Today, SXSW Interactive 2011 kicks off. During a few meetings this week and after my presentation to Social Media Club Dallas a few nights ago, I was asked for advice -- people wanted to know how startups should act & what they should do at SXSW. I am no expert, but here's what I told them:
- Enjoy yourself & pace yourself
- Spend time to really be thoughtful about your pitch. Think back to your single days & you were trying to start a conversation with someone you were interested in. If you aren't interesting in the first 15-20 seconds, you get blown off. This is no different.
- Don't get worked up by what other people are doing. Marketing BS flows like alcohol, and often times the real story does not match the hype.
- Control what you can control -- like going to everything you can and meeting as many people as you can. Leave it all on the field.
- Spend time with customers, if you are in the business of selling anything to anyone. It's a great time to understand needs, pain points, and opportunities.
- Don't be stubborn. Be open to new ideas and approaches that can help your business succeed. Most startups today are mashups of other technologies, companies, etc. and there really aren't many fundamentally *new* ideas after all. So discern what you hear but be sure to learn as well.
- Eat all the BBQ & Tex-Mex you can
- Get out & enjoy the sunshine a little also
Have fun, everyone!