SXSW Day 3. Running on Fumes

Scott Francis
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I was struggling Sunday morning, Day 3 of SXSW 2011.  I wasn’t the only one.  The universe had played a cruel joke on all of us and put US Daylight savings leap forward in the middle of SXSW-interactive.    Which of course, meant one hour less sleep during a week in which we all could have used an extra hour of sleep. The 9:30 lineup of content looked a bit weaker than normal, or perhaps it was just that I was too tired to get excited about it. As I parked at the Four Seasons downtown and walked toward the convention center, I had a choice:  get to the session on “The Death of Relational Databases”, or get a Korean-Mexican fusion Taco at the FoodSpotting parking lot.  I opted for the taco.  And while there, ran into a few interesting characters including an old colleague of mine who once accompanied me on a six month project in Ottawa in the winter.  From there I eschewed a set of fantastic panels (Hacking the News Desiging iPad interfaces, and others) in order to stop by the NY startup meetup.  Briefly reconnected with Hashable and Foursquare and Gary Chou of USV. (I ran into Jane Kim from Hashable so often I’m convinced that she has a twin). As I rushed off to the convention center again to catch the next set of sessions, my previously well-picked schedule for some reason refused to synchronize with my iPhone (nor my iPad).  Picking from the list, quickly, I dropped into a session on co-working.  It was a little too dry for me and I stepped out of it and moved on out. As a family revolving around two entrepreneurs and two kids, sometimes things just break down.  We had one of those days.  Our babysitter for the day couldn’t stay late.  I went home early, skipping some good 5pm sessions and leaving a 3:30 session early to make it in time for the cut-off.  I had a wonderful evening with our two kids that made the weekend seem a little less hectic and a little bit more grounded.  They asked me about every 2 seconds if they could play with my iPad2.  As my son would put it: “mmm iPad2? Daddy’s iPad?” which translated means “let me play with your new toy Daddy, pllleeeeeeeeaaasseee!” ).  But we played outside and got the kids to bed, and then I hit twitter and other media to catch up on some of the sessions my friends had attended ( great live-tweeting from the events). Day 3 was the kind of day you have when you’re tired, and haven’t planned your schedule in advance in terms of which sessions have the content you really want to see.  You feel disjointed, late, frustrated by the crowds.  And it was almost a relief to just hang it up for the day and head home. But Day 4 was a good rebound… more on that in the next post… My advice to festival goers – when you have a day like I did, on Day 3 – just pack it in – head to the hotel or house, and take a nap.  Something interesting and energizing will await you when you wake up, and you’ll enjoy it even more. One of the sessions I missed: Tired of F@#king Social Media Experts? You can’t make this stuff up.  Good reviews of that session too (who says panels are dull!)