In my previous post, I explained why I hated SXSWi, or rather, why I was completely overwhelmed by it. But in this post, all of those negatives are a distant memory because of the saving graces of the show.
So here are 3 reasons why I loved SXSW
1 – The People. I’ve met lots of people through Twitter. People who are amazing and kind and helpful. These people can teach you things on a regular basis, freely share information and actually renew your faith in humanity. The best part of SXSW for me was actually meeting some of these people IRL (in real life). One, in particular, is @RachaelSeda. She is definitely someone to watch in the marketing/PR field. A smart woman who is a true up and comer. I had the privilege of meeting her through a mutual Twitter friend, @riggrl. All I can say is that Rachael, and her colleague Andrea (@Mchgn_grl) made my entire weekend, including getting us invited to the #AllHat party at Gueros (best fish taco and margarita ever! If you go, get The Purest margarita.), including buying me a hat! She tweeted me throughout the weekend and made me feel like I wasn’t alone at this crazy conference! Then there was the pleasure of meeting people who I’ve tweeted with, like @ReedSmith @ShelleyKramer @JayBaer @CarissaO, just to name a few, and they are all just SO nice! (Thanks to Geoff Livingston for this photo! You can see more of his great SXSW pics here:
2 – The speakers. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat in a classroom (more years than I’m going to admit because aging is NOT fun!). That was probably the last time I’ve been truly inspired listening to a speaker. Until now. At SXSWi, I had an opportunity to hear some truly inspirational and enlightening speakers. One was Doug Ulman, the CEO of Livestrong (@LivestrongCEO), who is clearly committed to making a difference and knows that social media is the way to mobilize a community.
Then there’s Erika Napoletano (@redheadwriting) who drops F-bombs without batting an eye and captured our attention in the first minute of her book reading. And she easily held our attention because of her commitment to being real and doing what she believes in. She was amazing and she definitely gained one fan that day. And now her blog is one of my absolute favorites. Partly because it’s raw emotion and partly because she’s always got a great lesson in there.
Then there are folks like @SeattleMamaDoc and @PatientsLikeMe who realize that health care is a HUGE problem and they have no qualms talking about it. They are standing up for what they believe in and it’s clear they’re ready for battle. I applaud them and am inspired by them.
3 – The city. I didn’t get a chance to see much of Austin. The first two days were pouring rain, the third day was booked from morning until night and I flew out on my fourth day. But from what I’ve seen, Austin is an awesome city with kind people, and definitely a place I’d like to visit again in the future… when it’s not quite so crazy. (This great photo of the capital is courtesy of my new friend @RachaelSeda — thanks, Rachael!)
There are certainly more reasons to love SXSW too. So thanks, SXSW, for changing my original opinion and making this an escapade that I’ll remember for a long time! What were your favorite things about SXSW?