Wednesday
Feb292012

No, I Will Not Be at SXSW

Ah, March. It's my birthday month, which means parties! Yet, what appears to be the biggest party of the year in the digital... err, "interactive" space, I will not be attending.

I am a proud SXSW non-attendee. There's some odd peer pressure phenomenon about this conference in the startup space right now. I hope this post gives everyone who has ever hesitantly had to answer negatively about their presence at SXSW some ammo against the irksome nature of being asked, "will you be at south-by?" Urghhhhhh!

Here's why I will not be at SXSW:

1. Questionable ROI

As an early-stage entrepreneur, the last actions I want to take are ones with unclear return on spending. A flight to Texas and stay in crowded Austin will total a few grand, and for what purpose?

2. There's Better Access to Information Away from Austin

Because SXSW is sensory overload, I would argue that people not at the event may get more value from it than those who attend. Even the SXSW website acknowledges that the conference can be "daunting" and "overwhelming." A better vantage point if aiming to learn about trends and technology may be the comfy office chair and computer, from which journalist and blogger opinions will surface as to the noteworthy happenings. Checking out the content online, rather than wandering around Austin, will make for better information gathering.

3. I prefer intimate connections & networking with purpose

I love going to conferences to network, but with so many faces to meet & greet in Austin and the deluge of business cards flying about (likely doused in spilt beer), I don't see SXSW as a place to make meaningful new connections for business purposes.

To wrap up the rant, let's stop talking about SXSW like it's a techie conference. Just check out the sponsors! (See image).

No, no, SXSW is no longer a geek's mecca; SXSW is now a corporate-sponsored frat party. There's nothing wrong with that! But it's why, no, I will not be at SXSW.

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