Getting Ready for SXSW

Getting Ready for SXSW

Again I’m way behind on preparing for this trip to South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW), which is a sprightly mix of web and interactive design, social media, tech culture, and entrepreneurial spirit that happens every year in Austin, Texas alongside the Film and much-better known Music festival. I’d originally found out about SXSW through the web developer crowd on the 9rules Network way back in 2005 or 2006, and though SXSW seemed far to hip for the likes of me, I thought I should go because I had written an article about continually being mistaken for Dave “CSS Zen Garden” Shea due to our similar last names. As a result, a few people in the web development community were actually familiar with my name. I rationalized that if I was going to do any kind of networking to get my shingle out there, this would be the time to do it. I had mixed feelings about being recognized for not being someone, but I went anyway. And I’m super glad I did. My first year’s experience was energizing, thought-provoking, and even spiritual, as I collided with about 4000 people with the same desire to make cool stuff happen. I’d found my tribe.

For 2007, I spent a lot more energy trying to get everything straight with maps and other pre-printed geeky preparation because I didn’t want to miss as much as I did before. This year, I’m resigned to let things happen as they happen and go with the flow. Trying to experience everything at SXSW is like taking a sip from a fire hose, and I’m just too old and cranky to do that. So I’m going to just check into the hotel tomorrow night and just start letting it happen. I have no idea who is even speaking this year; I just know it’s going to be interesting.

What is on my mind right now is what to bring with me. So I’m writing this blog post as a kind of To-Do list while fulfilling the desire to put something up. I’ll likely be updating this as the day goes on. First Preparation

  • o Do Laundry
  • o pay bills
  • o check credit card limits
  • x upload new SXSW badge picture
  • o add international calling to my cell phone (lots of non-US peeps at SXSW ya know)
  • x online check-in as early as possible to get good boarding position on Southwest Airlines (done)
  • o charge that iPod

Collect The Sundries

  • x Clothes for 5 days
  • x Sleeping clothes
  • x Socks socks socks
  • o Comfortable walking shoes (with arch supports this time).
  • o Light jacket
  • x A portable Water Pik, though they suck. I have some problem teeth that need some extra care.
  • x Those convenient face wipes for long days
  • o Glasses…do NOT FORGET AGAIN. Include the CASE.
  • o Extra pair of contact lenses
  • o Eye drops for “getting the red out”
  • o Eye drops for contact lenses
  • o That good moisturizer I like (thanks Sis)
  • o Shaving supplies
  • o An adequate supply of contact lens solution / enzymatic cleaner

Collect The Gear

  • o One small apothecary jar of Ning Cha Preium [sic] Chili Sauce, so Esther can tell me if it’s any good. I am hoping that my training this past year will prepare me for Nuclear Taco Night. Last year Zach and I almost died.
  • x One OLPC XO Laptop, which I am going to try to use as my primary laptop if I can find some kind of photo storage offloading device for the digital cameras. Will probably bring the MBP with me anyway (6.8 pounds…ugh), and use the shoulder straps with the new bag.
  • x New business cards. I had a couple places online print them fast. Overnight Prints did a good job, with a nice satin matte finish and good stiffness. I would use them again. Hotcards was average despite the good online experience (which faltered when shipping status did not update).
  • x Envelope for storing receipts
  • o Chargers for Cell Phone, Digital Cameras, iPod, XO
  • o DVD-R media to archive photos, 4G a day.
  • o Power Strip
  • x Moleskine, Lamy Rollerball and Fountain Pen
  • x Observation Journal

Last Preparation Phase

  • x Print hotel reservation
  • x Print SXSW registration info
  • x Print flight information

  • o Collect, print lists of people to see w/ websites, locations

  • o Collect, print panel listings to study on the plane
  • o Update, print my austin street grid
  • o Collect, print a set of the latest Printable CEO forms and other weirdness
  • o Design, print say hi to me stickers
  • o label everything


p>House Cleanup Phase

  • o Clean up kitchen
  • o Set up cats for extended catsitting
  • o Vacuum
  • o Put out treats for catsitters
  • o Backup laptop projects
  • o Shut down computers

Last Year’s Musings

If you’re interested, you can browse my first year reactions and second year reports. I’m planning on reporting my experiences nightly as well. I’m pretty lousy at partying hard, being a non-drinker and a bit hard of hearing, so I will be in my hotel room decompressing.


  1. Emily Seah 15 years ago

    I’m sure you’ll be really careful taking that apothecary bottle of chili sauce through airport security. ;)

  2. Patrick 15 years ago

    Welcome back, David. You seem to have the drill down of minimize, minimize, minimize when it comes to attending SXSWi. I’ve gone from laptop, camera, and video camera – to notebook and Powershot camera (which records video, too). Look for the man in the grey utilikilt and say hi if you like. Cheers!