How do you survive SXSW as an old dude while actually making it a productive business trip, and also not appear to be too out of place? Why is this even a relevant question?
Brought to you from the minds of two old married dudes who are experienced in everything Austin, here’s your ultimate survival guide for SXSW.
Don’t try to be fashionable, and just go get a pair of extra-wide New Balances. You’re going to be on your feet from 10am-2am daily, and your feet will thank you when you get to your final destination. Oh, and whenever you have the chance to get off those feet, do it!
You will need to replenish your electrolytes every morning. Water works too, and lemonade can even do in a pinch. (Sorry John Zahr, beer does not count. Not even light beer.)
You will need to conquer several hangovers. This can also help with an achy body. We’re old and married. What physical activity do we get? (Wait, don’t answer that…)
No one ever remembers this, BUT THE ENTIRE WEEK, YOU’RE OUTSIDE.
If you’re headed to Austin from a cooler climate like us, you’ll definitely want to pack Gold Bond or baby powder. Just. Trust. Us!
Extra Socks (and underwear)
This one’s pretty self explanatory.
Have one on you at all times. Hell, get a few dozen branded with your logo. Make friends by being the guy with the charger (brilliant!). You should probably avoid bringing your daughter’s charger though.
No one will remember your name even if they’re sober. Have a business card with a pen on you at all times. The pen is to jot down a note on the back of the card. Again, no one will remember your name.
Hotel & Transportation
Do WHATEVER you can to stay downtown. Do not rely on a taxi and don’t be afraid of pedicabs.
What Not To Bring
Don’t. Just don’t. (Even Joe Raczka knew enough to not do this and that says a lot.)
Unless you are trying to be ironic, no tie. But then again, if you’re trying to be ironic, you’re probably trying too hard. So just don’t do it.
Two guys walk into a bar. One has the iPhone charger. One has the BlackBerry charger. Who makes more friends? (Seriously, don’t bring a BlackBerry charger even if you’re trying to be ironic. There’s trying too hard, and then there’s being an idiot.)
Odds & Ends
Leave room in your suitcase for swag.
SXSW is the mecca for swag. Note that swag doesn’t count as gifts for your spouse. Kids, however? Fair game.
Reconsider your late-night food choices.
Taco trucks are going to seem like an epic idea at 2 or 3am. We’re not saying don’t do it, but just remember to order a water when you do.
There might be a metric shit ton of people around, but downtown Austin isn’t very big, so you’re likely to see the same people over and over. (Remember that iPhone charger!)