48 Hours in Austin & My Top 10 Favorite Things about SXSW 2015
As a 4th year SXSW attendee, I finally feel like I’ve mastered the art of having a successful SXSW. It’s a combination of eliminating FOMO (Fear Of Mission Out) and not over booking yourself and being extremely present at everything you do attend. Oh and pumping yourself up about not getting any sleep for the week as well as staying hydrated with a lot of water! What better year to utilize my SXSW skills than to be forced to see everything in only 48 hours?! Due to other work commitments, 48 hours is all the time I had in Austin, so I present to you my 4th annual SXSW recap and top 10 things about SXSW 2015. (Yes I realize this recap is a little late but, better late than never!)
1. Meeting Jimmy Kimmel– Meeting Jimmy Kimmel was quite a funny and unique experience! He is such a talented late night host on Jimmy Kimmel Live. In fact he is my favorite late night host! I enjoy watching him because he always comes up with so many creative segments that engage his audience. My favorites include, Lie Witness News stories, his various editions of Mean Tweets and let’s not forget his viral internet sensation the Twerking girl who caught on fire. I was fortunate enough to snag a front row seat at his SXSW Session “A Conversation with Jimmy Kimmel” (How do you snag a front row seat for one of the largest panels you might ask? Watch the session beforehand so you’re already sitting in the seat that you want) where his former boss Kevin Ryder of KROQ interviews him. He shared his humble beginnings of being fired by numerous radio stations, getting coffee for guests and moving all around the country for low paying gigs. It was inspirational to hear him speak about his hard work and success story. To this day I can tell he is humble and respects everyone who’s helped him get where he is today. I asked him “Who do you want on your show who hasn’t been on before?”. He answered in typical Jimmy Kimmel fashion, “Bansky”. I bet Jimmy Kimmel could pull it off too! If anyone can pull a prank and convince people they have discovered Bansky, it is Jimmy Kimmel. After his session, he was so nice about staying and taking selfies with everyone. A mad rush of people swarmed him and he was nice enough to say “Don’t worry I will take pictures with all of you” as he also shared that he never thought people would be mobbing him to take photos. I am happy to say that meeting him has solified my impression of what a great guy he is.
2. SXSW Yoga– For the third year in a row I had the honor of hosting an official SXSW Yoga session. I feel blessed for an opportunity to share my love of yoga to a group of tech savvy and successful business professionals. I started off by busting some yoga myths (the biggest one being “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible”) and I shared my advice for incorporating yoga into a busy life, along with poses you can do at home or in the office. Then we went right into a yoga session that everyone could participate in, even while wearing conference clothes! It was a pleasure to meet other business professionals also interested in yoga and I love having a chance to create the calmest place in Austin during the busiest time of year.
3. Meat-Up– Yes I said Meat up. This was one of my favorite networking events held at Fogo de Chao. I received an invite from Insightpool, a company that unites sales and marketing across social. I actually have never been to that spot so it was a treat to check it out while getting to try a plethora of their menu items. The servers brought generous portions of tray passed apps out through the entire night. I spoke to a handful of people that I made great connections with and I received great advice for growing as a marketing professional.
4. Millennials and Sport: Reaching Next Gen Fans with Pat McAfee- SXSW had a sports track this year and I couldn’t have been happier with it. Being that I studied Sport Management when I attended UCSB and have worked in sports marketing roles various times in my career, I am always very interested in this topic. I attended the session “Millennials and Sport: Reaching Next Gen Fans”. The panel featured Perkins Miller and Eric Weinberger from the NFL Network and Pat McAfee, the Punter for the Indianapolis Colts. I learned a lot about what the NFL is doing to engage fans. I was extremely impressed with Mr. McAfee. Who knew a young punter could be so well spoken? McAfee just gets it! He understands how to use social to connect and engage with his audience. He knows how to avoid diluting his stream with sales pitches shared many tips of his own for creating a true fan base out of millenials.
5. How to Rock SXSW in 4 Hours– Being that I only had 48 hours in Austin, this session was speaking directly to me! Hosted by the one and only Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week. It was an absolute inspiration hearing him speak. He shared how he got his big break at SXSW in 2007. His was another story or hard work and persistence paying off. His book was rejected by 25 publishers but that did not stop him. Before the Four Hour Work Week was released, Ferriss was an unknown. He marketed the book heavily through bloggers with whom he created personal relationships with. His advice was spot on when he said “Treat everyone as if they can get you to the top. Don’t dismiss anyone.” This is important to keep in mind because we often focus too much on wanting to know right away “What do you do?” when we meet someone for the first time. If the answer doesn’t directly correlate with what we are looking for at the moment, we move one. However, you never know who that person may be connected to, what their full story and background is and what they can do to help.
6. Rescued by Mophie and St. Bernards– During my first year at SXSW, I learned the very important acronym of ABC- Always Be Charging. There are very few places where you will be using your smart phone and other devices as much as you will be during SXSW so it’s important that whenever you see an outlet, you are plugged in! Mophie, decided to take ABC to the next level by having Saint Bernard dogs save us from dead batteries. I was at the Fast Company Grill when the dogs arrived and these working dogs definitely had their work cut out for them but they did their job and got us all powered up with our very own Mophie packs.
7. Equalman- I had the pleasure of meeting Erik Qualman last July. He’s the man behind the Socialnomics Revolution videos. I use his videos, books and resources in my teachings so needless to say he’s someone I definitely look up to and continuously learn a lot from. He graciously took time out of his day to meet with me during my visit to Boston and I have since written for his website, with my last post discussing how to use social media to land a job. I was excited to see that he was added to the SXSW schedule last minute. Erik’s session was motivational just like I knew it would be. He engaged the audience, used wonderful visuals and even gave out prizes at the end (autographed books!). Not only did I learn more about the social media landscape, but I learned how to improve my own speaking and presentation skills.
8. Radius Workout– Health and fitness is one of my top priorities in life no matter what I’m doing. Last year I even shared tips on how to stay fit during SXSW. This year, in addition to teaching SXSW Yoga, I had a chance to participate in a SXSW workout myself. The Radius team held an intense morning boot camp type workout so of course I joined. I’m usually the type of person who works out at lunch or in the evening but at a conference where my schedule was so tight, I loved kicking off my morning with a rush of energy from the work out.
9. SXSWag- You can tell who’s coming home from SXSW by the contents of their luggage. If it’s filled with t-shirts, colorful sunglasses, gadgets, books and this year a selfie stick then you know that person was at SXSW! Since I only travel with a carry on luggage I have limited space for swag. This forces me to pick and choose what nuggets of SXSW come home to San Diego with me. This year the keepers included my name placard for being a speaker, Jimmy Kimmel’s name placard that I grabbed after his session and asked him to autograph (yes I was that person asking for an autograph when everyone swarmed him for a selfie), a selfie stick that I have yet to use, my Mophie pack and an autographed copy of Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics that I plan to give since I already have my own copy.
10. Food + Tech Meetup– Meeting foodies who are also into tech is a great combination. This was my second year attending the Food + Tech Meetup and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The meetup showcases new advancements or discoveries in food and this year, crickets are all the hype! I tried my very first cricket, “jerked cricket” to be exact and was told that it’s filled with protein, magnesium and iron. I also made some new friends who create great Instagram Food porn including @bayareaeats. This account itself makes me want to take a good tasting tour of the Bay Area.
If you haven’t been to SXSW, it’s something that you must experience. You are guaranteed to meet with many amazing people from all walks of life, connect with the most technologically advanced and innovative businesses in the world, all while enjoying unique art, culture and everything the city of Austin has to offer. Oh and let’s not forget you’ll enjoy some of the best BBQ ever. Austin, I can’t wait to be back in you next March! You can check out my previous adventures at SXSW here:
- Marketing Melodie’s Top 10 Favorite Things About SXSW 2014
- Marketing Melodie’s Top 10 Favorite Things About SXSW 2013
- So Much Winning at SXSW 2012 (Top Chef, 3eb, WordPress, Beats by Dre) #ATTSXSW
Thank you Austin for another memorable SXSW. I can’t wait to be in you again!