We all do it. Every year we prepare for the beauty and chaos that is SXSW Interactive. And now that we’re a few weeks past, we ask ourselves, “Did I rock it or fail miserably?”
- REGISTERED YOUR BUTT OFF:
First, you prepared by spending hours registering to every event you could get your hands on. You scoured RSVPster, facebook, twitter, blogs, and even check last year’s calendar for the best events (ok fine… they’re really called “parties”, but using the word events makes us feel a little more adult about it).
The point is that you PREPARED.THAT.SCHEDULE.
Seriously, this preparation was no joke. You threw yourself in full-fledged and dug deep. Your calendar became your SXSW treasure map and e-tickets became your keys to unlock that SXSW gold.
If your schedule looked bat-shit-crazy, you nailed it. #thatshowyouknow
2. PACKED WITH PURPOSE
When you begin to pack your SXSW bags you start with business cards and tech. And, whelp, then we run out of room and eventually find ourselves standing in weird Austin weather without the right clothing saying to ourselves, “Damn weather — I should have packed better….but wait a minute, that extra HDMI cable I packed was SO worth it. Take that, stupid rain. #WINNING.”
Priorities, baby. It’s about priorities.
3. SURVIVED THE WILD WEST OF BUSINESS CARDS.
After you verified for the sixth time that all events were on that bat-shit-crazy calendar you packed your unbelievably huge pile of those gorgeous, thoughtfully designed business cards.
Now, you’re probably thinking that yep, you packed and prepared, so you can skim through this one and check it off your list. But wait a minute… slow down champ… you might not be out of the woods yet.
The real test is this:
Were you, at any point, not able to whip one of those slick little information-packed babies out like it was a gun from the wild west?
If you can’t say with 1,000% percent confidence that you performed well in every business card showdown, then you’ve got room for improvement.
4. BLEW YOUR MIND.
At some point in SXSW, you should have felt like your head was going to explode.
Happiness, excitement, questions, ideas, whatever it was you should have at least once felt like your eye sockets didn’t have enough space to accommodate your surging brain.
And, if you’re like us, you definitely thought you might not survive that idea overload. #thatshowyouknow
If you didn’t have an “AHA!” moment at SXSW, you probably should have gone to a few more demos and lectures or socialized more outside of your team. If you didn’t fear for the size of your noggin even once, odds are that you didn’t maximize learning & meeting from some of the greatest minds in technology.
5. DISNEY WORLD TIRED.
Ever been to Disney World? Do you remember falling asleep on the tram on the way out of the parking lot? Or sitting down at the unbelievably expensive hotdog stand feeling like you just couldn’t go on, regardless of how epic Space Mountain was going to be?
“Disney.World.Tired” is how we at Volt refer to the ultimate and absolute furthest state of tiredness the body can physically handle. At SX we all get there at least once.
After all, SXSWi is like going to Disney World for tech lovers.
6. GOT SICK.
When SXSWi comes, it’s a whirlwind of awesomeness: awesome people, awesome places, awesome tech, awesome food, awesome beer, awesome music. It’s almost too much awesome to handle, and your body let’s you know because when that perfect SXSW storm passes, you inevitably get sick and so does your team.
You can’t talk, feet ache, and have shaken so many hands that not even 2 bottles of hand sanitizer could have saved you. You loved every minute of it.
You networked over so many beers that your liver needs a time-out and you talked and yelled so much (thanks to that kickass but VERY loud band) that you can’t utter the simplest phrase on the trip back.
You croaked like a frog and it was BEA-U-TIFUL.
This year, the entire Volt team (every single Volt’bassador) was diagnosed with a case of Rhinopharyngitis the following week. Cause: excessive talking, lack of sleep, & lots of handshakes.
You might say “gross”, but we say, “success!” #thatshowyouknow
7. MADE GREAT FRIENDS
Most importantly, is that you actually made some friends (that’s what Mom always says…). Ok, not to get all sappy on you, but SXSWi is a rare time when people like you get together: driven, persistent, intelligent, passionate, and have an overall refreshing approach to life. I hope you connected with a few people and truly bonded a few friendships that you will actually make the effort to maintain.
I know we did. (To our friends in California, you know who you are. We’re pumped to have met and can’t wait to continue our friendship for years to come!)
8. A MOUNTAIN OF FOLLOW UPS.
And here we are, post-disney for tech lovers, when the calm returns and we’re left wondering, “did we get value out of SXSW?”. Luckily, aside from the above points, there are a few simple signs that’ll guide you:
Have you reached out to all of your business card exchange-ees?
Are you seriously thinking about feedback, ideas, and how to integrate new things learned?
Do you feel the immense pressure to move faster, better, and smarter?
Can you not stop thinking about that mind-blowing innovation?
If post-SXSW has changed nothing in your daily work, startup strategy, or overall approach to STUFF, then my friend, no matter the pile of business cards, sickness, or Austin awesomeness can help you. You’ve failed. BIG TIME.
But, we highly doubt you failed. Because in a way, we’ve already met you. After all, we’re your people! If you’re reading this, you probably went to SXSWi, which likely means you’re cool already. So, nice job! (And it was a pleasure to meet you! Ha!)
We bet you rocked SX. If you had a cray calendar, exchanged a ton of business cards, felt like you were going to explode from ideas and tiredness, and eventually got sick, you, my fellow tech-junkie, are a success story.
I hope you all strive for sickness (I mean, success…) as we do at Volt Studios & Morse VR.
And to you, SXSW — thank you. Until next March, my liver won’t miss you. But I will.
How do you measure your SXSWi success?