A First Timers Trip to SXSW: Day 3 – The Adventure Continues

March 14, 2010

11:02 am

Well, Day 3 has come and gone and I can report that, at least I survived.  Kidding, It wasn’t bad at all.  Today was a pretty busy day with three sessions on my schedule:  Building a Bulletproof Financial System, Media Armageddon:  What Happens When the NY Times Dies,  and finally Don’t Move – Build a Startup Community Where You Live.  All three were really good.

So here are a few takeaways from Day 3:

Plan more time than you need to get to the venues.  We are staying at a house about a mile outside downtown. Even if you are closer, cabs and buses are hard to come by sometimes, so it’s best to give yourself a bit more time to get where you are headed and have time to grab a coffee or water and take a few-minute break.

Food is hard to come by, especially on a tight schedule.  Between events there are very few places to grab a bite to eat.  They have food carts/vans outside the convention center with local vendors, but as you can imagine, the lines are HUGE and it takes a while to get something. I also ran into a situation today where I waited in line a long time, only to get to the front and we were told they ran out ….  So my suggestion is to pack a few snacks in your bag.  Snacks like Fiber One bars and some water are a great way to tide you over until you can get a proper meal.

Automated business cards are cool.  Of course, I have business cards with me, but sometimes I forget them.  All over the place here this year they have those QR barcodes on everything, and most important, every badge holder has a unique code on it. You can simply download a bar code reader and scan the code and it automatically adds them and their contact info to your my.sxsw.com account.  Later you can go in and export that info as a csv file to import into your address book of choice.  Networking made easy.

Take time to recover.  Today there was a period of time I really had nothing I wanted to do so I hopped a cab back to the house for a littler R&R.  It helped a lot.  So find those periods where you don’t have anything pressing and take a break.

You don’t have to hit every party.  As I said before, you can easily get caught up in the parties, and that’s cool if that’s your thing, but you can also grab a few beers and network at some of the sponsored happy hours and then call it a night.  I hit the Razorfish party for a bit then headed home to catch up on the day’s writing.

We have the big TECH cocktail party tonight after a long day of great sessions, so stay tuned for more of my adventure.

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Jimmy Gardner is a Senior Unix/Windows Engineer, a lover of technology and photography. Follow him online at @jjgardner3 and enjoy his portfolio at jjg3photo.com/.

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