Austin here we come: ‘Don’t die’ and other SXSW goals

Shauna Causey, Monica Guzman, Amy McDougall Lakhani and Maya Bisineer at one of many late night 2011 SXSW parties.

I’ve got three simple goals for my trip to Austin’s geektastic South by Southwest Interactive Festival this year: To have a great time, to meet people who do amazing things in the digital space, and to not die.

I got sick for four straight days after SXSW last year. Not just a little sick. Stay the hell away from me sick.

You wouldn’t have known it seeing me Tweet and text my way through this trippy tech circus, pausing by a plug as if my phone and I could both recharge just by being near a wall. But as it turns out, being effing ON all day and staying up past 3 each night for the Cheezburger Party, the NPR Party, the Mashable Party then the party that’s just kind of happening at the lobby of the Driskill Hotel — and whoa, is that Paul Giamatti drinking a scotch? — can nearly kill you.

Not again, dammit. This year, I’m making the absolute most of SXSW.

And I’m going to survive.

I’ll wear comfortable shoes (thanks, Ron Schott and Austin Santiago), pack an extra cell phone battery pack (good idea, kitschnsync) and bring a few key pieces from the medicine cabinet (roger, Adrian Klein). I’ll stock up on snacks and sunscreen (smart, Mark Briggs and Jen Stippich) and yes, fine, drink plenty of water (heard you, Brian Crouch and doctors everywhere). I might even take a tip from Michael Arrington and bump fists rather than shake hands when I can get away with it. Because, you know, germs are bad (nice find, Sean Power).

As for my plan, I’ve been there enough to know that the SXSW gods laugh at plans. “There’s no one way to eat a Reese’s — same for SXSW,” Dana Lewis tweeted. “Be flexible/able to change plans on the go!”

Or, as former Seattleite and Twilio whiz Danielle Morrill put it in this excellent, excellent guide for anyone working at SXSW, “Think about it like you are planning for a natural disaster and embrace the chaos, or you will be miserable.”

I do have one solid mission: Keep an eye, text and Tweet search out for the madness that makes SXSW a top tech talking point year after year.

I’ll be sending dispatches on the subject back here to GeekWire, and that’s where you come in, fellow Seattleites trekking to SXSW (and all you innocent bystanders).

Maybe you’re already on Madeline Moy’s SXSW Seattle 2012 Twitter list, or tweeting on the #sxswsea hashtag. Either way, let me know if you see something awesome, telling or just plain nuts you think folks back home should know about – or if you want to join me at some wall by a plug in the Austin Convention Center for what passes at SXSW as R&R.

You can tweet me @moniguzmansend me a Facebook messageshoot me an email or just say hey in the halls.

As long as you don’t mind the fist bump.

Mónica Guzmán is a community strategist in startups and media and a digital life columnist for GeekWire. On every day except Sunday, you can find her tweeting away at @moniguzman, subscribe to her public Facebook posts at facebook.com/moniguzman or reach her via email. See a list of her clients on her website. Also see this archive of her weekly GeekWire columns.

  • http://twitter.com/freundcontainer Freund Container

    great post!

  • Joe M.

    Just want one question addressed:  Would you go if you had to pay for your own badge and travel expenses out of pocket?

    I have yet to meet someone that gave a resounding yes.  Sad for what used to be a great, affordable music festival.

    • http://moniguzman.com Monica Guzman

      It’s definitely not cheap, and it DEFINITELY helps when a company or employer can help you pay your way. That said, I know a few people from Seattle who’ve saved vacation and some dollars to attend the SXSW music festival — always a big hit. 

    • http://josephsunga.com/ Joseph Sunga

      I’m going to SXSW Interactive on my own dime. Maybe I’m a putz. :)

      Although, staying with my friend living in Austin is definitely saving me on lodging.

  • http://www.daniellemorrill.com Danielle Morrill

    Glad you liked my post Monica, thanks for the shout out!

    • http://moniguzman.com Monica Guzman

      I loved it! Bet it helped a lot of companies get their minds around the madness.