Well Austin... You had us from the moment we stepped of the plane and felt the warm and sunshine (we're Canadian, okay?! It felt like a tropic vacation)
Here is a break down of our week at SXSW.
Before you go to SXSW - manage your expectations. We made a laundry list of sessions we wanted to go to (over 45) and we made it to TWO. That's right... two sessions. Just because we showed up and stand in line, doesn't mean we got in.
However, the two sessions that we did see were awesome. One session, a panel, focused on Why Absurdity Sells - in summary it was everything NMI stands for: if you aren't scary people, you aren't doing your job - keep it weird! With a wonderful line up of people from various roles including an event planner, a man that dubs himself as "master of strange" and a VP from a well known movie theatre chain who specializes in doing big, crazy events - like having people floating in a lake while watching JAWS.
The second session focused on How Technology Fuels Creativity and featured two men discussing the importance of music in advertising and how it drives people to a purchase.
Both were highly entertaining and educational which made standing in line worth it!
This is where we got our money's worth! Screw standing in line - go see all the cool experiences and meet ups. You will not be disappointed. I mean - what better way to break up the morning than by snuggling a baby goat?! Thanks Viceland ;)
Experiences ranged from being low key hangouts where you can cuddle cute animals to all out insanity in brick and beam buildings
Sony WOW was our favourite. Every single room was full of incredible technology that your wildest dreams couldn't even imagine - including a robot dog that was released in Japan 30 days ago with the ability to remember 100 faces, develops personality traits to your preference, obeys commands and can function as a normal puppy without the accidents.
Dell Experience, saving the world one paper straw at a time! Dell offered RSVP only happy hour - our favourite part was that they took request and the earth's wellness seriously, no plastic straws were used at their bar!
Microsoft Happy Hour was brilliant. They hosted a small social for clients and likeminded business people to gather to enjoy food and drinks at a fabulous bar while educating us on all the new innovations they have in the works. We left will full minds and full bellies!
THE TRADE SHOW
This was a great place to expand our network and supplier list, as well as just get an idea of what the industry looks like right now.
The trade show featured a range of businesses and professions - from print shops to subscription boxes to the latest technology all over the world.
Two words: ROBOT SUSHI. That is the future.
If you have a bad meal in Austin, it is a true shame because there is no reason for it! So many amazing restaurants with the most incredible meals. Seriously, even the avocado toast at breakfast was the best we've ever had. The restaurants tie in nicely to the "small town in a big city" vibe that Austin has - a lot of brick and beam, authentic spots that prepare whatever you're craving.
If you are going to SXSW to network - THIS is where you do it. Sure, you will meet people standing in line and at meet ups but take advantage of the alcohol loosening up the situation and start shaking hands. Everyone seems a little more relaxed and easier to talk to when the tone is set for everyone to have a good time. Every bar on Rainey Street was packed and the coolest part was that every bar had a totally different vibe! There was even a "Canada House" for all the fellow Canadians to gather and connect
We met really interesting people from all over the globe and all walks of life. Hello new biz and new relationships ;)
From the live music, to the food, to the experience, to the conference itself - SXSW was very hospitable and we would go back in a heart beat!