Austin is a great city, the food, the people the weather (except in summer). I enjoy my trip there each time no matter what’s in store. I’ve been there countless times before but never for the biggest Music, Film and Tech festival America can muster up! And while the week there like a stiff drink equal parts education equal parts party there is a lot to learn for a South-By-newbie. Here’s my list what to remember and what to watch for:

  1. Drink lots of water, if you can’t find clean H2O try Miller Lite – its more abundant and usually free.
  2. Don’t go there without a laptop. My Blackberry didn’t have a signal in the convention center and I couldn’t check email or twitter when the panel got boring. And there can be a lot of that.
  3. Get an iPhone. With built in WiFi you don’t need to bring your laptop and can ne a task master while listening to boring presentations from web 2.0 whatevers. Plus that $500 handheld will instantly create a commonality with 99.6% of the attendees.
  4. How to monetize digital music is still a hotly argued topic.
  5. Don’t pack anything nice. Waisted luggage space is all those button down shits and shoes are doing. Think coffee shop and bar style – and clothes that won’t upset you when you drip BBQ sauce all over them.
  6. Experiential marketing is everything! Google your party sucked and I’m going to let people know because you definitely could have afforded to rent out a bigger place and pay for some drinks and food.
  7. Did I mention experiential marketing is everything? handing out rain slickers for the day it down poured giving them a lot of respect. To see the streets of Austin taken over by these white, hooded slickers branded with was quite a scene. Rock Opera at Stubbs – same thing – free drinks all night and 6 rockin’ bands – they make throwing a party look easy.
  8. Young website entrepreneurs usually make bad speakers. Maybe its their age, maybe its their lack of experience, probably both but most of the speakers had difficulty mixing education with entertainment and personality. Take it from Guy Kawasaki – you gotta have fun up there and challenge each other.
  9. You’re not going to see everything and you may not even see half – don’t worry it’s all about the total experience not one session or one party. And don’t pace yourself that’s for weenies.
  10. Go back next year. This is the event- and while partying with your peers isn’t going to help you make a million bucks with your web app, it’s definitely going to give you a healthy perspective and refresh your own strategies. Wonder if Sarah Lacy will be back too?