You Say Tomato at SXSW 2016 (Part 2)

Welcome back to Part 2 of our three-part update on You Say Tomato’s first-ever South by Southwest (SXSW) conference. Click here to read Part 1 (opens in new window).

  1. There are a lot of parties. When we say ‘parties’, as mentioned above in Point 1, we really are talking about sponsored networking events masquerading as jolly casual affairs but make no mistake, this is serious business, and serious business is getting done at these parties. Forget your business cards at your and your business’s peril.
  2. There is a lot of alcohol, much of which is free at parties and other events. Don’t do Dry January (and then Dry February and then a bit of Dry March) like we did here at YST, because your liver will not be happy, and you’ll end up having two glasses of wine and calling it a night. Not that that ever happened to us *sarcasm*.
  3. There will be more events than you will possibly be able to attend. There is an acronym that was recently in vogue: FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out. Let it go, because you’ll only end up hurting yourself (and possibly others in your attempt to get to as many panels, meetups, and parties as you can). If you’re going to attend SXSW in the future, our advice is to pick a couple of ‘anchor’ events, like a couple of talks and events during the day, and one party at night, and then just be loose the rest of the day. Go with the flow – you might end up meeting that VC (venture capitalist) you didn’t know you were looking for in the queue for a party.
  4. SXSW can be overwhelming, as you may have already deduced. If you have an Interactive badge and decide to stay longer than the Interactive part of the conference, then you might get conference fatigue and start wishing you’d just left after the Interactive stream has concluded. Take a couple of hours out, go for a sit down in the garden of the Four Seasons, or maybe have a snooze in your hotel (or AirB&B) room. Attending SXSW is a brilliant and unique opportunity to meet and chat with some of the most interesting, learned, influential, and helpful people in many industries, and almost everyone is going through the same experience as you. People will talk to you who might never give you the time of day in your home country. The knowledge and experience you have at your fingertips is not to be underestimated. And these suggestions and comments are written by a self-proclaimed part-time introvert who was for a time a raging misanthrope. So anyone can live through SXSW; you just have to pace yourself.
  5. You will acquire a lot of stuff. Business cards, free stickers, free t-shirts, bags, magazines, books, and various other doo-dads and artefacts that will be reminders of that great conversation you had at a stand in the Expo, or the enthusiastic kids urging you to have a free journal. You should underpack, or take an extra bag.

That’s all for Part 2 of You Say Tomato’s thoughts on SXSW. Part 3 will be available soon.

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