Peter Shankman may have written his tips for enjoying SXSW back in 2012, but they remain super-relevant for the event three years later. Rather than focus on the day to day physical survival of Austin’s busiest week, he focuses on how to survive with your reputation intact. It’s mostly aimed at SXSW Interactive and the huge gamut of parties many feel the need to run through, but there are valid points for everyone, such as:
The parties are fun. Just get a glass of club soda with a slice of lime at the beginning of the event, and nurse it. Not only will you be much happier the next morning, but you’ll get to actually remember what you did at the party, who you talked to, and what you said. Perhaps more importantly, you won’t be “that guy.” I’ve been “that guy” once. Three years later, there’s still not water hot enough to wash off the shame.
Networking starts LONG before you get there. The second you register, use the beauty of social media to let the world know, and find new people who are going as well. Ask them if there’s a hashtag, then use it. You want to have at least ten new people you plan to meet over the course of the conference before you go to the conference. The rest of the people you meet will be nice bonuses. The end game for you is to come out with new contacts.