We’re just a few weeks away from SXSWi, the world’s biggest meeting for those with big social thoughts. You may be thinking to yourself, ‘how can I position myself as a guru-ninja at SXSW?’
A few pointers (or so I’ve heard):
Refer to SXSW as ‘South by’. Life moves fast. You’re a busy, multitasking, out-of-the box fire starting guru maverick with thoughts of social business design and human bandwidth. You just don’t have time to add the ‘southwest’. For that matter you don’t need to say ‘south by.’ And if you’re really connected you don’t say anything, you just sit there and have big social thoughts.
Never act excited. No matter what you do or where you are at SXSW, look like you’re dreadfully bored and behave like everyone and everything is smaller than you. Even if it’s your first time, say things like ‘South by isn’t what it used to be’ or ‘I’m sick of this. South by has gotten too damn big’. And when you’re asked if you’ll be back next year, say ‘Dunno…we’ll see.’ Create the impression that you’ve got more important things to do.
Avoid primary colors. People wonder what to wear. Nothing says ‘Nobody follows me on Quora’ louder than wearing a yellow, red, blue or green shirt at SXSW. Pick black, brown, grey, beige or some other sustainable earth tone that make it clear that you ride a skateboard to work. And whatever you do, do not be seen purchasing (or, God forbid, wearing) a shirt or any other paraphernalia that says ‘SXSW.’ When you’re as big as you are you don’t need a souvenir. For guys, those chic elfin-like cowboy boots that always look two sizes too big and have the toes that reach for the sky are likely to impress.
Look like you just rolled off a futon. The most critical SXSW fashion element is that you look like you just rolled out of bed. Messy hair, a 5 o’clock shadow and poor posture rule the day. And if you wear anything beyond jeans and a wrinkled tee you’re likely to be laughed out of the Iron Cactus.
Never attend a public party. All of your social events should be invite only. Avoid being seen at any event that’s actually in the South by program. After all, you’ve got a high dollar personal brand to protect. And if you fail to get invited anywhere, just stay in your hotel room and watch TV.
Avoid Foursquare. Keep Fousquare squarely in the ‘off’’ position. Otherwise everyone will know that you’re in your hotel room watching TV. The only exception is if you actually wind up someplace hip. Then turn on Foursquare and be sure everyone in the free world is appropriately updated.
Drop names and lie about your company. The beauty about Twitter is that you can make stuff up. This comes in handy at SXSW when you’re trying to position yourself as actually relevant. Say things like, ‘Hangin’ w/ m’ peeps Brogan and Scoble’ or ‘This Techcrunch VIP party is lame-o. Headed w/ Zuck to grab a cigar.’ And when you’re dropping the name of someone much more important than yourself, sound like you’re bored and marginally put-out with their presence but don’t actually say that.
Tell everyone you’re 28. Ditch your reading glasses and tell everybody you’re 28. At this meeting, a day over 30 marks one foot in the grave. And whatever you do, never disclose that you listen to Abba, Nelson or The Smithereens.
Pocket your smartphone. Note pocket, not belt holster – Nothing screams ‘Look at me, I’m analog‘ louder than wearing your phone on your belt. And concerning Twitter, you don’t need it. When you’re as big as you are, you don’t need status updates. Everyone knows where you are. Everyone’s talking about you. Let your minions do the heavy lifting.
Look for me in earth tones at the SXSWi Health Track. Apply tongue in cheek now and tell me what I’ve missed.