Lesson #1. No one in Austin calls it South by Southwest. It’s South by. That’s it.
Lesson #2. Eventbrite is your new best friend. And if you don’t use your new best friend you’re screwed trying to get into parties. Even though the program says “no reservation necessary” don’t buy it. You’ve been warned…
Lesson #3. Electricity is your second new best friend. Your iPhone will drain, and the nearest electrical outlet in the conference center will become gold real estate. Prime real-estate is an outlet by a table. Good luck.
Lesson #4. iPhone and iPads everywhere. Everywhere. Not an exaggeration. Get a portable battery charger like Mophie and avoid lesson #3.
Lesson #5. The Austin Convention Center is not to be confused with the AT&T Conference Center. Twelve blocks apart. Don’t make that mistake.
Lesson #6. 6th street. Don’t forget. Call a cab to get home or take a bus.
Lesson #7. Get the SXSW app. What’s next? The app has it all, and you’ll walk around looking down at your phone like the other 95% of attendees.
Lesson #8. Book your hotel asap, preferably one right in the middle of the conference. The meetings extend easily over 20 blocks. So your options are lots of walking, the conference center bus or the rickshaw–bike–cab guy. If you drive, you’ll park once for the day and be done.
Lesson #9. Be prepared to run into people. “Hey, Walt Mossberg, I’ve read your columns…”
Lesson #10. You can’t see it all, do it all and watch it all. Take your best shot then read a press release about something that happened and realize you were in a different session altogether.