March 15 2010
Austin TX, sunny, warm and March 2011
Thinking ahead to next year, traveling to Austin and what I'd like to see at SXSWi....
Top of the list - less paper. This is an "interactive" conference. The new and innovative online. Lets's ditch the fliers, postcard adverts and business cards (check out "a short rant about business cards" by @daniellelaporte on her White Hot Truth blog http://whitehottruth.com/business-wealth-articles/a-short-rant-about-business-cards/).
Instead of a canvas bag at registration filled with paper and marketing materials (most of which ended up in my hotel trash can) why not SXSW iPhone apps (available upon registration) - and scale the apps options. Early registrants could have more choices, late registrants a standard "pack".
The heavy "don't lose it or you'll have to pay $40 for a new one" directory for SXSWi. Let's lose it. The information should all be on My SXSW. Besides, the pocket guide is easier to carry around. Any why is the directory of attendees organized by name and company? Where's everyone's Twitter username???
For all the companies wanting to advertise at SXSW, some advice, don't impose yourself on us. And here's some other ideas on how to reach this attendee (note - this list is in progress...):
* sponsor a "recharge" lounge like GM
* sponsor refreshments like an early morning coffee at the Austin Convention Center (ACC), or better yet, support the local establishments like Jo's
* provide monitors for each SXSWi session and place these in the hallways of the ACC, so those attendees not in the session room can follow the session by #tag on Twitter (I know, we all have laptops but sometimes you just don't want to pull it out)
* provide funding so SXSW can post the taped sessions up on line - faster (hours or days, not weeks!) - hey, maybe you could post highlights from the prior sessions on those monitors placed around the ACC....
* scholarships or internships for not-for-profits or students, who really should be in the room with all the creative minds but can't for lack of funding
* shared transportation to and from the airport to the ACC, and
* if you can't resist the urge to provide "stuff" make it innovative, sustainable, emerging (Feed 100 Bags or What's UR Bag http://www.whatsurbag-usa.com/, 15 Below Jackets by Taxi Canada http://www.salvationarmy.ca/2009/01/27/new-jacket-successful-in-protecting-the-homeless/, Relief Bead bracelets for attendees to get into events http://www.reliefbeads.org/)
More ideas? Check out Chris Brogan's blog entry "We Could Do So Much More" - more networking, more content and ideas and more interpersonal. It is not just you Chris, I agree: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/
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