February 10, 2015  •  by Sean Burke

5 Ways to Make Connections at SXSW

South By Southwest ( SXSW ) is a week of awesome parties, concerts, tech, and expos. If you play your cards right, it can also be a week of creating life-long connections and relationships in an array of industries. If you’re going to SXSW for the first time or you’re looking to take a break from the adrenaline of watching back-to-back concerts, I recommend taking some time out of your schedule to establish valuable connections. SXSW is in a great location because Austin is a diverse city with dozens of start-ups in different niches sprouting up every month. The city is also filled with investors eager to invest in innovative ideas. So whether you are looking for work or you’re looking for funding or to create the next big thing, you’ll be in the right place. I’m done hemming and hawing over how great Austin is, so now for the important stuff.  In this next section, we’ll look at five great opportunities to expand your network. Be sure to bring an ample amount of business cards or other accessible contact information (such as your LinkedIn profile) to make sure you cement your relationships.

  1. Check out the official SXSW Trade Show: There are going to be hundreds of businesses and startups looking to show off their wares and services.
  2. Need a job, or wanting something more? Check out the SXSW Job Market. The SXSW Job Market always has a ton of tech and media companies looking for new hires. You’ll be in the perfect place to determine your next step in the job market.2016 edit: You can see a list of employers here. Amongst them are Dell, Magento, Netflix, and Apple. 
  3. Learn something new and meet people in the process: Join some of the SXSW Workshops! Although these require badges, we highly recommend getting a badge anyway since you’ll have more access to fantastic live shows and other experiences. SXSW has workshops for both its Film and Tech categories, while it also has Meet Ups for its Music category.
  4. Here’s a no-brainer- Talk to people at the shows, bars, and parties you attend! You really never know if the stranger sitting next to you is an angel investor or someone with a killer idea until you strike up a conversation with them. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Despite the obviousness, I’ve seen too many people at bars with their eyes on their phone ignoring the latent opportunities around them.
  5. Look into industry meetups: With people from all over the globe meeting in one place, there’s bound to be people looking to connect with other people in their fields. But don’t just connect in your particular industry! Do your best to look into other industries that interest you or could become connected to your industry in your future.
]]]]> ]]>