I just got back from SXSW (South by Southwest). If you haven’t heard of SXSW, it is the place where movie, music and interactive people converge for a weeklong event. Austin Texas provides the perfect backdrop for a colorful and eclectic mix of people.

I have been hearing about this event for years, so I had to go see it for myself. The best way to describe it is a film & movie festival, integrated with technology like gaming, cloud services, and even robots.

Between the trade show, the meet-ups, the speakers and the sure size of the show it took me awhile to get acclimated. If you plan to attend, here are four things I learned:

1. Make sure you come prepared.

  • Put together a list of objectives
  • Know what keynotes, shows, vendors, and clients you want to see and/or attend. Trust me, this is not a good idea doing the day of the show.

2. Don’t be afraid to walk. This show is spread out all over downtown.

  • There are not enough cabs to handle the volume of people
  • If you can find a “Catch a Chevy” car. For the last two years Chevrolet has brought 50 cars to the event and they will take you ANYWHERE within 3 miles of the event. Very cool marketing.
  • Don’t rent a car, because there is nowhere to park

3. Explore the food scene

  • Austin has to be one of the best cities for food. Even their food trucks are amazing.
  • Get at least one breakfast taco. You won’t be disappointed.

4. Get off your smartphone and meet someone new

  • There are some great people in for the event, so take a moment to ask them where they are from.
  • Don’t think it is strange if someone asks you if they can ride with you. Because of the limited number of cabs, it is very common to share cabs, and other vehicles with people.

Overall it is a great experience and can provide a lot of things to do and learn if your up for it.  I’m interested to hear if anyone has any advice for future SXSW attendees, start a conversation in the comments below!

Image: wilbertbaan via Flickr

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About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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