SXSW (South by Southwest) used to just be a festival for musicians and music fanatics. These days the geeks are taking over. SXSW -- Interactive has been making Austin a little weirder for 13 years.
Austin has become the spring break destination for many in the techie elite.
Of course, there's plenty to learn at SXSW, but there's also plenty to do. Some people joke that it's the 'geek's spring break.' Like any good spring break, the fun begins before nightfall.
"Yeah, we're at a bar right now. I think everyone's on their first or second or third beer and it's noon. So, you know, I think we're doing well," said Allie Danziger, owner of Houston's Integrate Public Relations.
Spend a couple of days in Austin during SXSW, and you'll learn ... the attendees know how to party.
"Maybe it's a little bit like our spring break, but it's nice to disconnect and see what's out there and then come back to work next week fully charged," said Danziger.
And, once the sun goes down, watch out.
"The atmosphere is pretty epic," said Lisa Weeks, Marketing Director from Filter.
John Boitnott, of Hasai Marketing, describes it as a 'once-a-year prom' for geeks.
"It's almost past your bandwidth to find out what party you want to go to that day, because there's 20 parties going on at the same time all over the place," said Boitnott.
Some marketers even make their money by showing people where and how to party. With about 40,000 people at SXSW, and more than 100 'official' parties, there are a lot of people to sell to.
"It's not even just parties, just events. It's all-day things all over downtown," said Boitnott.
Hasai marketing put out a list of the 'hot 22' parties of the conference.
"We wanted to have the biggest and the best events," said Boitnott.
They got it right Sunday night. Their pick was the 'Mashable' party at Buffalo Billiards. The line seemed never-ending
"Sometimes I join queues just to see where they're going, because if there's a queue for it, it's generally quite good," said Tiffany Scott Maddox, while standing in line.
"You might have to wait a little bit, but patience pays off in the end," said Todd Smith.
Besides, while you're in line, you can always network. That's part of what a conference is all about.
Well, that, and the learning, but, why not have a little fun? Especially when you're somewhere so... weird.
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