Friday 11 AM: Heading to Austin for the inaugural Dad 2.0 Summit and the South by Southwest conference (SxSW.) I’m trying to find suitably Austin-ish outfits in the sea of Manhattan black that is my wardrobe.
Friday 11:05 AM: Give up and throw eight black outfits in suitcase.
Friday 3 PM: Settled into my flight awaiting take-off. Bob Greenberg, the founder of R/GA and an industry legend, is seated one row up. Everyone boarding stops in the aisle to pay their respects, slowing boarding process considerably.
Friday 6:30 PM: Arrive in Austin during a nasty downpour. Seeing loads of tweets about two-hour lines at badge pick-up at the Austin Convention Center. Struck by wave of SxSW anxiety.
Friday 6:32 PM: Pass Gina Gershon as I de-plane. Almost as exciting as seeing Bob Greenberg.
Friday 7:30 PM: Ask driver to detour from hotel to Convention Center so I can deal with badge situation. SxSW registration is like going through immigration at JFK, except with tattoos and iDevices.
Saturday 8:00 AM: Busy day: must schlep 40 minutes outside Austin to Dad 2.0 Summit to speak on a panel about the business of blogging. Next, ensure that social media rock star Guy Kawasaki gets from Dad 2.0 (where he’s keynoting) into my car on time so I can deliver him to the Guy Girl Party back downtown where our Sam Adams client is debuting B’Austin Ale, the crowd-sourced beer Guy helped them create. Find out my bloggy pal Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101 and Cool Mom Picks is at my hotel: we share a car out to Dad 2.0 and swap working mom war stories.
Saturday 8:15 AM: Still raining. Email from colleague Lindsay who’s dealing with party set-up at Stubbs BBQ with Sam Adams clients. “Mud” and “rain boots from Walmart” are mentioned. Wondering if SxSW community can crowd-source an ark.
Saturday 4 PM: Dad 2.0 panel goes well. Thrilled this conference is supported by high-profile sponsors (including our Tide client.) Strikes me that Dad 2.0 is more than a blogging conference: these guys are deep into a cultural conversation about the state of modern fatherhood, masculinity, and domestic roles. Inspired by everyone I meet and really happy for conference organizers Doug French and John Pacini.
Saturday 4:15 PM: Pile in to car right on time, headed for downtown: me, Guy and more bloggy friends Kristen Chase and Julie Marsh. Fun conversation in car ranging from the future of Google+ (Guy insists it will survive) and what smart phone Guy favors these days (give you a hint: it has a stylus.)
Saturday 5:15 PM: Arrive at Stubbs BBQ: the outdoor areas have been tented, the first band on the bill is sound-checking and the B’Austin Ale is free flowing. Pretty soon the Guy Girl party is in full swing, and we’re happy to see tons of media and industry friends stopping by.
Saturday 10 PM: Back at hotel and in bed. I am old.
Sunday 2 PM: The sun is out! I’m meeting PR pal Kerry for brunch on South Congress, a stretch of road full of funky vintage stores, food trucks and cafes. The weather and SxSW spillover have filled the sidewalks with tons of people, but the mood is chill. Two girls stand in a doorway playing their violins for the crowds. I have a blackened tuna taco here that makes me swoon.
Sunday 5 PM: Kerry drags me to a Google panel at the Convention Center, which turns out to be mind-blowingly great. It showcases the Re:Brief Project, an experiment in which Google reinterpreted iconic ad campaigns from the 60s and 70s using the digital assets and technologies available today. They did so in partnership with the original creative teams and the results were insanely inspiring. The live demo of an updated Coke campaign (“I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” 1971) in particular brought the house down. The Google presentation reminded me we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible with digital engagement.
Sunday 7 PM: Fun dinner at Vspaio hosted by our partners at FLOW Nonfiction, with whom we’ve teamed for three client projects. They specialize in branded documentary filmmaking, helping cause marketers mine for the human stories that bubble up during their campaigns, and convey them cinematically. Joined by my P&G client Sarah, we’ll be speaking with them the next morning on our Branded Documentary panel at the Convention Center.
Sunday 11 PM: Back at the hotel and in bed. Have I mentioned I am old?
Monday 11 AM: Show time: we deliver our Branded Documentary panel to a packed room. The live tweets and Q&A are lively and positive. We have to vacate the room quickly afterwards because Kevin Smith is next up and the line to get into his session is already snaking down the hallway.
Monday 7 PM: Back at the airport, headed for JFK. Every person on my Jet Blue flight looks familiar, cool, important or all three. I spot Bonin Bough from Pepsico, big-deal PR blogger Brian Solis, a trio of pals from Daily Candy and Willem Dafoe (who is surprisingly tiny.)
Tuesday 1 AM: Home. New York is cold, and I am clad in wrinkled SxSW linen. I am exhausted and my back hurts from the flight (have I mentioned I am old?), but thrilled with my 96-hour whirlwind and eager to hit Austin hard next year.