LAWeekly.com's first day at SXSW started early as I couldn't wait to get up and start my morning with a huge breakfast — which of course led to the requisite dash for Pepto-Bismol because my body isn't used to a Texas “small,” basically a super-size. It's raining hard here in Austin and is quite cold, which gives everything this cozy sleepy feeling — like you're attending a tech conference in bed under the covers.
I waited for my badge in line where I met the lovely Jemima Kiss from the Guardian – her badass “Twitterati” necklace set the tone. (Speaking of which, my Twitter picked yesterday to malfunction and auto-follow about 800 people and it seems like all 800 of them are here.) The networking possibilities are endless; picking up my press badge I met Omar Gallaga from the Austin American Statesmen, who told me that he had read our SXSW guide online – I'm very impressed with the tech savvy of local Austin peeps, not mention how helpful and awesome everyone has been. From the Driskill to the Hilton to the Intercontinental, the hotel lobby scene is insane – this morning I met “Everything Bad is Good for You Author” Steven Johnson on my way to the aforementioned breakfast.
All SXSW attendees receive a gift bag which includes, aside from the ubiquitous guidebook and a miasma of tech magazines, a pretty nifty camera case, what I like to call an iPhone sock and a protein bar for stamina, I assume. At 2 p.m. the festivities officially start and we're going to “User Generated Content” even though “My Boss Doesn't Get It” was the subject of our morning breakfast discussion. We're doing our best to stick to schedule but it seems like we're going to just jump in there and start having adventures. As one attendee put it, “I'm just going to head off in one direction and roll with it.”
Here's the direction we're heading in (via our SXSW guide):
2:00 PM User Generated Content: State of the Union
Kicking off our week with a weighty topic – can we ever really make money off YouTube and Flickr? Added bonus – we heard Topix CEO Chris Tolles gives good conference.
3:30 PM How to Rawk SXSW: The Basics
If you're new to SXSWi (like we are, hi) this looks like a useful way to get acclimated and make new friends.
5:00 – 6:00 PM 97 bottles Happy Hour
Beers and snacks at this unofficial happy hour are on the house – all you have to do is look out for the 97bottles team member at the conference and get yourself special 97bottles button beforehand. Show off your button upon entry and you can knock 'em back for free.
Also, check out Village Voice Media's SXSW Festival site for more updates.
See you soon!