Ten Ideas for Beating #SXSW #FOMO

I’m feeling major FOMO today. This is the first year in the past eight I haven’t made the annual tech pilgrimage to Austin for SXSW. To put that in perspective, I haven’t missed a SXSW during the Obama Administration and I manage to miss the one year he speaks. What luck.

As my Facebook and Instagram feeds fill up with all of your SXSW-goodness, I’m certainly feeling left out. One of my non-techie friends even checked to make sure I was okay after noticing a lack of SXSW-related posts.

Nonetheless, I’m not in Austin. I’m in Raleigh. And despite Raleigh’s budding tech scene, foodie vibe and general awesomeness, it’s not Austin and I’m feeling it.

Have no fear, however. Instead of doing something useful today, I’ve prepared these ten ideas for overcoming your SXSW FOMO:

  1. Visit your local Starbucks and, if the line isn’t out the door and around the corner, stand outside for 30 minutes before entering as to simulate the line at the Courtyard Marriott Starbucks on 4th. If you’re pressed for time, just leave after 15 minutes, which is about how long it takes to decide you didn’t want coffee anyways.
  2. Call a friend who isn’t at SXSW and ideally one you’ve hung out with during SXSW-past. Spend an hour talking about why you don’t like your current job, what you’d rather be doing, and that new big idea you have. Bonus points if you do this over tacos and margaritas instead of the phone.
  3. Chances are you either don’t have a decent Tex Mex restaurant in your city or they’re not serving breakfast tacos, so try making your own. They won’t be the same, but they’ll get the job done. Don’t settle for a breakfast burrito. Those are NOT the same.
  4. Pick a weeknight, grab a friend, and Uber to that bar in town you love, but never get to visit. Do everything you can to forget you have to work tomorrow and party accordingly. Bonus points if you can score Tito’s or Shiner Bock.
  5. Spend exactly one hour watching TED talks. No more. No less. This will make up for the one panel you might have actually attended. Much like attending panels, this step is completely optional.
  6. Walk from one side of town to the other. Not only will this help you work off the breakfast tacos you barely enjoyed, it will simulate the inordinate amount of time you would’ve spent navigating to those sessions on the other side of Lady Bird Lake. Does anybody even go to those?
  7. If you’re lucky enough to have food trucks, or ideally a food truck rodeo, go there. Walk there if you can and then try the strangest item you can find on the menu. Take multiple photos then follow step #9.
  8. Go see a movie, live music and a comedy show. Ideally all in the same day. Make sure you follow step #9 so that your friends are certain there’s no serious work or learning going on.
  9. While doing all of the above overshare on social media. This is the closest you’ll come to feeling like you’re really there and your posts will be just as annoying. It’s a win-win, really.
  10. Just give in. Admit you made a mistake, start making plans for next year and stare pathetically at your Twitter feed.

Yeah, you’re right. I’ll just do #10.