This years SXSWi is sure to be a different experience for me from last years. First, I was a finalist in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge and sponsored by Mashable.com. That was a golden ticket last year to the star treatment for my first SXSWi which included radio interviews, video interviews, and VIP party access. Although I looked, I saw no similar contests this year to enter. Oh well.
Secondly, I traveled last year with two friends and coworkers making a road trip down to Austin. The three of us had different schedules during the day but would always hook up for dinner and the parties at night. As a huge introvert, it certainly helped to have friends to hang out with. MY two friends have since moved on to different companies and will not be attending this year. Each night then will be the battle of my introverted-ness vs my need to network with other industry leaders.
Lastly, I am staying at the Hilton hotel this year directly across from the convention center! Last year I stayed at a nice hotel but it was a shuttle bus drive away from the convention center. That 30 minute drive made it much harder than you would imagine to plan for arriving for talks. Staying across the street this year allows me to live "on campus" basically. I am very excited to be so close and get to take advantage of so much.
My plan is to blog throughout the week on my experiences. Some might be simple, short thoughts but hopefully I can capture a bit of the experience.