Tag Archives: sxsw

How to survive #SXSW – a guide – #sxswace blogpost

16 Mar

1 – Use Jedi Mind powers when you cross the road. Use the force. Failing that wear a T-Shirt with Yoda on. Like this. It will get you cred points like you wouldn’t believe. Trust me, it was the right T-shirt for this event. ‘It done got good traction’…and that, my friends is a verbatim quote. Hmmm lie to you would I?


2 – Wear Good shoes. Comfortable shoes. Good comfortable shoes. Preferably ones that can give you cred too. Preferably ones that fit into the lone star state. With style. And they ‘will done get you good traction – as this is a help. You end up walking miles. 10 campuses. Texas is large. So is Austin. And public transport is at best hidden. Wear good shoes.


3 – Wear sunscreen. This is a given. Especially when you have more target to aim at like me. And you are follically challenged. There are many of us here. I know this. As this is the first time the queue – or standing in line for the gent’s restroom – is about three times the length of the womens’ toilet queue. I know this they took photos of us. The laughed at us. At the follically challenged men with red heads. Wear sunscreen. That is all. It is hot here.


4 – Make sure you eat breakfast. It is going to be a long day and night. And you can’t live off tacos 24/7. They are not part of your five a day. Neither are Margaritas a food group. Get your daily staples. Get supplies. Get curiosities.


5 – Get your schedule sorted. Make notes. Take notes. Then be prepared to go to different sessions. There are over 7,000 events in 5 days. Check with your group. Who is going to what. Use the hashtag #sxswace to keep track of changes and events. Above all keep Grouped in.


6 – In terms of what to go for with sessions – sometimes take a risk and if the keynote sessions are covered go to a smaller group discussion. You may get asked back to do a live podcast the following day and be on a panel. Worked for me. So as Humphrey Bogart said – Sometimes a hot-dog at the ballgame is better than a steak at the Ritz…


7 – Take time to discover new things. That may take you away from the Convention Centre. That is good. Get some space. Take pictures. See More of Austin. Talk to new people. Take your badge off. Go for lunch away from the festival. It refreshes you. It recharges you. See some Art.


8 – See things in a new light. From a different perspective. Reflect on what you have seen and heard. Look at familiar things from a new place.


9 – Read the notice boards. Stuck to the clingfilmed pillars are some surprises. The stuff that happens isn’t just in the sessions. It is with the people and the place.


10 – The Creative Producers team have wide ranging and diverse skills. Make connections and scan QR codes. You never know what you might unlock.


11 – Austin is an inspring City. It has contrasts and craziness. it has people and more space than you can imagine


12 – Remember to unwind and download the info. Preferably round a table. Outside. With new friends




Keep moving #onwards…











The Lone Star state – the truth about Juan Pelota – monochrome diary #SXSW

9 Mar


A black and white take on my trip round Austin yesterday. Under the bright harsh Texan sunshine I ran like a gecko between the buildings, bars and coffee shops. Everywhere there are five pointed stars. The Converse All Star, The San Pellegrino Star, The Red Star – everywhere – until of course I realised this is the lone star state. The symbol of its independence before it joined the union. So everywhere…


Even at Mellow Johnny’s – The famous bike shop owned by Lance Armstrong. Headed here to pick some things up for Sarah back in the Pilot office. Some new Livestrong bands and a water bottle. And even a T-shirt with a star symbol on from here…And of course a look around – The place has a fabulous coffee shop too. And well worth a visit. It is called ‘Juan Pelota’ and serves a range of coffees and great organic local food. I had a a brown cow smothie and a espresso doppio. At the branded table (literally branded…) which is of course where this comes from and again I hadn’t joined up those dots until I landed here in the branding centre of the world…


The truth about the name? Juan Pelota – This is Lance Armstrong’s place right? The Lance Armstrong Foundation ring any bells? Not even a single one? Pelota is Spanish for ball…Juan Pelota…Geddit Y’all?


Heading back out towards the music and venue strip on 6th Avenue – as Austin is the live Music Capital of the world –  I came across some great shots – look out for the ‘spear ghost sign and the new skyscraper’ are in terms of here ‘a keeper’


6th Avnue and up to Congress are the main areas for the SXSW festival. This is just to the east of the colossal Austin Convention Centre that hosts the talks and trade exhibitions. But up here on 6th has an older and more retro feel. And the great thing about this town is that everwhere has a free wifi connection. All the bars, shops, cafes, streets, all have their own open networks. For free. To use. With no log in and payments. Which means that it is so easy to sit with a coffee and check up on the latest info about the festival. Where you can use the online app schedule. Where you can get updates and invitations. It just works. Seamlessly. I like it. It is my kind of town for that.


A journey back to the hotel which is down a 6 lane highway takes in some interesting views and great images too


But not quite as good as the hotel pool. No diving it says. So you look up. You can’t miss it. The six lane highway is now a twelve lane junction. You hear it. It is not very far away. You don’t dive in. You dip your feet in carefully here


Til later – as it is Mardi Gras and people are walking by with beads and balloon hats…