If you haven't heard, South by Southwest (SXSW) is a multi-faceted event with showcases of entertainment, business, and technology. The event happens between March 10-19 in Austin and thousands of people from around the world descend on the Texas city to take in the sights, the sounds, and the innovation.
The event packs in more than 70,000 participants, vendors, and artists and has 24 tracks, including Tech Industry, Intelligent Future, and Development and Code. And if you want to know how to succeed and survive at this incredibly popular event, you'll need to learn from the experts.
Three entrepreneurs from Albuquerque all made it through SXSW last year. Charles Ashley III, CEO of Cultivating Coders, Michelle Urban, CEO of Pressure Analysis Company, and Antonio Gandara-Martinez, Marketing Advisor for bouncechat and marketing director for boomtime, all took the time to share their top tips on making SXSW a successful event. Check them out below:
Plan Your Trip Now
Hotel rooms book fast and prices are going up. To save a little money, you might want to try an Airbnb and share the space with other startups. Also, keep an eye out for cheap flights because they are also on their way up.
Network, Network, Network
SXSW is mass chaos with thousands of people, and just talking to the person standing next to you might turn out to be the perfect connection or turn into something unexpected.
Organize Business Cards
Figure out now how you’ll keep all these new contacts organized. Here are a few ideas that might help: Take a photo with your phone and put it on Evernote, or create a Google doc that you can access from your phone and plug that information in right away.
Whether it’s early the next morning or a month later, make sure you pull out those business cards and make contact. Remind people who you are and how you met them. You never know what might come from it.
Apply for Pitch Competitions
Think of pitching as getting a chance to network with everyone in the room. They know who you are and what you do, and if they need a connection, they’ll come talk to you. And if you win the competition, bonus!
Download the SXSW App
SXSW is an incredibly large event. Downloading the app will help you navigate everything with ease. This is especially helpful to keep track of the schedule and getting last minute updates.
Stay Connected with Your People
Businesses from Albuquerque banded together last year and set up their own Slack channel so that everyone could keep in touch and share important information – like “Hey everyone, there’s free tacos,” or “Hey Michelle, there’s someone you need to meet.”
Speaking of free tacos, you can save time and money by taking advantage of the free food and drinks all around the event. Just keep your eyes and ears open for deals and you'll save a boatload. Many of the buildings that are used for the event will have something going on.