1. Plan your panels… but be adventurous.
SXSW interactive is a cross-section of the interactive world. This makes the panels incredibly diverse. Try to get the most from the panels in your specific area, but also attend a few outside your field you think might be helpful. If you’re a developer, try a user-experience panel. If you’re a designer, a content strategy panel could give you new skills. And don’t forget to network in the sponsors’ lounges or hit the trade show to meet vendors.
2. Consider time and distance
The panels are spread across the Austin Convention Center and nearby hotels, so remember that it could easily take 10 to 20 minutes to go between meetings and panels. Depending of how far your next panel is, you may want to head out during the Q&A to make it on time.
3. Dress comfortably
Between the distance you’ll walk and the time you’ll be standing at events, parties and waiting on lines at restaurants and venues, you will definitely be walking and on your feet a lot. Don’t repeat my mistake of wearing a nice pair of patent-trim Oxford lace-ups to my first SXSW 3 years ago… It was as painful as it was unforgettable!