SXSW is upon us yet again, and the Ad Council will be there hosting 2 panels:
You can learn more about each panel here. If you plan on attending stop by and say hello!
At a recent planning meeting, the team started talking about what “gear” to bring and other questions about SXSW. Now I wouldn’t say that I’m a SXSW veteran. I’ve only been once before, so I consider myself a newb. However, based on that single experience I know what to expect this time around. I channeled my inner Cub Scout and decided to put together a small list to help folks prepare.
My personal SXSW game plan:
On any normal day your smartphone’s battery is perfect, but at SXSW you’ll find yourself checking in on 4quare, scrambling for a signal to meet with colleagues, and answering work emails. An open power outlet is as rare as a desert oasis. If you do find one you may be stuck in an obscure corner of the Austin Convention Center for 30 minutes, getting enough juice to make your next meeting or panel.
This year I’m bringing a battery pack to charge my phone on the go. I went with the Mophie Powerstation Duo. It holds enough power to charge my iPhone twice, possibly more since it can handle an iPad too. I thought about getting a nice case with an extra battery, but this way I won’t have to replace it whenever I get a new phone.
Tablet vs. Laptop
This year SXSW is introducing workshops in addition to panels. Workshops provide a more in-depth look on a particular topic lasting 2.5 hours and up. I’m opting for a regular laptop so I can take copious notes. My weapon of choice: the 11 inch Macbook Air. It’s light enough to take on the go, and will come in handy when I’m in my hotel room catching up on work emails. I love my tablet, but I don’t know if I could stand 5 days of typing on a touch screen keyboard.
Tip: If you don’t want to bust out your laptop just to read a word doc, you may want to send them to your Kindle email. Amazon allows you to send personal documents to your Kindle email address. The service automatically converts word docs to the Kindle format.
I wouldn’t underestimate the size of Downtown Austin. Sure everything is walkable, but eventually your poor dogs will start barkin’. My plan of attack: SXCycles. SXcycles is a complimentary bike share program for Platinum, Gold, Interactive and Film registrants. Not only will you get around faster, but you’ll cover more ground while feeling like a kid again. Word on the street is that they’ll even tweet while you ride!
We all gotta eat. Sometimes you just don’t have the time. No offense to the good folks at the Austin Convention Center, but I’m not really down to get refrigerated sushi for lunch. Instead I’m going for curated food trucks by Top Chef Season 9 winner Paul Qui. SouthBites will be a food court on the corner of Rainey and Driskell, close to a bunch of major SXSW venues. It should be a nice option to get some quality grub on the way to the next panel/party/meeting.
Honestly, I could really go on and on. Maybe subconsciously I like to be prepared for anything thanks to our Ready.gov campaign, but the point is to take some time and figure out how you’re going to get ready. SXSW is a marathon not a sprint. Preparation can be the difference between a fun/collaborative experience, and a miserable crowded week. Make sure you carve out your plan. See you in Austin!