This is the first installment in Digiday’s coverage of SXSWi, which runs from March 7-14 in Austin, Texas. The series is sponsored by Dstillery, the pioneer in audience targeting for brands.
SXSW can be overwhelming. There are over 30,000 attendees, 900 official content sessions and hundreds of parties. The tyranny of choice is in full effect.
Digiday has combed through the agenda and the happenings to craft itineraries for various personality types.
The Tech Nerd
You’re not here just for the parties and barbecue. You’re into what’s next.
- Mid-day (Austin Music Hall): HBO will have a virtual reality experience that will allow visitors to “visit” Westeros, the setting of its hit show “Game of Thrones.” The experience — created in part by visual production company Framestore — uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which has been a staple at tech conferences lately.
- Evening (Austin Music Hall): HBO will follow up the “Game of Thrones” installation with a party. Kristian Nairn, better known as Hodor from the series, will be DJing the event (seriously). Well-connected nerds only, though; you’ll need an invite to get in.
- Mid-day (Downtown Austin): You might see Valleywag writer and Silicon Valley enfant terrible Sam Biddle walking the streets of Downtown Austin, looking for his next startup to skewer. Here’s your chance to beg him to take it easy on your fledging social platform.
- Afternoon (R/GA Austin): For those lucky enough to be invited, startups from the R/GA-TechStars connected device accelerator will finally pitch their products. The program was designed to help startups brand their prototypes, so come see how agency expertise can help turn your idea into something consumers actually care about.
- Evening: Call your VC backers and see if they can get into one of their most successful portfolio company’s parties.
- Mid-day (Hilton Austin Downtown): Take an Uber pedicab to the Hilton to see how technology has finally caught up with your favorite TV show at the Techie Trekkies: Bringing Star Trek to Life panel.
- Afternoon (Sheraton Austin Creekside): Think over the implications of big data with this JWT session, “Privacy is Dead: Long Live Privacy.”
- Evening (Austin Convention Center): Start camping out in front of the Austin Convention Center so you can secure a spot to watch the ACLU interview Edward Snowden the following morning.
Grownup in a Blazer
You’re a vendor exec here to do some actual business. You have a place at the Driskill and a corporate credit card handy for schmoozing clients.
- Mid-day (Austin Convention Center): Learn how to influence those pesky millennials with this panel featuring actress Rosario Dawson and MSNBC anchor Alex Wagner.
- Mid-day (Austin Convention Center): Listen to TBWA chief strategy officer Ed Castillo discuss Why Reading is a Flawed, Dying Technology.
- Evening (Haven): Dust off your old shell tops for MRY’s party featuring a performance by Rev. Run.
- Mid-day (Austin Convention Center): Attend the Tomorrow Is Another Day: Surviving A Social Media Crisis panel so you can know what to do if you find yourself on the wrong end of a @fart attack.
- Evening (Courtyard by Marriott): At this point, you’ll probably be feeling guilty about leaving the family at home while you muck it up with wealthy millennials in the Texas warmth for a weekend. Leaning Out: How Online Dads Raise Kids Offline will help you figure out how to be successful in tech without becoming a douchey dad.
- Morning (Hilton Austin Downtown): Reddit: You’re Doing it All Wrong will help you master the otherwise inscrutable content-sharing site. Then get lost in a reddit rabbit hole on your flight back.
You’ve somehow convinced your employer that you’re going to Austin to do business, but you’re really just there to drink free booze and swipe through Tinder.
- Evening: Get away from the amateurs on Sixth Street and do as the locals do; go to Rainey Street and drink at bars that were once homes. Start at Lustre Pearl Bar and make your way south, remembering to stop at The Blackheart.
- Late-night (Cheer up Charlie’s): This dance club changed locations since last SXSW, but if its new locale is any like its last, Charlie’s will be playing into the wee hours.
- Mid-day (One World Theatre): See your role model Mark Cuban speak about entrepreneurship and ask how you can fulfill your dream of becoming a sports team owner.
- Evening (Haven): Begrudgingly agree to bring your older, blazer-wearing co-worker with you to MRY’s party featuring Rev. Run.
- Afternoon (Austin Convention Center): Wake up in time to join your fellow brogrammers in watching Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz and rapper Nas discuss business (and hopefully hip-hop).
- Evening (The Mohawk): Surely you’ve been invited to the party hosted by AOL and The Barbarian Group, which will feature the musical stylings of Kurt Vile and The Raveonettes.
- Late-night: Venture east to visit the collection of dives and lounges on East Sixth Street including Shangri-La, Violet Crown Social Club and East Side Showroom among others. If it weren’t for the food trailers nearby, you’d feel like you were back home in Brooklyn.
And if you ever feel overwhelmed, just heed this sage advice:
#SXSW party tip: Avoid long lines by not attending SXSW
— SXSW Partyzzzzz (@SXSWPartyzzzzz) March 4, 2014
Image via Alfie Photography, Shutterstock
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