SXSWi – Jeff’s Pre-show

March 4, 2012

My last visit to Austin, TX was in 2010 when I attended that year’s version of SXSW. I skipped the festival last year for numerous reasons and regretted not making the trip. I DID NOT regret having the extra $2500 to spend on food, tech gadgets and other toys instead of tossing it away on travel, hotel, booze and Thai food at 3AM with Mike Langford.

But, as last year’s event drew to a close I made the decision that I should be where the tech and interactive minds are as much as possible. Especially because I’m looked to as an expert in this field and I enjoy me some networking with the Twitterati. So, here’s the 3rd-person sharing of my steps, in a calendarized build-up, for this year’s event along with a quick (first-person) “what I expect to get out of SXSWi 2012. Enjoy.

March 2011 – Jeff wails loudly that he should be in Austin. He smiles because he saved $2487, but he still misses spending time with fun tech and social media folks. He also misses the barbecue and beer that is prevalent in Austin during SXSW.

Late March 2011 – Jeff reserves a room in downtown Austin for 21 days from March 2 through March 23, 2012. He doesn’t know what dates SXSW will fall on in the coming year, so he decides to take chance out of the equation.

April 2011 – Jeff calls his hotel – reserved for 21 days – and whittles down his stay to a mere seven nights. He still enjoys the smart rate of $249 per night at a top-notch hotel, instead of the prevailing $400-700 per night that is more common when you reserve a room anytime after August for the following year.

May 2011 – Mike Langford moves to Texas. This ensures that Mike and Jeff won’t be sharing the same room at SXSW and will therefore not kill each other. *The prevailing belief here is that Mike would have killed Jeff for his snoring. It’s a win-win for everyone.

June – Sept. 2011 – Jeff waits for JetBlue to put their March flights on sale.

Sept. 2011 – March JetBlue flights go on sale and Jeff buys a seat next to Steve Garfield on NerdBird 1.

Oct. 2011 – Nothing happens other than multiple conferences, speaking gigs, teaching sessions and other real-life ingredients. But we’re discussing the fairy tale land of SXSW, so these things don’t count.

Nov. 2011 – Jeff contacts the SXSW offices and asks them if he can use the pass he got in 2011 but didn’t use, for admission to the 2012 festival. They say YES! Jeff is ecstatic – and in his joyous response offers up his liaison services to the conference committee (thinking they’ll say, “no, that’s OK, we don’t need you” and he’ll get a free badge). That DOESN’T happen. They say they could use Jeff’s help and he is pressed into service, rendering his ‘free’ badge really not free as he has to work for it again.

Dec. 2011 – Feb. 2012 – Jeff works like a dog as a panel liaison. He starts prepping his liver for SXSW. And he contacts people like Aaron Strout, Peter Kim and Chis Anderson to arrange to see and hug them while in Austin.

March 2012 – The festival approaches quickly. Jeff joins Derek Peplau and John Refford in getting strategy together for their assault on Austin. Jeff also joins folks on a Google Hangout to discuss different events throughout the week. Finally, Jeff rents a banjo so he can practice during his downtime at SXSWi.

Goals and Aspirations…

For this year’s SXSWi, I’m looking to do five things. Yes, this is more than the three things your high-school English teacher said you should start with when writing an essay. Deal with it. SXSWi is a big event and three would be too few when it comes to goals. Therefore, I plan to…

1 – …collect and create and share content. Lots of it. I’m bringing a DSLR that I expect to have with me all the time. I plan to share photos to my Flickr site, videos to my YouTube channel and assorted content to Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and maybe some of my blogs.

2 – …take in at least a few educational sessions and actually learn something about technology, the world around me and the people who are making things happen in the aforementioned world. This will likely require me to be at the Convention Center during the day, so that will also happen. Look for me there. I’ll be the one who looks like me and I’ll be wearing an Adam Cohen name badge.

3 – …enjoy some seriously good food. The BBQ, Mexican fare and other dishes in Austin are great. I expect that some of the people mentioned in this post will also join me for a meal or two. I will be sharing information about the food I eat via my Boston Food Fan blog and various social media sites.

4 – …film an episode of NomX3 with Mike Langford. The chemistry, the humor and the intelligence in this show is unrivaled and we’ve come up with a plan to continue the series. Join us in Austin for a live lunch taping of the critically acclaimed NomX3. To see any of our existing shows, visit where you’ll find 45 episodes of genius and good taste.

5 – …discover some new technologies, meet some new people, and do some things I’ve never tried before. I’d like to experience some bluegrass music. I’d like to run into Lance Armstrong. I’d enjoy talking about new tech gadgets with companies that are there to unveil their latest products and services. These things will be details here, over at The Gadget Reporter, or in video interviews that I’ll post to YouTube.

That’s about it in a nutshell. How do you plan to capitalize on your SXSWi visit? What, if anything, would you want me to search out and report on if you’re not going to be there?