What I learned about SXSW - State and Federal Communications

March 14, 2018  •  

What I learned about SXSW

SXSW has been an event I have wanted to attend but I didn’t understand it…And, after being here five days, I don’t know if I understand it because it is huge.

Yes, there is music. There are films. But these are not just walk in opportunities. You need to have the right badge or wristband to attend.

I signed up with the City of Akron as a partner, which meant I had a table in the exhibit booth with the City…And, that is all I could do. I did speak with Libby Wuller and Joshua Hone from Quorum Analytics who gave me advice about signing up for events; but having only 48 hours between the PAC conference and SXSW, I had enough time to pack black slacks. I do thank them for the advice and will put it to better use next year. Also, a special thanks to Apple’s Steve Kester, who sent me a full list of night events. Yeah, after eight hours in the exhibit hall, there was little appetite for night events.

The exhibit booth is huge, and SXSW provides a lot of time for people to walk through. On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday the booths are open from 10 am to 6 pm and on Wednesday it is open from 10 am to 2 pm. And, similar to NCSL, if you close up early, you are fined.

I did miss Melinda Gates, Elon Musk, the cast of This is Us and Roseanne because I only had the trade show badge. I could buy another one, which I will do for 2019. The big badge is the Platinum badge, which you can buy now for 2019 for $1,100, which is about $700 more than the regular price and you get in everything.

Everything? Impossible to staff the booth, attend events, see movies, get in line to hear Elon Musk, stay hydrated, eat, and do it for five days, at a minimum. The Interactive badge does allow you to attend sessions and the trade show, but not the films and concerts…you just don’t get a deal on that badge price.

So, if you are interested in SXSW, spend the rest of the year reading from the website about the programs and opportunities. If you have something technologically innovative, you should exhibit it.

Two pieces of advice:

  1. It is a no tie zone. You won’t look more professional in your professional business attire. You will look out of place. Lots of jeans, boots, and leggings here.
  2. Rest before flying into Austin…There is very little time to do so here.

I am available to answer questions if you have any about SXSW. I am hoping the City of Akron does this again because I did learn a lot and want to see more of the programs.

And, of course, it is the hippest place to be and I want to be hip!!

Check out some more of my photos from SXSW:

Elizabeth with Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan

Always running into Kent State Alumni! Rachael Miller, now teaching in Anchorage, Alaska

Ran into another Kent State Alumni, Bruce Sheehan, now living in Austin, Texas

Representing in Booth 731 at this years SXSW

Excited to partner with the City of Akron and these great companies in this years exhibit

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