Richard Donovan's SXSW Diary #1

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 12.23.38 pm.jpgRichard Donovan, creative director at LIDA has been sent to SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas. Donovan is bringing daily updates for Campaign Brief readers, featuring only the very best of the conference.

7 days of FOMO.

Right now, even my dreams are panicked.

The jet-lag is partly to blame. And the cranberry tequilas at last night's pop-up bar certainly didn't help.

But it's really down to all the choice. The overwhelming, panic-inducing volume of choice.

Each hour there are dozens of talks to choose from on anything from film making to blockchain. Some you can stroll into two minutes before they start, some you have to queue for an hour or more just to stand a chance of getting in.
I've already queued and missed Elon Musk, Belinda Gates and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm particularly miffed about not catching Arnie - I hear his "I'll be back" customer strategy is awesome.

Even when you're in, settled in your seat waiting for a talk to begin, it's hard not to have one last check on the SXSW app to see what else is just about to start. And you do this even though you've just spent 30 minutes queueing and checking with three different people that it's the queue for your talk.

But even worse than missing a talk, is realising you've chosen the wrong talk. A slow, creeping feeling of regret. You tell yourself to give it a chance, that the other talk you fancied will be full. You check the SXSW app. This year's app features a status colour coding for each talk this year, green for go, yellow for hurry and red for full, which somehow helps and hurts at the same time.  You tell yourself you can't leave, before a slight pause in the presentation sees you making for the nearest exit without ever looking back.

And then there are those talks that you just decided to give a try, that you agree to with a shrug of the shoulders.  They're normally at the end of a deserted corridor, with only 30 people in the room, where you discover a strategic futurist who proceeds to blow you mind.

SXSW call it unexpected discovery - and it's worth every minute of FOMO.

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