I thought about blogging about my experience of this years SXSW without a badge every day, but it simply didn’t make sense. And I didn’t have time. Long story short: It was great!
There are plenty of activities outside the convention center, plenty of meet ups, many parties, interesting places and talks to see, and people to talk to.
As said, on the first day, I missed my badge, after that I didn’t.
Though the Mashable House was badge only, I got in there, same is with Yahoo!, who required a badge after day 2.
This SXSW has been busy, fun, and insane again, but not as stressful as the ones before. Mostly, because I didn’t have to go through the program, trying to see as many good talks as possible. Maybe I’ll listen to a few talks at home and will read a few blogs, but it’s soo much, that you simply can’t have it all while being in Austin.
Even without attending talks, I missed so many shows, places, and events.
Btw: If you want to listen to the talks, you’ll find them on Soundcloud. If you rather like video, google them and I bet you’ll find most of them.
It was interesting, that when talking to Americans, mentioning I was without a badge, seemed fine, where Germans gave me looks of pity, questioning my mental health, wondering what I was doing in Austin at all.
I was offered a badge for free, but I decided not take it, because I needed to figure out, if badgeless is right for me or not. And this time it was.
To me, SXSW is not (just) a conference. In my eyes, the conference is part of a huge festival where brands and tech, startup and what not digital people from all over the world come together, discussing issues, getting to know each other and having a good time.
Not having a badge makes it easy to enjoy the activities around it. It’s fine to stay out longer, because you don’t have to be up and running for interesting sessions in the mornings. And honestly, nothing is easier than getting to know people in Austin. But you do that when you are out on the street – not while sitting in a talk.
With a lot of people I discussed job related issues, ideas and trends. We exchanged different views, gave advice and explained points – yes, we didn’t have a powerpoint with us, but I still gained knowledge. It was just not in a big room, but in one-to-ones instead.
Now, if you ask if that is worth the expenses, you clearly haven’t been there before.
I absolutely understand that that can feel different to other people, but for me, it’s „no badge“ from now on. You can always get a day pass through speakers or at the registration, if you feel the need to really see something.
SXSW, it has been wonderful! Thank you not only to the organizers, but also to everybody I got to meet! Hope to see you next year!