20 Things I Learned at SXSW 2012

1) Some girls really dress up.  I figured they were from L.A.  Anyone I saw dressed alt/country/cool I pegged for Nashville.

2) TWO pairs of comfy shoes during the day if you are hoofing it a lot.

3) It’s almost worth the dough, if you can swing it, to stay downtown.  So much to do, it gives you the extra time to see things.

4) Austin pedicabs = Thumbs up.

5) I was born lucky and got into almost everything I needed to/wanted to free, but next year I am getting a badge.  Much easier to start a conversation and shows that you mean (and are there for) business.

6) Sponsorship activation- crazy, over the top.  The stuff Nike and Nokia pulled off easily cost 50K.  I wonder if they feel like get an equal return on their investment…

7) Almost every city imaginable (even Asheville, NC) had a party or a presence there during SXSWi, except Nashville…

8) Food trucks galore!  Had some amazing meals.  Despite all the walking, I gained 7 whole pounds. You will never starve there, so watch what you eat.

9) ACL Live is an amazing venue and employs some of the best folks in the business.

10) I still have to explain how important digital marketing and social media is to music industry folks.  Not a good sign.

11) Jay-Z is the second coolest cat on earth.  First is Bruce (see #20.)

12)  Even though I have worked in the music industry for 10 years and have probably earned some privileges with all the sacrifices I have made, I still feel like a complete jerk most of the time when I get into amazing free shows. It’s the socialist in me.

13)  Spotify…everyone is talking about you!  (And not always nicely…)

14) iPad is worth getting.  There are just some things that are too hard to do on your phone and a laptop is too cumbersome to carry around.

15) 6th Street on Thursday and Friday nights- wow. Not doing it again.

16)  Having a car downtown is a total pain in the you know what.

17) It’s ALWAYS warm during SXSW.  Leave the jackets and jeans at home, Kirby.

18) I need to stop saying “I’m tall.”  I’m 5’4″ 1/2.  That’s not tall in a crowded showcase. In fact, that’s not tall anywhere.

19) I’m obsessed with Polica!

20) In his SXSW Music keynote, Bruce Springsteen said that we live in a “post-authentic world.”  This makes me sad, but I think he’s right.  Let’s be bold, be authentic.


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