You may be going to SxSW for the panels, talks and keynotes. But the fact is you’ll inevitably pick some bad sessions, wishing you’d chosen something else and wondering how the one you’re suffering through even got in.
If you’re like some people I know (no names mentioned) you’re going only for the parties. And yes, some will be great, but others will be too crowded and will run out food too soon.
If you’re like most, you’re going for both. And to connect with industry friends and contacts.
But one of the best reasons to go to SxSW is to make connections with people you don’t know and may not meet anywhere else. Most of us tend to interact with the same 20 or 30 people every week. Maybe we tweet with another hundred or so.
The connections you can make at SxSW — sitting next to someone at a panel, standing in lines (there are plenty of those), hanging out at a charging station or a pop-up tent serving as a shared workspace — can lead to new sources of inspiration, a chance to meet potential collaborators, connections to people whose expertise may be very different from yours but relevant to your next big project.
So it’s pretty cool to see what the innovative folks at Hyper Island are offering. They’ve just launched Solo/Mates. Perfect for people headed to SxSW by themselves — or who want to connect with some new people — Solo/Mates is planned to be a series of daily meetups for people on their own, a reference source for best tips on what sessions and events are really worth attending, and a simple way to network, all filtered through the digital and collaborative mindset that defines Hyper Island. And given that Tim Leake is behind it, my guess it will actually attract the kind of people you might want to meet.
SxSW can be a zoo. In the midst of it all you try and find the best small gatherings where you can actually talk, learn, connect and perhaps plan. Consider checking out Solo/Mates.
Photo by : Amanda Hirsch