing it. It’s all about meeting people and making those connections at things like this. Three more days — I’ve got to make the effort.