Things I Learned In Austin

I am a complete moron for never attending SXSWi before.

HeatherB rocks.

I should thank my lucky stars for an assistant who was all over my reservations and got us in at Hilton Austin. It’s right across the street from the convention center, while some people were staying 10 miles out.

It’s best to tour the convention center when you pick up your badge. The place is huge and confusing and not easy to maneuver 5 minutes before the first panel on the first day.

The best sushi in the world has strawberries on top.

Taking notes is crucial. We use Basecamp for project management and in the middle of my first panel, I opened a new project right then and there, and by the end of the week, I had mountains upon mountains of messages from the conference.

Talk to people. But not too many.

Go to parties. But not too many.

Turning Twitter notifications on for people you know will be in Austin is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you are seeing where everyone is. On the other hand, your iPhone is acting like a vibrator in your pocket.

Divide and conquer = good. My coworker Rob and I split up the panels we wanted to attend so we covered more ground.

HelenJane is very patient with people (well, me, at least) smooching on her baby belly.

Don’t depend on Wi-Fi in the convention center. Too many Macbooks sucking on it. It was shaky all over. Which made me very shaky.

Recharge every electrical appendage midday. I lost my iPhone several nights around 11pm because I had not charged up over lunch. Then how could I drunk about how tweet I was?

Speaking of, if you do not have an iPhone, buy one before next March. Apparently they are required for entrance into SXSW.

Another accessory which will gain friends in record time: a power strip.

I need to buy a bottle of Grey Goose Pear vodka.

“Sometimes engineers just sneak in features” at Twitter. Maybe that is what happens at my company too. Hmmm.

Daylight Savings came a month early this year.

Apparently I was an idiot when I abandoned Flickr two years ago. I spent some time with my previously dormant account, the results of which you can see here. I admit to being properly schooled. By no less than 3 people at increasingly loud volume. Those who have schooled me are free to gloat.

Neither Rachel nor I won a Bloggie, but were thrilled to meet each other.

Dooce won a lot of Bloggies.

Heather and Jon and Maggie and Bryan are very nice people, on top of being damn funny, which you already knew.

I need to brush up on my Lego skills.

Going to the small panels was as kick-ass as much as the large. I hit a small panel and it ended being among my most favorites.

At one of the small panels, I met a dude from and fell in love. With his web site. Clearly I love my own husband dearly.

Bouncers will laugh at you if you try to enter a club with 2 cameras and 4 lenses in a huge LowePro backpack. The funny thing is, I wasn’t even thinking of photographing the bands. I wanted to shoot me and my drunk friends, dammit!

HeatherB has a great Johnny Cougar. Hopefully she will share it with you.

There is a restaurant worm hole between Denver and Austin.

I need to shift my way of thinking about designing interfaces for mobile devices.

Mark Zuckerberg is cool.

Frank Warren is really really cool.

Sarah Lacy doesn’t like being heckled.

And tech people like to talk about that kind of stuff on their blogs.

Twitter has the power to cover a story as sort of a group consciousness, with many different perspectives on the same event flooding the Net at the same time.

I can still manage to stay out until 3am.

A lot of techies have the same haircut, thus look exactly the same from behind, thus making me nearly say hello to the wrong person about 50 times.

Not only is Austin the music capital of the world, it is the ATM capital of the world.

Pioneer Woman has a really cool sister.

I need to stop calling the meetings I have to discuss the good and bad after a project is over a “Post Mortem.” “After Party” has a much nicer ring to it.

Juno is a good movie. Especially when stretched out across a squishy hotel bed feeding on a cheese plate from room service.

Abi Jones likes oatmeal.

Stubbs is a fun place to see live music. And drink many free beers.

Gliss is a good band, with a hot chick drummer.

I am 5-10% gay.

People want magic in their lives! Yes, Doug Henning magic! And now I, too, can do a magic trick, thanks to Jared Spool’s presentation.

It actually can get cold in Austin, I packed for the completely wrong season, and the people at the convention center really really really like to use air conditioning.

People *can* find content inside Flash, I just have been setting it up all wrong.

I still love tapas.

If you live-Twitter from a SXSW panel that features an eulogy for Dirk Diggler and his 13 inch cock, you will have a mass exodus of Twitter followers.

Lots of people are using these cute teensy size business cards, which are also most excellent for picking my teeth. Kidding, kidding! Especially Imelda and AndrewHyde – it was lovely to meet you.

Every designer needs a “tech husband” and every developer/programmer needs a “design wife.”

If your diabetic coworker messes up his insulin the morning of your flight home, go directly to the hospital, where they will love him and hug him and feed him sugar for 6 hours straight. (Posted with his permission, no HIPPAA violation, I promise).

Brackenridge Hospital in Austin has free WiFi.

If you miss a flight due to a medical emergency, get a doctor’s note and the airline will give you prioritized standby, which is critical when trying to catch a late night flight out of Austin during SXSW.

If you drive 53 in a 40 mile per hour zone on the way home from the airport, you will get an $120 speeding ticket. (OK, technically not in Austin, but a perfect ending for the day, wouldn’t you say?)

Whew. I am racked. But a truly, truly awesome time. I will be back.

So. What did you guys learn in Austin?

This article has 26 comments

  1. Rachel

    Awesome awesome awesome!

    I’m smiling, knowing that I experienced pretty much all of those IRL.

  2. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    The moping folks… LOL!

    Hopefully next year then WM!

  3. Sizzle

    Of course, “Anyone Else But You” just started playing on my iPod as I read your post. 🙂 LOVED Juno.

    I’m still annoyed you didn’t win. Am I over-protective?

    Sushi with a strawberry on top? Are you SURE?

  4. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Sizzle, I swear to god. They gave it to us by accident, I have no idea what it was even called, but both HeatherB and I nearly fell off our chairs when we tasted it. It was seriously the best sushi we both have ever had.

    And your protectiveness makes me smile. Such a good friend. xoxox

  5. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    “I think Jesus was in that sushi.”

    Best Jesus line ever. Beats my Donny Osmond Jesus holes comment hands down.

  6. Lauren

    Sounds like an awesome trip!

  7. WiredMonkey

    I was UBER-jealous that I couldn’t go, as several of my favorite online folks (such as yourself) were there, and I live a mere 3 hours away…but work and personal obligations kept me away.

    That said, I did enjoy living vicariously through the attendees by following the Tweets. You guys all rawked at keeping the moping folks who couldn’t make it there in the loop. W00t!

  8. Heather B.

    I think Jesus was in that sushi. Seriously the best ever.

    Ahhh and you will love the Grey Goose la Poire. I wish I could be there when you first taste it.

  9. Sue at eLp

    Awesome post, Aimee! Thanks. I met a guy today who was there and said traffic and getting around Austin is horrible … so you were wise to stay close!

  10. Mayberry

    I only learned what I just read here 🙂

    glad you had fun! Sounds like it was huge!

  11. Anonymous

    You really spent the day in the ER?? holy cripes!

  12. zipper

    Makes me wish I was there.

  13. Don Mills Diva

    WOw – sounds like it was such a fantastic time! I’m jealous…

  14. nutmeg

    You have a problem with a vibrator in your pocket?

  15. imelda

    What an awesome post! Well summarized! Nice to meet you too!

  16. Mamma

    So happy for the recap. Wish I had one iota of an excuse to attend.

  17. MB

    I agree with you on the “Jesus was on that sushi” comment. Laughed OUT LOUD. I want to hear more about this 5-10% gay thing.

  18. Loralee Choate

    You know? Jesus in sushi sounds like a religion I could cope with…

  19. Anonymous

    great list.

  20. villanovababy

    OOOh, I’m a design wife with a tech husband…Can I be one of the cool kids?

  21. Stacy

    That was fun to read even though I have no reason to ever go to sxsw.

  22. Mitch McDad

    No wonder my wife always wants to play with my iPhone.

  23. Warren

    What a fun time!

  24. Scriptwriter

    Wounderful post! I had experience similar to your experience with Basecamp. I use Wrike for tracking my projects and I was once able to show them right in front of the audience. People kept asking me about the service. What I personally love about Wrike is ther option to create tasks via email. Does Basecamp have this feature?

  25. Gretchen

    Sounds like a great time.

    And yes, anything Grey Goose is good.

  26. soccer mom in denial

    Y’know, this is one of the best “list of what I learned/saw/experienced/etc” I’ve seen. Short, funny, to the point. Another reason why you should’ve won.

    I didn’t vote early and often enough!

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