About a month ago I had a brainfart and nearly didn’t come to Austin to attend SXSW. Thank heavens I came to my senses – the trip has already been worth it on so many levels.
In the short time Allan Kent and I have been here we’ve met some amazing people, seen some rather entertaining things and absorbed some incredible content. The value I’ve extracted from half a day’s worth of SXSW trumps all the networking and conferencing I’ve done at home in a year. We simply HAVE to find a way to get more Saffas to conferences like these – it’s humbling, challenging and downright inspiring.
The first day was really about navigating my way around the monstrosity that is SXSW – thousands of people and hundreds of panels and talks mean that you have to plan (not my strong point) to take full advantage. Popular sessions and parties have have queues building up long before the doors open meaning you have to get there really early – last night Allan and I traipsed across town to attend a Techset blogger party at the Belmont, got there an hour early and so grabbed an awesome meal at Sandra Bullock’s Bess Bistro around the corner. By the time we’d finished the substantial line of people waiting to get into the Belmont tracked around the corner. Not funny. Such is SXSW.
The people in the South are awesome – I have never experienced a service ethic or level of hospitality like this anywhere in the world. From the hotel staff at the Radisson to the Pepsi delivery guy who insisted on paying for our parking ticket yesterday, we have been overwhelmed by the kindness and accessibility of the Texas state. Nevermind local pride – Texans truly love Texas.
I’ve already met Chris Brogan, Jackie Huba and Brian Solis, albeit briefly – social media thoughtleaders I really admire and respect. Each one of them has made time to find out what I do and shown genuine interest in it.