DDB Copenhagen’s Anders Wik Preps You for SXSW 2016
With just 25 days left until SXSW 2016, we reached out to SXSW veteran and DDB Copenhagen’s Head of Digital Anders Wik to brief you on what to expect and how to prepare yourself for the madness. Read on for his tips and advice for getting ready for SXSW.
I have been to Austin and SXSW four times. Here’s my top take outs and tips for getting the most out of SXSW:
SXSW is the closest you will ever get to stopping the Internet carousel for some days, and the closest you will ever get to getting a snapshot of pop culture. The festival will brief you on the year to come – seen from the perspective of creative agencies, startups, entrepreneurs, film makers, musicians, designer, politicians, and thought leaders. SXSW will inspire you. But only if you come prepared.
Yes, the boring secret of getting the most out of SXSW is planning and scheduling. So register at http://social.sxsw.com and http://schedule.sxsw.com and see who is attending and speaking this year. The full program is out the 16th of February.
How do you navigate the jungle of seminars and venues?
First – signup so that you can start building your schedule.
I usually start out by looking at all the speakers alphabetically (http://schedule.sxsw.com/?conference=&lsort=speaker) and favourite everything I think sounds interesting. This becomes my longlist. I then look through my schedule and build a shortlist of 3 to 5 events for each timeslot. Looking at venues can also be a good idea. Try to have to events at the same time at the same venue, so you have an exitplan if the event is packed or just plain boring. You can see all venues at http://schedule.sxsw.com/?conference=&lsort=venue.
You can see my schedule right now here. At the moment it is a long-long-long-list but I’ll be culling it down as the festival approaches.
Download the SXSW app for both your phone and your tablet. If you login with your SXSW-ID, you will have your schedule on all devices.
If you also upload a photo and edit your personal info at http://social.sxsw.com you’ll be able to fast-lane getting your festival pass. The earlier you get it (Thursday night is perfect, or early Friday morning), the shorter the line.
I usually get downtown early to have breakfast and queue up for the first event. Bring a bag with your iPhone, iPad, a notebook, a pen, a bottle of water and some extra battery capacity in form of a juice pack (mophie.com). From 1.30 to 3.30 there is a break for lunch. Then seminars again until 6.
What should I see?
There are always some keynotes you should not miss. But like a good music festival with a broad program, you can choose to hear all the big names, or try to find some of the upcoming names and things. A good finger rule: if the title sounds like a seminar you could attend a Wednesday in the city you live, go for something else. Go listen to NASA – if you are lucky they will be on FaceTime with the astronauts on ISS. See some startups pitching their solutions to big problems, or choose a seminar with a title that sounds funky. My favourite this year is “Weird Startups from Japanese Universities.”
What should I not expect?
Don’t expect to find the next big technology or platform. It is more likely that you will be inspired on how to use all the things that are already there. Try to end each seminar you attend with answering the question “What can I use this for?” and write it down on your way to the next seminar. You will thank yourself when you return back home at the agency and the first questions is “What can we use it for?”.
Last tip: Download the Uber app. It’s the easiest way to get around in Austin.
See you there!
BONUS: Some places to eat
Just behind the Convention Centre.
Best steak in Austin.
Hopdoddy (Burger bar)
A 40 minute drive outside Austin, but worth the drive!