SXSWi 2011. Day 1. BPM @ SXSW
Photo Gallery by Austin360) Things started off right. I found parking in the convention center garage, no crazy antics required. $9 for all-day parking. Cost of business. As I exited, I realized I was only one block away from Hashable‘s sponsored free taco stand. Coincidentally, my wife‘s company, Red Velvet Events, is helping them out with a few planning/logistics items during SXSW, and we had the good fortune of having met a few folks at Hashable at a happy hour earlier in the week. Trusting that they wouldn’t have a crummy taco truck, I walked over. GREAAAT taco. And Jane Kim (VP Business Development, Hashable), and Elliot Loh were there. Elliot and I went to school together at Stanford and both worked at the same company out of school. It was a nice reunion to run into him. The three of us wandered over to the convention hall and then split up to three different sessions. That worked pretty well because Elliot tweets the goings-on in his sessions like a mad man so I could follow his session, and at the same time follow my own. First session: Conference Startups. The format was a “core conversation” where the room and chair arrangement is concentric and intimate to foster spontaneous, but still centralized, conversation. The moderators were great, and the conversation moved smoothly from one topic to another, almost as if the audience was in on the script. I was interested in this session, despite other strong sessions in this slot, because we have previously hosted the bpmCamp unconference and have intentions to do it again in the near future. With that in mind, I hoped to get some new ideas from the conversations. A shotgun sampling of advice I heard:Day 1 is over. For me. For many people at SXSW interactive, 11:30pm is just midway through the evening. But Day zero was interesting too. We attended a tech happy hour on Thursday night. Surprisingly, I ran into an ex-IBM consultant who is starting a BPM practice at an IBM partner. Small world! You don’t often run into people you don’t know, who are doing BPM, I’ve found. Especially unusual at a non-BPM related event… Day 1 started frenetically. Wake up early, teacher’s conference for our daughter, coffee, get the office and get contracts, paperwork, bills, emails, and a dozen other things done as soon as possible … to make sure I could get down to the first SXSW session at 2pm. (Update:
- Get a clear yes or no from sponsors. If you don’t get one, you haven’t asked clearly enough for what you want. “You haven’t really asked if you don’t get a no”
- Find the experts, and then find out who you could bring to your conference that would blow their minds.
- Market the conference. Presumption is that it takes 7 times before someone acts on hearing about a conference.
- (At this point, I noticed this session was standing room only … unreal )
- Mizzou School of Journalism was represented – looking for ways to foster more participation in the community in Columbia, Missouri.
- Discussion of Ignite and TedX – you can lend your brand to other regions, cities, and venues… you don’t have to own every one of them.
- People like great speakers, and conversations – but they don’t often like panels. People want to be engaged in the conference, not just talked to.
- Food and coffee are more important than you think. No really. They’re more important than you think.
- Some discussion of tools – lanyrd, eventBrite, etc.