SXSW began as a music conference, but has grown into an experience in music, film, business and more.
I have attended the SXSW Interactive conference (sort of business meets tech, meets advertising, meets social media, etc...) for the past seven years. Over that time the event has changed a lot. The time I was involved it was not that crazy, but last year the interactive portion alone had over 19,000 people (This year they expect more!).
I have both attended and presented at the event, and this year will be hosting a fun-oriented session called "SXSW Stories - Open Mic". They asked me to MC this event where people can come and share their best experiences from the 2012 SXSW Interactive event. My hope is that we can make it fun. I plan to channel my best "Oprah" style as I get the people to open up. The format is all about the audience, so if only a few show up we will have a coffee chat, if it is crowed we will have more short format sharing. My hope is that it will be both informative and funny.
If you have ever thought about attending SXSW, there are few experiences that rival this event. I highly recommend the investment of time and money. But you need to book your hotel room a year in advance if you do not live in the area. It is not for everyone, and with so many panels, speeches, parties, and other activities happening at once you cannot wing it. Preparation is the key to success at South by Southwest.
If this is your first time in Austin, you will love the city. The weather in Mid-March is usually picture perfect, and the city itself is part of the SXSW experience.
Get ready, there is no turning back. SXSW starts this week!
Have A Great Day.