By Andrew Roberts 1. Be Prepared You can’t fly direct to Austin so decided to travel out earlier to SF – see associated Clients and...

The SXSWi Commandments

By Andrew Roberts

1. Be Prepared
  • You can’t fly direct to Austin so decided to travel out earlier to SF – see associated Clients and agency partners – Skype and concalls are wonderful but don’t replace f2f
  • Book accommodation – hotels in Austin are eye watering expensive ($500+ for a hotel 5 miles from downtown) so we used AirBnB  – if you don’t know it look it up – it will be going Global soon – it was a fantastic experience so far and a lovely flat.
  • Sign up to stuff early – events, meet ups, parties, apps etc. – Eventbrite is awesome and everyone seems to use it which is great as the app keeps all the bookings on the phone.
  • Do the research – read previews on Mashable, think about themes and big questions
  • Look up who else is going – past colleagues, partners, old friends / acquaintances etc. and arrange to meet them – some we never have time to meet in London we spent time with last year in Austin.
  • Plan time in advance – we developed a mammoth spreadsheet with all the options.

2. Be the eyes and ears
  • Not everyone can come – we decided to offer to be our key contacts and Clients representative in Austin – the on the ground reporter !
  • Ask for input from everyone including our own employees – ensures focused time over there
  • Look out for new themes, which we identified as:
  1. Commerce -  in all shapes and forms – Social, Mobile, E-commerce…… but most importantly how can it be integrated into genuine user experiences. 
  2. Mobile – again across the board – as this has become the interface for consumer interaction – what are the opportunities for brands ?
  3. Social Channels – has Facebook had its day ? Is there room for another ? Is it all going integrate or separate ?
  4. Content, content, content – what is the future ? How do brand create, aggregate and use it ?
  5. Big data – everything about the future of data and most importantly how it can be used efficiently and sensibly.
  6. New technology for brands – what technologies are brands taking advantage of and what could they be used in the future ?
  7. And finally just any cool stuff that is out there. Including some room for curiosity

3. Embrace FOMO
  • You cant be everywhere but make sure where you are is useful and rewarding
  • Pick 1-2 key events / keynotes / talks / panels and get there early
  • Find 3-4 maybe’s just in case it is full / you don’t get there

4. Have fun
  • There are 4-5 parties / get togethers each night – all free and some full v early – plan and execute carefully but make sure you don’t overdo it
  • Networking is the number 1 most important pastime – not just to meet people but to get their opinion and their assimilation of everyone’s else’s opinion – everybody at SXWW has something to say
  • Pack properly – Austin is hot and humid but it also rains (a lot) and it is very casual – save the better clothes for the parties !
  • Look after yourself – don’t overdo booze, eat well and exercise
  • Remember it is not just Interactive – have a look at film and music too

Finally remember what happens in Austin stays on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram forever so if you want to catch-up with us next week, you know where to look!

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