12 Lessons & Confessions from a First-Time SXSW Attendee

There are dozens of tips, tricks and hacks to make visiting SXSW easier. Sometimes, however, you just have to learn the hard way as I did in my first time to the interactive and sports festival in Austin. There were some legitimate trends and opportunities at SXSW that I posted in my blog, but chalk the ones below up to the “Cliff Claven” useless information category:

Matt FarrellBeards are in. Clean-shaven in a sport coat is not.

Jeans are the “official pants” of SXSW.

Rubes call it “South by Southwest,” and hipsters call it “South By.”

The bigger the brand represented on stage, the more people they will draw and the less they are going to say in the same amount of words.

Celebrity speakers are catnip for fans and low priority for business. It’s the offline equivalent of click bait. If they say something funny, it will be on Twitter in a matter of moments. Catch it there.

SXSW Walking TextingHipster, tech types are no better than anyone else at walking and texting. In fact, they’re worse.

The #SXSW hashtag is cluttered with noise. Focus on more specific niche hashtags such as #SXSports or #SXSWi or similar.

If there are free drinks provided at the presentation, just know it’s about to be an hour-long commercial for the company on stage. Best get two.

Words I am officially tired of … authentic and ecosystem. Meerkat is close behind.

Speakers who use the f-word on stage think they are very authentic in their ecosystem.

When someone, ahem Jim Licko, tells you to get to popular presentations early, believe it. Lines can be long and sessions restricted to one-in, one-out scenario.

SXSW LogoFor all the hipster, millennial, short-attention span jokes, SXSW runs on time. Like, precise on time. No exceptions. You will get the throat-slashing gesture. Just try them.

Is there really not a better way to share business cards?


Categories: Marketing

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2 replies

  1. Great post, Matt! And thank you for calling out the authenticity of our ecosystems… 🙂


  1. 12 Sports Marketing Trends from SXSW | SportsMarketingLab.com

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