Thursday, April 7, 2011


Obviate [verb] (ob vee ayt)
  1. To anticipate and prevent
  2. To make unnecessary

I had every intention to summarize my takeaways from SxSWi tonight, but the more I think about my conclusions, the more I think others' conclusions obviates the need for mine.  Don't take that as a pity party - I've had a blast talking about the friendship of legal and social media, the gamification of marketing, the mobile phone as your augmented mouse, and the joys of ROI (note ROI is for your execs and KPIs are for your team) - but there's only so many times you can see recaps about "the game layer" and "how you should be measuring social media" before it all begins to sound like, well, gibberish.

"Tsk-tsk.  What a cop-out, m'dear," I hear you think. "You chatted with everyone about the glory that is SxSWi and yet you refuse to share a single tidbit of information with your loyal, if digital, companions."  

Fair enough.  Fair enough.  You have shamed me into a state of unrest.  I will share 5 personal takeaways that are not related to the panels, okay?  I'm sticking to my guns on this one - don't give me that elephant lip, mister!
My low-tech notes.  And my spectacular shoe.
  1. Book everything early.  The second you register, get your flight and hotel in order.  While the location of my hotel this year was equidistant from the Center and the Hyatt, I also paid through the noise for it due to my booking procrastination. Never again.  Never again.
  2. Take advantage of free transportation.  FreshBooks sponsored a shuttle from the airport, Chevy's fleet of vehicles roamed around Austin to offer a lift (Marilyn was my favorite driver, personally), and the rickshaws are tip only.  Pay not for your transportation - that's what sponsors are for. 
  3. Avoid the official parties. The unofficial gatherings - whether they are, in fact, just poorly promoted parties or random tweet-ups at a restaurant - tend to be less crowded and more authentic. 
  4. Be trustworthy.  This is a weird one, but here's the thing: When someone asks you to, let's say, watch their iPad2 while they got to the bathroom, do just that. Perhaps this will eventually become another entry about my apparent trustworthiness (people ask me to watch their things, give them directions, and recommendations for restaurants all the time), but I've found SxSWi to be full of people living by "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." It's a conference of camaraderie; no worries over losing your spot in line or having your iPad2 walk away.  Trust, it's a beautiful thing.
  5. Please remember to have fun while you're learning.  I attended 22 panels from March 11 to March 15.  The vast majority of the panels fell under my legal-regulations-measurement goal, but some were out of left field.  And you know what?  Just like in college, the sessions that had nothing to do with my objective turned out to be some of the most useful.  Social Psychology, Seth Priebatsch, and Improv for Everyone still have my mind racing.

There?  Are you happy now?

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