Helene Kwong took her first trip to Austin for SXSW 2014 as an expansion from attending SXSW V2V, held in Las Vegas last summer. Find out what you missed at SX, or “South By,” as most seasoned attendees call it, from this year’s recap from Helene.
Industry and job title: Social Media, Hashtag Hustler
Where is home? Denver, Colorado
What brought you to SXSW? Received a great opportunity to attend SX in Austin for the first time. I wanted to gain more insight into my industry and also reunite with colleagues from SXSW V2V.
Which are you attending: A
D. All of the Above
What are your goals for SXSW 2014? My goals are to make new connections in various industries, discover new technology, and reconnect with colleagues from across the country.
Which events/seminars are you most interested in attending? I am most interested in attending seminars regarding PR, copywriting, and conversations on race/racism in the American society.
Are you speaking on any panels or mentoring sessions? No, I only attended sessions or explored the different sponsored lounges.
How many times have you been to SXSW in Austin? This was my first time in Austin, but certainly not my last!
How do you feel it’s evolved or changed over time? I have heard many SXSW old-timers talk about how SX has changed for the best, especially with technology becoming part of our daily lives.
Have you attended any other SXSW conferences in other locations? I attended the first annual SXSW V2V in August 2013, and hope to attend V2V again this July.
Do you use social media while at SXSW? If so, which platforms? I use Twitter on my iPhone primarily when at SXSW.
How do you leverage the new contacts you make at SXSW after the conference is over and your return to the office? I follow up with my new contacts the week after the conference is finished. I also add these contacts via Twitter and LinkedIn to stay more connected with them.
Best business connection or success story you’ve experienced from SXSW Austin: I met many more people from the east and west coasts and was able to win a few contests via Twitter. I met a few kind folks from Bloomberg and have been invited to visit their offices for a tour the next time I am in NYC.
Must-try restaurant in Austin: Blue Dahlia Bistro for their French open-face sandwiches! Really delicious and healthy.
Why do you really go to SXSW? Is it for the parties or are you really working? I go to SXSW for learning and for the socializing. I like attending the smaller parties for better quality connections.
What advice do you have for first timers to SXSW? Make an agenda/itinerary for your days at SX, but be sure to note that the itinerary is ALWAYS tentative. Leave room for serendipity and change of plans. You will feel less stressed that way!
Admittedly, this year was my first time attending SXSW in Austin. I attended SXSW V2V last year in Las Vegas and was invited to check out the original festival in Austin. I was excited and nervous before I arrived in Austin: filling out my calendar with a lot of tentative sessions and events from the official SXSW calendar and from the slew of unofficial gatherings and parties sent to me via RSVPster.
Once I arrived in Austin, things were nonstop with many pre-SX events going on during Wednesday and Thursday. I attended Social Media Breakfast on Thursday morning, where I listened to a few veteran attendees talk about their years of experience with the festival plus survival tips. I felt prepared for the start of the festival after that event.
Over the course of the Interactive Festival (March 7 – 11), I attended sessions on PR for crowdfunding campaigns, advocating for more women on boards, and learning how to improve my copy for my businesses. I also attended a few parties, met up with new friends and won a couple gift cards from different companies doing Twitter contests/giveaways. Although I did not get to attend all the sessions I wanted to, I was also thankful for Upword Notes’ SXSW thread with many notes from various sessions: their premise for setting up the note board was to prevent “FOMO” from happening. I have enjoyed reviewing sessions via the platform (check out sxsw.upwordnotes.com).
Since arriving back in Denver, I am really grateful I got the opportunity to attend SXSW this year: so much buzz about internet security and wearable technology. Be on the look-out for navigating jackets, vibrating underwear, and more responsive health monitors!
It sounds like SXSW was pretty awesome this year and we are sad to have missed it! Thanks to Helene Kwong for the wonderful photos to give our readers a glimpse of what SXSW had to offer in 2014.
Grow Southwest will see you all at SXSW V2V in July 2014, to cover new innovation happenings in the southwest. We hope to catch up with you in Las Vegas this summer for V2V! Follow and keep up with Helene in her favorite place, Twitter!
Did you attend SXSW 2014? We want to hear about your experience from this years conference!
Contact us. Send an email to: Lauren@growsouthwest.com.