lealea's blogblog

because it's nice to say it twice

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The Trek to Austin Commences

For those who don’t already know, I will be in Austin, TX for SXSW 2008 I’ve been fortunate enough to have many friends, colleagues, and curious attenders vote to have my panel, The Art of Self-Branding put on the schedule (Monday, March 10 @ 10 am!), so I owe a lot to everyone who’s supported me to get on stage. I can’t believe that this just my second time to Southby, but I can’t wait!

For those interested, you can have a peek at my tentative schedule: http://sched.org/sxsw2008/lealea

I will be arrive March 7th in the late afternoon and leaving early Tuesday morning on the 11th. If you want to give me a shout or meet up or whatever, please feel free to leave me your contact info and I’d be more than happy to chit chat.

I notice that there’s a few prominent people deciding to pass on SXSW this year, for various number of reasons, and this is why I have a few tips for those attending for the first time based on my experience:

  • Bring lots of business cards, remember to have it on your person
  • Leave your laptop in the room, but bring a notepad/moleskin/etc and pen; you want to be really nimble and mobile
  • Swallow your shyness and approach people! Say hi! At the end of the day, no matter who the person is, we’re all just a bunch of geeks.
  • APPROACH the panelists after the talk! They don’t bite. In fact, most are super nice and invite you out to lunch .
  • Don’t succumb to peer pressure to stay later than you feel comfortable or party more than you care to. If you’re tired at 10 pm, go to your hotel room and sleep!
  • I’m not quite the teetotaler, but just because some of the booze is free doesn’t mean you need to indulge (or indulge too much). :-P People will still be there the next day and probably will appreciate the fact that you aren’t a) hungover, or b) looking like death warmed over. And please, remember, this is still a relatively professional setting. No matter how great a designer you are, if you act like an ass, I’ll be less likely to collaborate/hire/work with you.
  • Be VERY choosy which panels you go to. You are under no obligation to STAY the entire course of a panel if you hate it. Just stand up and walk out. It’s okay.
  • In fact, only go to a handful of panels. The main point is to meet and greet. :)
  • There’s also a lot of free food given away during SXSW, so if you keep your eyes and ears open to which parties those may be — go there. I know I can’t resist the lure of free, especially if it involves food

And I think that’s about it, the quick and dirty tips. So, have fun, everyone and please go to my panel if you have a chance! Woot!

edit: How can I forget? Bad, Lea! I am heading to SXSW this year again through the generosity of Digital Alberta and The Canadian Interactive Alliance

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