By Scott Nolan, Senior Designer
Day one/two: The journey to SXSW. (6am Thursday, Sydney – 3am Friday, Austin.)
So it begins, two days out from flying out to go to SXSW and I get my first taste of the U.S. (since my last visit). I received some U.S. dollars as an early birthday present from my Mum. They use monopoly money in the US! But seriously the money feels almost exactly like play money and the dimensions are so bizarre I doubt it would properly fit into my wallet.
But back to the point: I’m going to SXSW for work because they think I’m pretty awesome and deserve it. I do want to say a MASSIVE thanks to White and the powers that be for the opportunity to go to this great event, the recognition and for now making everyone envious. Looks like I’ll be eating lunch alone for a while.
After countless days going through the overwhelming amount of content and speakers to choose from, I finally have a narrowed-down list of what I think are must-sees, and generally interesting topics that will further my understanding of digital, how to tell better stories and engage with an audience.
An extremely wet beginning, it was raining so heavily that there was flooding in certain areas. But that wasn’t going to put a dampener on the trip, we’re talking about SXSW here.
Waiting at Sydney, Ross and I caught up with Andrew Simpson and later we met two people from the SXSW Facebook group, Alexa Hohenberg from MediaCom and Ben Cooper from Monkeys.
I mentioned to Ross days earlier that I always get stopped for the “random” security check, and I did. Although this one was a little different. You know in those really bad “comical” movies where the person conducting the check puts on those plastic gloves with the loudest slap noise. The woman did that and my first impression was ‘what now?’, but luckily there was no “extended” search. Also, I would like to note I was the only one.
Even though the flight was a little over 13hrs it didn’t feel that long, with the only trouble being I’m not one of the lucky people that can sleep on planes. I watched a bunch of movies: Ides of March, In time, Anonymous, Contagion, Tower Heist (not worth it), my Idiot brother and some 30 Rock. Eyes stinging, brain fried and somersaulting stomachs from the always questionable airline food, we try and navigate our way around the confusing terminal and epic security. FYI: random security check 2.
Since we had around 6 hours to kill, Ross and I went semi-into the city to see if we could find a burner (super cheap phone that comes with a SIM). We ended up deciding to wait. It’s crazy over here regarding technology. It’s so available that some of the more general consumer-focused ones are packaged similar to action figures and prices start around the same level. A lot of the cool gadgets like the Square (smaller than a matchbox) can be plugged into your iPhone or Android and you can accept credit card payments on the go. A great little invention for sole traders and small business. Also the (physical) Pixar car you can interactively play with on the iPad. All this stuff was just in the tech area in Target. Generally everything is cheaper over here, whether it’s our strong dollar or their hurting economy. The differences in prices were obvious.
And back to the trip.
So we had to physically leave the airport to catch the connecting flight from L.A. to Austin, which meant more security, although apart from having to take off my shoes it was fine. Hey, the shoes had super tight double knots and I don’t like keeping people the mob waiting. Anyway, we get through and bump into Paul Taylor, and later on, Ben.
We arrived at Austin airport fairly late Austin time. Check out the awesome guitars in the baggage claim area.
We played ‘guess the songs in the mix’ on the shuttle bus into Austin. On arrival at the hotel we were so happy we were going to eat and get to bed. BUT THEN bla bla blaaaa. There was an issue with our booking and we went around in circles trying to fix it before we finally got into our rooms.