10 Ways To Maximize Your SXSW Experience

The SXSW Interactive Festival is an amazing experience that you won’t soon forget. The following are cues to maximize your on-the-ground resources and minimize the “could have, would have, should have!” Adventure is near the beginning of the dictionary, and that is where this story will start too. Let’s look at it from a sports perspective.

Pre-Game:

  • Prepare your game plan by downloading the official SXSW App for your mobile devices and peruse all scheduled offerings – both official and “un-official” events. Next, strategize which are “Must Attend,” “Maybe” and “Hey, I’m curious.” RSVP in advance for events, talks and parties if required. But remember, sometimes plans don’t pan out and opportunities that you hadn’t expected present themselves. Game-time decisions are for the bold, just do it!
  • Organize your roster of teammates, coaches and subs. Are you traveling with a group? Set up “group text” to build a community around you and maximize intel. Make a list (or several) of people/businesses whom you want to meet and pre-schedule face-to-face time if possible.  Take advantage of mentorship sessions offered by industry leaders and have your pitch and questions prepared. Follow Twitter handles and hashtags of folks and/or trends you’re interested in, you just might “street meet.”

  • The “Go-Bag” is  a must for organized players. In it, consider including: business cards, a Sharpie (permanent marker), and a Mophie self-charging cell phone case or mobile power station (you can bet the provided charging stations and outlets will have long lines). Always have at least 3 pens. You’ll lose one, you’ll let someone borrow another, and that will leave you with your one and only. A protein bar, —or a zip-lock bag full of almonds or other non-perishable protein foodstuffs— bottle of water and breath mints. Hand sanitzer — hopefully you’ll be shaking a lot of hands.
  • Rest and recovery. You won’t get much when you touch down to Austin so organize your sleep schedule to include less hours per night. Start tonight.

Game Day(s):

  • Comfortable trumps cute. But comfortable and dapper? You’re a winner, especially in the shoe department! Chuck Taylors are a go-to for many, just add an insole and you’ll be ready for action whether dressed up or down. Also, don’t forget your sweater or light jacket —the conference rooms are often air-conditioned.

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  • It’s been said that SXSW is the sum of serendipitous meetings. Compliment someone on their exquisitely tied Chucks, ask a friendly face what sessions they’re excited about, strike up conversations with strangers while waiting in line for lunch. There’s no danger there and it’s prime networking time. Remember, that’s just the point of Interactive and no one will find it awkward. Also, try to venture out on your own, you’ll meet friends as you go (plus yours will probably be late to scheduled meet-ups anyway) and you might encounter an awesome session or experience that you hadn’t intended. Snatch a flyer here or there too. If the company/party spent money on advertising, the promotion might just be worth it.

  • Get in the zone, live in the present and if you don’t like it —leave it. If there is an event that you’ve had your eager eye on, you had better get there early. Don’t be late. Don’t be on time. Be early. Remember what your grandma said, she was right! The lines may astound many first timers. Then once you’re in a session, engage. Avoid the habit of thinking about what’s next or what could be better that you’re missing. Finally, if you need to take a time out in the form of leaving midway through an unfulfilling session or a taking an unscheduled nap, just take that knee and don’t chastise yourself later.

  • Don’t get placed on Injured Reserve. Most likely you’ll be operating on little sleep, high salt, sugar and hops intake and suffering from “tech neck.” Do your body and brain a favor. Hydrate. Hydrate. And then hydrate some more. Try to get fresh air whenever possible, stand up, stretch and un-crane your neck at least once per hour. Also, try to walk to venues whenever possible. Often times lines for free rides and traffic will take longer anyhow.

  • Unsportsmanlike conduct can take you out of the game. Get familiar, but don’t get too familiar. The parties and after-hours festivities are memorable but if you go too hard you’ll miss the wealth of day-time opportunity. Don’t forget that the camera is always watching and now more than ever. Folks will take great pleasure in posting your lowest moments to social media and watching them go viral overnight. Be mindful that you represent the company you work for and/or your own personal brand. Have fun? Of course! But don’t do anything that can’t be undone.

Post Game:

  • Did you get the win? Not until you follow up post-conference. This means taking account of all that you saw and learned —review your notes and devise implementation strategies. But the human element will prove most important in your game stats accounting. Hopefully you collected business cards on which you wrote the date, time and place where you met the person, and a unique quip or conversation cue that will allow for a personalized email or tweet correspondence.

  • Plan for next year! It’s bigger + better every year. And you know this, MAN!

Get it in where you can fit it in! –Andia

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The Main Event —-> sxsw

Monique Walton and Andia Winslow of The Fit Cycle join Blacks in Technology as panelists for South by Southwest®: “Cinematic wellness endeavor” founder featured in conference that celebrates innovation and collaboration
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 AUSTIN, TX (February 23, 2013) Joining technology, film and music industry titans and innovators, The Fit Cycle today announced that Monique Walton and Andia Winslow will both be official presenters at South by Southwest®. The interactive festival, based in Austin, Texas March 8-17th, celebrates its 20th year in 2013 and is known around the world as the premier “incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity.”

In a month that has been a whirlwind of interviews, health and wellness partnerships and lifestyle features related to the debut of the highly acclaimed short film “Follow Your Heart,” Andia explains “we are excited to return to that which excites us most –being in the trenches, collaborating with and learning from other creatives. Being inspired by and inspiring a MOVEment!” The Fit Cycle has been featured by online content aggregator Upworthy, the American Heart Association, Women’s Day Red Dress Awards at Lincoln Center and by Forbes who crowned the movement the “Smartest, Sexiest Workout Videos Ever.”

An MFA Film candidate at the University of Texas – Austin, Monique is certain that “SXSW will be an amazing opportunity to interact behind the scenes evolving the art of film and technology.” Her award-winning work as a filmmaker has been showcased at international film festivals, museums, culture showcases and at University presentations across the country. On Sunday, March 10th at 4:30PM Monique will join industry insiders for a panel entitled “Off the Chain: Blacks, Social Media and Django Unchained” which will examine debates about historical authenticity, representation and ownership in the virtual realm.

“Food, Faith and Fitness,” a panel held Saturday, March 9 at 9:30AM, celebrates health and wellness as an online movement that disrupts “the traditional business models of personal training and nutrition planning” and empowers real people to make real-time decisions about their lives. Andia will join the F3 lineup as a certified fitness ambassador and professional athlete whose efforts at encouraging people to “move” began when she created a series of DIY fitness videos in her backyard that reached worldwide acclaim and an early feature by Mashable because of their accessibility and innovation.

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About The Fit Cycle Founded in 2010, The Fit Cycle is a multimedia health movement that is defined by resourcefulness. It works to inspire folks to make the most of what they have –however little, be it time, capital or possessions– to live more active and engaged lives. The Fit Cycle is a cinematic wellness endeavor that is inspired by art, music and a culture of collaboration. The Fit Cycle is moving at the rhythm of life.™ www.thefitcycle.com

About Blacks in Tech Blacks In Tech (BiT) is a coalition of targeted technology organizations and industry thought leaders whose primary objective is to highlight the impact the African diaspora has in shaping innovation and growing technology-related industries, products and services. We exist wherever creative disruption is taking place. www.wearebit.com

About South by Southwest® The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals (March 8-17, 2013) offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery. www.sxsw.com

For press inquiries, please contact: Publicity at TheFitCycle@gmail.com
For booking, please contact: Pamela Davis at pkaycreative@gmail.com