50 things I Learned at my First SXSW

Jaimie XX Performs at the Youtube House at SXSW.

South By Southwest is an animal. There are so many moving parts and an incredible amount of exciting events, intelligent people, and great music in a concentrated area that it’s hard to soak it all in. Here are some takeaways from my first SXSW… (Add some of your own!)

  1. Torchy’s tacos are extremely large — you don’t need to order six of them.
  2. Baseball hats aren’t for the sun but to make a statement (same with sunglasses).
  3. It’s really hard to look away when people make out in front of you.
  4. Between 2 and 3 o’clock is generally when people switch from iced coffee to alcohol.
  5. People over 27 haven’t lost the ability to party.
  6. Not sure what Jamie xx looks like, he’s got a great silhouette though
  7. You can visibly see the switch between interactive and music just by sitting on a bench and people watching.
  8. Everyone has the next best idea, song, clothing idea, you name it….
  9. Anderson Paak is incredibly talented.
  10. Way too many “meetings”, events and parties are held at BBQ places making it possible to eat your body weight in brisket by the end of a few days.
  11. Music brings people together, so does waiting in line.
  12. SXSW is basically adult day camp.
  13. People keep their wristbands on just in case they need them to get in somewhere again, but more importantly because they make you feel cool.
  14. Uber drivers in Austin are really talkative.
  15. Franklins actually does run out of BBQ meat so if you want it, get up early and wait in line.
  16. Everyone is someone. If you are friendly and speak with strangers sitting next to you at the bar or restaurant , more likely than not you will make some sort of connection worth having.
  17. When in doubt, wear black.
  18. It’s really hard to say no to free things… food, drinks, random beer koosies that you will never use but still want like five of them because they are free.
  19. Second hand high is a thing.
  20. Tory Lanez is an animal. In a great way. (He literally walked across the crowd, hung onto the ceiling, and rapped at the same time)
  21. Schedules are important. There is too much going on in a day not to make at least a little bit of a plan.
  22. Drink more water than you think you need to.
  23. Sixth street is literally a party in the street. Bars compete to claim the open air with their music.
  24. There are apps for pretty much everything.
  25. VC’s hang out with VC’s.
  26. Pedicabs are everywhere, super fun and it’s hilarious to see two large strong men squished into the back of one.
  27. Sometimes you travel all the way to Austin just to meet people who work five blocks away from you.
  28. Wear comfortable shoes. I still don’t know how some of the girls were wearing heals… I was on my feet for at least 8 hours straight most days.
  29. Each day is a time warp, never ending but going way to fast.
  30. Brand ambassadors actually do affect the way you perceive a brand. There was one ambassadors for Reese’s that was dancing and jumping around and visibly made Reese’s a more fun brand. At a different event (that I won’t name), there was a brand ambassador who literally told me he didn’t get the app he was representing.
  31. You don’t have to get chips and guac everywhere you go.
  32. Bring an extra charger at all times.
  33. Hotels are a great home-base to sit and rest for a minute, to charge your phone, to call a Lyft or Uber, to use the bathroom…
  34. Different kinds of music require a different movement from the crowd. Some might be head-banging, some might be fist pumping, some might require swaying or even some dabbing.
  35. You can attend an amazing amount of events without buying an official badge.
  36. Rainy street is amazing. Very cute houses, bars and a great vibe.
  37. SXSW draws the coolest and strangest people. One of my favorites was a man in his mid 3os who had traveled all the way from Germany for his company. Before the concert, he was just a regular man in a black v-neck. Once the music started, I turned around and he had glasses on and a black shirt tied around his head, going insane to the music.
  38. Your phone will die faster, load slower and be somewhat of a nuisance because there are so many phones in a concentrated area.
  39. SXSW is kind of like a college campus where you start to see the same people over and over again, making you somewhat friends by the end.
  40. It takes a lot of energy and a great artist to be able to perform when there isn’t a crowd.
  41. There is a tech journalist out there that doesn’t use snapchat.
  42. Food trucks are everywhere and sell everything, including avocado smoothies.
  43. The amount of time people spend on their phones at events is insane, be more in the moment.
  44. Virtual reality porn does exist — a guy surprised me with it at the YouTube house
  45. Barton Springs is randomly closed on Thursdays.
  46. Make some time to take a walk along the Colorado River.
  47. You can tell right away who is interested in you and the conversation and who is not.
  48. The bat bridge has a bat man.
  49. The east side of Austin is more hip. Some people compare it to the Williamsburg of NYC.
  50. Music and Tech are constantly evolving, and it’s incredible.
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