I am a new woman. Yes, a totally, completely changed lady. Can you tell? Whaaa, you can’t tell? What if I spin around in a circle? Throw my hip out like this? Pivot on my left instead of my right foot? Now do you see it?
Pfft. I’m different, man, I am! To me, it’s quite obvious. You see, from here on forward, I am no longer writing as a SXSW (that’s South by Southwest, to those of you that don’t speak acronymic geek) virgin. Yessir! A mere weekend ago, my SXSW cherry was popped. Pop! Just like that. It didn’t hurt at all, even though it was my first time (what a relief!). In fact, it felt quite good. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
While the omnipresent Jeremiah may have compiled some killer tips for doing SXSW on the cheap, and the adorable Cindy Li has authored some kickbutt survival tips for doing SXSWi right, all I’ve got for you are my own accounts of what I’ve dubbed “Mardi Gras for Geeks.” And not all of them are of importance to the masses. My failed attempt at universality, for shame! However, they do hold, at the very least, minimal entertainment value for at least 57.8% of you. If we (wait, who’s “we”?) weren’t being difficult, we could call them “Lessons Learned,” but gosh, how boring would THAT be? It might be pretty darn boring. Dammit.
So, without further ado, here are Fayza’s Top 20ish SXSWi Takeaways:
- Sure, panels are good. Some panels are even great. But spending quality time meeting people outside the panels? Even better!
- If you’re gonna hang out at the Convention Center for an extended period of time (as you probably should), the TechSet Bloggers Lounge is the place to be. For serious. I only wish I’d known that before the last day.
- Except, if you’re gonna do that, you must also know this rule: Do. Not. Sit. At. The. Chair. Above. The. Power. Strip. A.R.G.H.
- Well, helloooooooo, techie boys! Where’d you come from and when’d you get so kayooooooote? I’d take one of you over a doctor or lawyer or famous actor any day. Can you say “yummy“? CALL ME! Ahem.
- It doesn’t matter WHAT you’re wearing, except that you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Wearing a dress? Wear comfortable dress shoes. Wearing a camouflage muumuu? Wear comfortable camouflaged muumuu shoes. You’re going to do more walking than you ever dreamed possible, you’ll be on your feet longer than you’d imagined when you packed your suitcase, and you’ll only spend time in your hotel room getting ready and sleeping. And getting ready and sleeping will take up about 0.000018% of your entire stay in Austin.
- Piggybacking on that, SXSW certainly isn’t the time to catch up on your sleep. Nor is it the time to eat healthy, start your detox program, worry about hygiene, complain about the weather, chill out, or decide that you want to be moody and independent.
- You see that big escalator at the corner entrance of the Convention Center? It does not go to the 3rd Floor. No, not at all. And that elevator over there? Well, it only goes to the 3rd Floor, but not the 4th. But you can take the outside staircase to get to the 4th Floor. Or is it the 3rd Floor? Hey, has anyone seen the 2nd Floor at all?
- It’s pretty effing cute to see guys getting all fluttery and stuff about Guy Kawasaki and Tony Hsieh.
- Unless you have a lot of time to spare, don’t walk down the street with “A. Hughes” and his camera. If you must, go to a town where it is guaranteed that he knows positively no one, and where there are absolutely zero pretty girls in sight. Trust me on this one.
- Adding, “That’s what she said!” after, um, almost everything remotely suggestive never, ever gets unfunny.
- Oh yeah, and “server rack,” too.
- What’s Twitter?
- Did you know that you can cook Spaghetti-Os in a coffee maker? Yum. Breakfast.
- You wanna meet people at SXSW? You’d better get yourself to some parties. Or hurdle chairs to get to the panelists before they call security on you. Or call you “cheap.”
- If there’s ever a mass button disappearance in America (and I mean “buttons,” as in the ones with the pins attached to the back), I have located their secret bunker. They’re all hiding out on the tables at the SXSW Film & Interactive Trade Show. Talk about buttons like whoa! Even Joey would’ve whoa-d.
- Maggie wore her hair differently at SXSW. No one noticed.
- So yeah, it kinda sucked not having an iPhone. It was the equivalent of everyone wearing satin undies, and I was the only one sportin’ cotton. With dinosaurs on it (okay, actually, that’s kinda cool). Until AT&T proved to the geekiest throng in the world how badly its service actually sucks, making my incredibly uncool Verizon Wireless BlackBerry look pretty damn sexy when I got data and voice service, like, everywhere.
- Apparently, my vocal chords aren’t a fan of heavily imbibing for four nights straight. What started off as a sexy morning voice quickly devolved into an enviable smoker’s rasp. Pfft. Lightweights.
- There is some brilliant technology on its way into the mainstream, my friends – lemme tell you! – but my favorite, by far, was Empressr. A browser-based, rich media presentation tool? And it’s FREE?! Swoon! I’m in love! Marry me?
- If you become internet-famous enough, you, too, can land yourself on an Internet All-Stars Trading Card. Ahem. Yikes.
- All of Austin’s bars are outside. This doesn’t bode well when it is, um, FREEZING.
- Err, clearly there are parts of #6 to which I did not abide.
- I really must learn how to spin boobie tassels.
- Dear Mr. Boss Man, if we ever, you know, needed to open, like, a satellite office in Austin, I would take one for the team and help establish a Schipul branch there. You know, ’cause I’m, like, a team player ‘n all.