So I've collected all the feedback from the blabme team and we can summarize everything by saying that this year's SXSWi was one of the best so far!
A few of us have had 'South By' experiences with previous companies we've worked for and this one really ranked up there, especially with Obama making an appearance made us feel special...
It all started last year with the frenzy which is now well known as the SXSWi Hotel mad grab. As soon as the first Hotels become available they're gone, fully booked, capowie. If you want any chance of a decent hotel anywhere near downtown Austin then you'll need to book 9 months in advance, a bit like having a baby. Otherwise you'll just get left with something on the freeway and I mean right on it - trucks bellowing past your windows throughout the night! Factor in the cost of the taxis and traffic there and you're better off shelling out the cash to be downtown. Roundrock is not downtown Austin, it's Roundrock!
So if you're lucky enough to have somewhere to stay (try Airbnb) then you probably won't be spending any time in your valuable room after all that due to all the events and parties. This is a rigorous work like schedule of networking events, product launches, branded houses, open bars, meet and greets, never mind the parties and concerts at night. So be prepared, however hard you've done it before you're going to do it harder and longer than that ever at this 'conference'. By the way, anyone who's been to 'South By' a couple of times soon realizes that best business is all done outside the convention center and you really don't need a badge. A couple of the exceptions would be that you need to be there to learn something either because you want to or your company is making you.
Platinum = All 3 in 1
Whether you use them or not they are badges of honor, so it's quite prestigious to have a lanyard around your neck, showing others you're a 'badge holder'. Last time I went to one conference session in the main hall, saw a mouse eating leftovers on the floor (hipster mouse) and then left. The blabme team spent a lot of SXSWi at the truly excellent Mashable house instead (more on that later).
You probably are going to need a badge to get into the scheduled parties / main events, however a lot of the time the barcode reader don't work and if you have something that resembles a badge they'll wave you through anyway !!
But don't believe the hype as a lot of these events are overrated and if you don't have a badge you can still RSVP for lots of other events and if you get there early you have a chance to get in before the badge holders anyway. e.g Mashable and various brand houses.
Our team looked great in their blabme white wayfarer sunglasses which are turning out to be some of the most highly rated swag around. At night time the lenses can be popped out and they still look cool as just frames! #merch #geekchic
The SXSW highlight is always the super successful Mashable House featuring all the major influencers and celebs (Owen Wilson in a previous year was my favorite to chat to) + cool DJs playing their amazing Mashbash parties!
Definitely recommend you attend next year, share / tweet that you read this post and we'll enter you in our Win a Playstation or Xbox competition!
Alex (+invite me on our app)