SXSW: Day 1

We started off the conference several hours late, so there’s not a whole lot to talk about so far. I’ll just make a few observations:

Texas is not as warm as you think. Bring a jacket next time.

WAFFLEHOUSE! With a burnt out letter on the sign! We Northerners are deprived.

Get a room near the Convention Center. Traffic is bad enough in Austin where what sounds like a reasonable distance (three miles) could end up taking you twenty minutes.

If you rent a hotel near the Convention Center, don’t rent a car. Sure, you want the freedom, but you honestly won’t use it. It’s like being at college, where everything is within walking distance.

Send in your badge photo beforehand. Getting to SXSW can be a harrowing experience. No sense in looking harrowed on your badge. If you’re going to the conference, you’re likely a designer or you know a designer. Let Photoshop do the heavy lifting.

Swag bags are heavy. There’s enough paper in there to keep a small village warm for a night, and the only thing worthwhile was a pair of sweet 3D glasses. And an O’Reilly puzzle book.

Bring extra batteries. For your phone, your laptop, your camera, your pager. Whatever you’ve got that runs of batteries, bring an extra battery. Or if you’re cheap, at least bring the charger along. You may find an open outlet somewhere if you’re lucky.

Don’t be a wuss. Gary Vaynerchuk was standing on the escalator in front of me and I didn’t have the guts to say hello, even though I’m a Vayniac (and a teetotaler to boot, go figure). I did kick myself for this and ironically met one of the guys from the KickApps team shortly thereafter.

Don’t go Hilton and expect the best. Their target market are business travelers who don’t mind shelling out for every little expense. Case in point, it’s costing me $10 a night to blog this from my hotel room.

Plans for tomorrow: Kickball in the morning, BBQ in afternoon and partying at night. Some good panels in between?

NOTE: Be sure to follow the moblogging stream over at