Life Lessons from SXSW

If you are looking for a recap of all the latest technology, cool activations, or social media tricks I suggest you go to Adweek or Mashable. Did I learn a lot about those things? Ab-so-fucking-lutely! But the experience as a whole gave me much more. It reminded me of all those life lessons we often forget about. So, I thought I would share some of those things that since you are probably being bombarded about AI.

First, just go with the flow!

Me and my team agonized for weeks about what panels to attend, what content to capture, and even where to eat because we were worried about not having enough time. My team’s group chat was filled with recommendations of taco places and we really couldn’t decide. Until… my co-worker Sam went to a panel with David Chang, who mentioned his favorite taco place was Veracruz. Since he is a renowned chef, we thought we would go with what he said. And what do you know? Those were literally the best tacos I ever had (and I had the steak, fish, and chicken just to be thorough)! To top it all off, Kirsten Dunst was at the next table. This was all after I randomly noticed that Jordan (the sneakers, not the man) was doing a panel that morning. Being the sneakerhead I am, I made it there and was in the front row. Needless to say, we ended up having the best time when we stumbled upon things. Once we relaxed a little bit and let loose, the good times and the perfect tacos just rolled on in.

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There were some moments that weren’t great. Another co-worker, Agnes, told me, if the panel isn’t good, then leave!

Because, I am part nerd and part visually impaired, I tend to sit in the front of most of the panels I attend. So deciding to leave, can be a bit awkward. But, once I heard that advice, something clicked in my head. Like, I am (or my company is) paying a lot of money for me to be here, so why should I sit and try to pretend it’s great. Especially, when I can hear they are having a better session next door. So, I started leaving and I would find myself in a much more engaging presentation. And that goes for life. If something isn’t working and you clearly know it, why sit there and try to make it something it is not. You deserve to use your time, money, and energy on things that make you better and/or happy.

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And once you’re there, make sure you are getting the most out of it and ask questions!

There were moments when a panel was great, but they just didn’t touch on what I wanted them to touch on. So, in my mind, I would say “fuck it” and take my shy self to the middle of the room to ask more questions. There was no way I was going to pass up on an opportunity. This ensured that I got what I wanted out of the presentation. And you never know, someone in the room probably has the exact same question. If there is an opportunity to get more out of life, why not take it? Even if it starts with asking a simple question.

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So in true SXSW style, let me leave you with a few takeaways. Go with the flow of life, leave when it’s not making sense, and ask for more when you need it.

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