An insider’s guide to WordPress at SXSW
I have to admit, I’m a pretty lucky guy to be able to live year-round in arguably the best city in the world – Austin, Texas.
And starting one week from today is the 10-day, out-of-control, tech nerd, film lover, music buff of a conference, South By Southwest!
In it’s 25th year, SXSW has grown into the largest convention and conference of its kind. No matter what it is that you like, you are sure to find something of interest here.
Plus, there is no better place to relax, network, and meet interesting people from around the globe.
The shear volume of events and people can make SXSW a bit overwhelming, so here’s an insider’s guide to WordPress (and more!) at SXSW 2011:
10. Rawk out and don’t be a douchbag
Here are a couple of introductory panel sessions geared towards you getting the most out of your SXSW experience.
When: Friday, March 11th @ 2pm
Where: Austin Convention Center
9. Don’t forget your charger
You’ll probably be relying on your phone , tablet, or laptop to interact and keep up with your schedule. And you are probably in for some long days.
Carry your chargers with you at all times, even if you think you won’t need them. There will be charging stations scattered around.
That being said, there are never enough, so if you bring your own power strip with extra outlets, it is a surefire way to make lots of friends :)
8. Join the WordPress party!
It’s THE WordPress meet-up of SXSW – be sure to join hundreds of your closest WordPress friends.
With the WordPress Foundation an official co-host of the event, there is no telling who might show up!
What: The WordPress Party
When: Friday, March 11th @ 6pm
7. Hit up the FREE events
Even if you don’t have one of the coveted badges to get you into most of the official SXSW events, there are still many great opportunities to enjoy.
Many of the parties are free and open to the public – which, truth be told, are way more fun than the panels and keynotes anyway, don’t you think?
Locals look forward to the free outdoor concert series later on in the week as well. Don’t miss performances by many great bands, including The Strokes and central Texas favorite Blue October.
What: Free Concert Series
When: Thursday, March 17th – Saturday, March 19th
Where: Auditorium Shores (just across the river from downtown)
6. Visit the Blogger Lounge
Sponsored by Samsung, this is your home away from home at SXSW. Hang out with fellow bloggers, keep us all up to date with how you are finding your experience, and maybe play with some Samsung toys too.
What: The Blogger Lounge
When: Every day
Where: Austin Convention Center Room 19AB
5. Attend The Making Money With WP Panel
This is sure to be an interesting discussion among some of the top heavyweights in the WordPress for-profit community. Maybe it will help spark a fortune making idea of your own!
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When: Sunday, March 13th @ 9:30am
Where: The Hilton Hotel – Salon C
4. Use and Abuse Twitter
South By Southwest put Twitter on the map, and you should let Twitter do the same for you.
Keep a search stream of #sxsw handy if you can keep up with how fast the tweets will fly.
Be sure to follow @wpmuorg in case some WordPress impromptu meet-up takes place or there is big WP related news while you are at the conference – we’ll be sure to keep you informed.
Plus, if you get lost or need some inside advice, you can send me a tweet as well and I’ll see what I can do!
3. Check Out These Recommended Sessions
There are a few additional sessions that aren’t directly WordPress related, but you might find interesting as well:
- From Personal Blogger To Professional Marketer – Friday @ 3:30pm
- Money For Nothing, And Your Software For Free – Saturday @ 5:00pm
- What Would Copyright Look Like If Created Today – Sunday @ 12:30am
- 5 Steps to Bulletproof UX Strategy – Monday @ 11:00am
- Freelancers: You’re Five Products Away From Freedom – Tuesday @ 11:00am
2. Eat Mexican Food!
I’ve eaten Mexican food on four continents, in a dozen states or so, and lived a year in central Mexico. There’s no better place than Austin, Texas for Mexican food!
Even if you’ve never liked any of the terrible excuse for Mexican food you’ve tried before, promise me you’ll give it a shot while at SXSW.
Just about any place with a Spanish sounding name will probably be really good, but here are my picks for you:
- El Arroyo – Affectionately called ‘the ditch’ for good reason
- Chuy’s – Ask for something spicy, and don’t look back
- Hula Hut – No better outdoor setting than here on Lake Austin
- Trudy’s – Famous for Mexican Martinis – but be careful, there’s a reason they limit you to 2!
- Serranos – A location close to the SXSW action, with a chimichanga that keeps me going back
Don’t forget to try real Texas BBQ too!
1. Learn About the Future of WordPress
Get there early for this one-on-one interview with Automattic’s founder, Matt Mullenweg, as he discusses the future of WordPress.
When: Friday, March 11th @ 3:30pm
Where: Austin Convention Center – Ballroom A
All that is left to do is to have a great conference!
And for those not attending this year, it is never too late to start making your SXSW 2012 plans…