Post Date: 3/7/2017
Publication: Ad Age
SXSW Interactive can be overwhelming even for people who've been there a few times. And there's a new challenge this year for the tech-minded crowd that it draws to Austin, Texas: No Uber or Lyft to get around. We gathered some tips from locals and veterans...
WHAT TO BRING, CARRY AND WEAR
"You don't need the big program book they give you on a daily basis -- all this information is available via the app and there are information kiosks everywhere."
-- Dionne Estabrook, customer experience director, McGarrah Jessee in Austin
"Don't bring everything you own to the sessions. It's crowded. I took notes on my phone last year and left my laptop at the office."
-- Allie Robino, social media director, McGarrah Jessee
HOW TO GET AROUND
"We don't have Lyft or Uber. As a city we voted to require fingerprint authorization. Those guys didn't like that and pulled out. But within five months, we had a half a dozen others that were fine with it. My favorite is Ride Austin. It's a local company and a nonprofit. We also have Car2Go which is one-way, short-trip car rental with active drop-off zones so you don't have to mess with parking. And Austin B-cycle, same deal but via pedal power."
-- Britton Upham, general manager, McGarrah Jessee
WHERE TO EAT WHEN YOU DON'T WANT BARBECUE
"Don't be afraid to take a free breakfast taco from some sponsored street team or buy food from a pop-up outside a venue. They're legit. If you do need to pay for food at the convention center, I recommend the BBQ and Austin Java. Both are worth the money. And you're in Texas -- you have to eat at least one BBQ meal."
-- Ms. Estabrook
HOW TO MANAGE THE OVERLOAD
"Do check out the Expo. It's often overlooked. Use it to take a break between convention sessions. You'll discover all kinds of upstart innovations. And NASA will thank you. They're skewing younger now and competing for talent with SpaceX and Blue Origin. Flatstock at SXSW is another good diversion. It's as analog as it gets—hand-printed posters. And it's brilliant. You can pick up some novel T-shirts there while you're at it."
-- Mr. Upham, who's an Austin resident
"If there is a session you really want to attend you might have to sacrifice the time slot before in order secure your place in line. If you miss a topic, follow the associated hashtag on Twitter to find sound bites and reactions."
-- Ms. Robino
HOW AND WHERE TO PARTY
"It's really about where you can get in with your crew. Bypass complicated RSVPs and go to the places that aren't asking you to do a four-hour scavenger hunt to get in."
-- Courtney Cooper, experiential producer, McGarrah Jessee
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