I didn’t hear much about SXSW before going. I knew there would be a lot of presentations to see and there would be a few parties. I never expected the parties to be more valuable than the presentations and I was completely surprised by that.

The evening events were a great chance to meet people that are doing awesome things. There was the unclasses guy and the awe.sm guy that I met through Tim. And then there was someone doing something more awesome than I ever could. He is a professional contest winner. He enters funny videos into contests and wins things like trips around the world where he will make more videos and win more contests.

I met a lot of the Orlando crowd while in another city. I met and followed Eric a few months ago and through him I was able to meet some of the people that go to Florida Creatives happy hour. So that was a great chance to get to know everyone better.

There was also a presentation from the rails envy podcast guy, Gregg Pollack from Orlando. Gregg’s was the only one I went to that wasn’t a panel. The panels could be a bit boring sometimes, but they gave a chance to hear from about 5 people with experience on the topic. The higher education panel started bad just like some of the other panels, but it got better as it went since they got into the important stuff. It would seem that I am still passionate about improving education and I hope that I will be able to work on something at UCF soon that will do just that.

There were a few other panels that weren’t that bad like How to Rawk SXSW where the panelists were experienced SXSWers and gave advice to the noobs. After my visit, the advice I would give is “Be ready to network” because that is the most important part of the conference. And the last panel I attended was how to rawk the rest of the year which had some advice like keep in contact with the people that you’ve met here. One easy way of doing that is finding out who they are on twitter (everyone at the event was on twitter by the end). One other piece of advice from the panel was the parties aren’t the only place to meet people, hallways and streets work well too. Maybe that would have been better advice at the beginning, but it arose from a question.

Hopefully I will get to run into a lot of the Orlando people again at the happy hours and of course I’ll be at BarCampOrlando on April 18th.

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