I can guarantee that SXSW is like no other conference you’ll ever experience. In a few days, you’ll establish connections, experiences and lessons you never thought possible; all painted against the eclectic backdrop of Austin, Texas. And there’s no amount of social media or Internet that can explain the vibe of walking down music-laden 6th Street or moving through a sea of convention center-goers. It’s tough to explain in words, even.
So here is my experience in pictures. And while it doesn’t cover everything (I missed the picture of Superman on a pedicab and the replica Mutt Cutts truck from Dumb and Dumber), it gives you a good sense of what recently went down in Austin, TX.
Sessions were packed. I enjoyed being in rooms with like-minded, excited attendees as we took notes on our various devices. Plus, networking between sessions was a no brainer.
Ballroom G at the Austin Convention Center. Here we listened to Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association
Seeing the salesforce.com Cloud Lounge in person made all the prep time worth it. The spot stood out and was a great meeting ground throughout the show.
salesforce.com Cloud Lounge on 5th and Brazos
One of my favorite spots was the Samsung Blogger Lounge at the Austin Convention Center. Between sessions I could plug in, meet other bloggers and watch great interviews. Here are a few of them.
Watching Hannah Hart from My Drunk Kitchen at the Samsung Blogger Lounge
The cast from Burning Love at the Samsung Blogger Lounge
The one and only Shaq at the Samsung Blogger Lounge (he bench pressed the woman to the left)
In addition to the sessions, lounges and people, there’s technology. Some of the latest startups reside at SXSW letting anyone try out the tech. Here I experienced Leap Motion, a gesture-based controller that lets you interact with your computer in a whole new way (goodbye mouse).
Experiencing Leap Motion
Back to sessions. I opted for many marketing and social media-focused topics, such as one from author Jason Lankow on infographics. And after feverishly Tweeting throughout the session, Jason Lankow and I took the conversation online shortly afterward.
I also tried some non-marketing sessions to relax the brain of work-related topics and learn new things. I opted for a session on science and comedy, where the concept of humor was broken down into a Ven Diagram.
Ven Diagram of the science of comedy
Food is another reason why I’m so glad SXSW is housed in Austin. You can’t experience the conference without some street meat and back-of-the-bar burgers. And yes, it is all amazing.
My coworker, Jeff Cohen, picking up our burgers at the back of Casino el Camino, a bar on 6th Street
My friend, Dan Weingrod and I shared BBQ fusion-covered fries from the Chi’lantro food truck in downtown Austin
Known as one of the best BBQ joints in Texas, Dan Weingrod, Joe Ciarello and I had to try The Salt Lick (it was amazing)
While conferences are busy and time-consuming, I always try to make time for other things. My coworker, Jeff Cohen and I had a…weird experience.
A trip to Museum of the Weird
Only in Austin can I get caught in a giant King Kong (at Museum of the Weird)
SXSW is all about the people. I deepened relationships with those I see often, met the folks I only knew online and created new relationships with many amazing, talented marketers.
Hanging out at the Samsung Blogger Lounge with Joselin Mane, author and organizer of Boston Tweetup.
After years of Tweeting, I finally met Jason Konopinski at the salesforce.com Cloud Lounge
Me and my coworker Ben Pruden (far left) having fun at the photo booth at the Cloud Lounge
Me and Jason Boies (left) reuniting with our Twitter buddy, Eric Tung (right)
Me and coworker, Jeff Cohen
Our content team including Jason Boies (left) and Andrew Gothelf (right)
No matter how much online and social media marketing and networking you do, be sure to get out there and experience some real life, in person events. Conferences like SXSW are invaluable. So get your cowboy boots on, pack those business cards and get out there. And have some fun. That helps too.
For more pics, check out my Instagram.