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Things I Learned at SXSW…

Austin, Power2Switch Visits South by Southwest- Austin is a gorgeous city from 18 floors up. Awesome panorama: http://360.io/DLj7Uq


- The kindness of strangers still exists. All we need to do is be a little less cynical about life. For example, when someone asks to share a cab with you (running late for a session) and offers to pay the full fare. And then invites you to a private party where you get an amazing view of the city (see photo above).


- The average American thinks about their electricity for only 6 mins. a year. (I still need to confirm this.) What’s stopping people from saving on their electricity through Power2switch? They are just not thinking about it. The few thousand customers we have are on that early-adopter end of things. I learned how to get the rest engaged and switching.


- Attend only the sessions you feel you will learn from. The fear of missing-out-on-a-superstar-session-because-everyone-is-attending it will make it a frustrating experience. I’m glad we chose to plan our session attendance (though by 3pm on Monday I was ‘paneled out’) and then free-styled it for the nighttime revelry. This lesson applies to running your business, too.


- Serendipity still has a large part to play in our lives if we just stay open to it. I met a marketer from Japan; a UX designer from Houston; a government official from London; and a journalist (originally from Chicago) who covered the crime beat in Mobile, Alabama. I can’t share but there was an amazing connection between all three (and it relates to P2S and electricity).


- People will do anything to get noticed when they realize that in the midst of 25k people you are one of 20k that has an idea.


- Opportunity is all around you if you keep your eyes open. 7th & Neches (I believe) had a square space-free food truck and a guy was handing out cards for free tacos. One block up (8th & Neches) there was a homeless shelter where some guys were asking for change (not getting into the politics or social issues here, just an observation).


- Make plans and then be prepared to alter them. What you experience might stun you: Apologies to the Monks of Invention that I couldn’t make the event (hoping the monks forgive me) but as we realized we wouldn’t be back to Chicago as hoped that night, we wandered the streets and ended up in a club where Kid Capri (hip hop royalty) was playing to a room of about 40. Kid Capri within arms length for free. The music was amazing.



Most random part of the trip to SXSW? Walking back to our friend’s car and seeing Dave McClure (venture capitalist and founding partner at 500 Startups) on the corner of 8th and Congress “getting away from it all.” He was alone and listening to his iPhone. We walked past and decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to chat with him. He probably thought he was about to be mugged but ended up being pitched. He was a good sport about us disturbing him.


Chicago was in heavy effect at SXSW 2012 — see you next year Austin!



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