It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last SXSW and I’m still buzzing from the energy. For the 2nd year in a row I volunteered for the SXSW Press Department, this year as a Crew Chief. I donate about 40 hours of my time to solve problems for the accredited press and then I have time to enjoy the beast that is SXSW.
If you’ve been to SXSW you know that it is more than just a conference or music festival, it is a juggernaut of an event. A multi-week event that has an Education, Interactive, Film, Music, and several Trade Shows component that takes place every March in Austin, TX.
It is overwhelming with sessions, film premieres, lounges, meetups and more, but worth the effort and exhaustion. Everyone you encounter during SXSW is there to learn, make a new connection, and try something cutting edge. The city buzzes with energy and Austin feels powerful as it’s crowded with attendees from all over the world.
For this entrepreneur, SXSW is the holy grail, and it’s an honor to be a small part of the large team that makes it happen yearly.
This year was particularly powerful for me; I was going alone, working in a new role on the Press team, and my business is/was at a crossroads. I had a ton of expectations but went into the arena a sponge, ready to learn as much as possible.
Below are my key takeaways from SXSW 2016:
- Technology is a speeding bullet.Media is shifting faster than ever and large corporations are tailing behind. New apps and platforms are making it easier & faster to do more than before, including VR, robots, video streaming. Instead of ignoring Snapchat, start using it by exploring the features and then determining if it’s right for your brand.
- Art comes in lot of forms, use it. Visual storytelling is important for social media and content strategies, including social advertising. Use humor, eye contact, compelling, and original images to tell a story. Stories help build trust, value, and convert casual followers into brand advocates.
- Use all available resources. We’re the generation to use tech to change the world. Get out there and do it. Use what resources you have available, like a computer in your pocket. I for one often forget how easy it is for me to work on my business from anywhere, my bed, a neighborhood cafe, the airport, the list goes on.
- Vulnerability isn’t a weakness. We’re raised that attempting failure is bad or asking for help is a sign of weakness. As Maury would say, “That’s a lie.” When you feel those emotions, or feelings, coming up write it down and take 4 breaths in, 4 breaths out. Review what you wrote down and determine if that’s the truth or a story you made up.
- Always find the winning solution. Being an entrepreneur is a tricky road and even though you make a plan, you still encounter obstacles you didn’t even imagine. It’s also one of my favorite parts of this journey. Imagine creative alternatives to your problems and find a solution that wins for you, your business, or even your client.