Top Tips To Survive During The Day At SXSW

There’s a bundle of top tips out there for SXSW attendees, so it’s time for me to add to this. I’m going to look specifically in how to survive during the day at SXSW, along with some practical advice.

Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be walking a lot, be on you feet for most of the day, and that goes on for five days.

Keep up your fluid intake, and I don’t mean the alcohol. The Texan heat may or may not be a surprise to you, but you’ll be sweating, and likely not notice the fatigue thanks to the adrenalin. If you get the chance to drink water, take it. Your body knows how to deal with excess water without damaging your health.

Don’t trust your electronics: The maths is simple. With thousands of delegates, and laptops carrying maybe three hours of battery life, most people will be searching for power throughout the day. You’ll recognise the little pools of life clinging to the wall sockets, hoping that they have the holy grail of power and wi-fi. Paper, pen, business cards and Filofaxes (or Moleskeins for the modern hip with it kids) will help you get through the day with little stress.

Consider carrying a second shirt as a courtesy for half-way through the day. Deodorant as well.

Accept that you will not see everything (and everyone) that is on your list. That doesn’t mean your SXSW will be a laid back affair, it just shows how large SXSW is, the number of people attending, and the simple fact that everyone has interesting stories.

You’re not going to get in to the Digg party, it’s too popular. Even more popular than the Daily Mail’s love of Fearne Cotton.

A lot of people will talk about the Salt Lick. This is a great place for BBQ, but be aware that it is some distance out of town. So if you do pay it a visit (and it is excellent food) you’re going to loose a lot of time on and around the Convention Centre. Consider carefully who you’ll be spending the quality Salt Lick time with.

No, really, you won’t get into the Digg party (unless you’re like Steve McQueen jumping the wire in The Great Escape).

There is a bag of stuff. A lot of stuff. So much stuff I can record a podcast, with lots of guests, just on the contents. Ask nicely (and be n the right place at the right time) and you can join me. As you can pick up the bag at any time, near the end of the day, or just as you head to your hotel would be a good time.

Have fun! Yes it’s busy, yes it can be overwhelming, but it’s meant to be a good time, to meet new people, catch up with your friends, and discover stuff! And if you see me hanging around (look for the kilt), do come up and say hi. I might have some stickers for you…

2 Responses to “Top Tips To Survive During The Day At SXSW”

  1. Sam Michel says:

    Great tips, Ewan.

    Couple of things to add. The weather is actually pretty cold and wet at the moment and is scheduled to be like that for the next couple of days, then it’ll brighten up. Layers will be useful.

    I’ve heard great things about the Salt Lick, but never had the time to go out there. An alternative is the Iron Works BBQ which is about 5 minutes out the back of the Convention Centre. It was my first experience of Texas BBQ, and ace. Maybe that’s why I remember it so fondly.

    The Digital Mission stand ( in the Expo hall (open Sat/Sun/Mon midday onwards) will have wired Internet access (so you actually get some access). We’ve also brought lots of UK extension leads so both UK and US SXSWers should be able to re-charge on the stand.

    See you there.

  2. Ewan Spence says:

    POWER!!!! UK Power at that! Yaay

    Good tips Sam, although landing late, at night, at a windy and rainy airport, I thought I had found a short cut to Edinburgh (which would have been nice)