South by Southwest, the Internet/Music/Film festival and conference also known as SXSW or “Spring Break for Geeks” is almost here. Somehow, I’ve lived my entire life and never made it to Austin, Texas for this confab, but that’s about to change. I’m heading to my first SXSW next Saturday as part of my work at Sprint. (I’m going for just a few days of SXSW Interactive.)
There seems to be no shortage of tips on what to expect and what are the “must dos”. Nearly everyone says be prepared to walk a lot, stay hydrated and recognize that you can’t do everything and meet everyone you hope to meet. To be honest, it’s all a bit overwhelming.
But you know what, that’s OK. I’m channeling some Zen by focusing on a few things which I am really looking forward to.
- Reconnecting with all the friends I made when I was in Austin last year to help Sprint launch 4G. Austin is packed with really smart, laid back people who love live music and good food. What’s not to like?
- Tech Karaoke. The concept is simple. Techies sometimes need to cut loose when they get together and they don’t all want to talk about work or wonkiness. I’m looking forward to people singing 80’s music in a cool setting with a live band. (Sprint’s co-sponsoring this party with Awareness, Chirbit, BarStar, MobileRoadie, TechCocktail, Mashable, the Social Media Club and Pinqued. If you want to come, you have to sign up ahead of time at www.techkaraoke.com.)
- Showing off Sprint 4G. Since I was last in Austin, we’ve introduced a 3G-4G personal hotspot known as the Overdrive. It allows you to connect up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices to Sprint’s 4G or 3G network. iPhone owners frustrated with the network Apple chose to partner with in the U.S., look for our street teams giving demos in downtown Austin throughout SXSW. (We can run your iPhone on our 4G network.)
- San Antonio. In addition to managing media relations for Austin, I represent Sprint with media in San Antonio. The two cities are so close, it makes sense to visit both on the same trip. And just like the people in Austin, the people in San Antonio are bright, energetic and love live music and good food as much as I do. Plus I’ll get to hang out with Nan Palmero, who has more energy than anyone else in Texas.
- Warm weather. (I’ve still got some snow on the ground in my back yard from last month’s blizzards, yet I’m packing shorts for Texas!)
If you’re going to Austin, tell me what you’re looking forward to; if you’ve been before, share your tips for first timers like me. Meanwhile, here’s a bonus tip for your Austin visit: check out The Oasis on Lake Travis at sunset. (It’s a good place to relax away from the craziness of downtown.)