I ask Joey for a new post and this is what she gives me: a recycled, off-topic article that was previously published in Adobo, an ironic magazine about advertising and uninteresting people who make ads which, I suppose, is read by uninteresting people who make ads. Because who else will want to read a magazine about ads? That’s why Fully Articulated remains ad-free despite the fact that Joey was able to afford me because of advertising. #sorrynotsorry

Joey insists this article will be useful for nerds who are planning to go to SXSW in 2016 – that could be you! Or me. Aren’t we all nerds here?

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Over Austin in Texas, a biplane flew a banner announcing the presence of top Internet star, Grumpy Cat. St. Bernards came to the rescue of dying mobile phones, carrying power chargers in barrels around their necks. Keynote speakers talked about emerging technologies to the audience IRL and online through Meerkat and Snapchat. Big brands surreptitiously found their way into the festivities, much to the dismay of startups. This year, South by Southwest (SXSW), the ten-day convention on film, interactive and music, was crazier and more epic than ever.

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Even the citizens of Austin are still perplexed by the growing number of people pouring into their city every March. In 2015, over 30,000 attendees came from all over the world to listen to 2,300 interactive speakers in 800 sessions held in 13 different hotels. On the fringe, there are trade shows, meet-ups, demos, job fairs, expos, exhibits and parties. That does not even include the 2,200 bands and the fans that arrived en masse for SXSW Music and upheld the motto: keep Austin weird.

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TBWA\Digital Arts Network Manila sent three delegates to SXSW Interactive, the largest of digital conferences, and I was lucky to be one of them. I would like to think I’m a veteran of advertising festivals, but nothing prepared me for the massiveness of what natives (of digital or Texas) call Southby. It was nothing like Cannes. It was the physical manifestation of Internet Culture; it was mind-blowing. And in the spirit of the open internet, I would like to share what we learned and help you survive SXSW 2016.

1. Book a hotel room six months in advance.
The SXSW Housing Department offers the best hotel deals which are snapped up as early as August. Airbnb is a good alternative but book too late and you’ll end up paying a thousand dollars for a tiny room in someone’s apartment.

“SXSWOur first-ever Airbnb hostesses are the coolest. It still amazes me how people can open up their homes to complete strangers from across the world.

2. Pack your most comfortable shoes and walk.
There is no lack of public transport in Austin, but when the SXSW Shuttles, MetroBus, Uber, Lyft and hipsters driving pedicabs are held back by closed streets and geeks milling about, you can always trust your feet to take you places.

“SXSWYou can travel like you’re the Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

“SXSWOr board the free shuttle.

“SXSWThe train took us from quiet to chaos every day.

3. Plan your day.
The SXSW GO official mobile app will help you review the schedule and find the sessions that interest you. If you’re short on time or energy, make sure the venues are within walking distance. Here’s a hint: the most in-demand sessions are held in Austin Convention Center.

“SXSWMy favorite speaker was Brian Grazer, the Academy Award-winning producer of my favorite TV series, 24. He talked about pursuing people he found interesting to have ‘curiosity conversations’ with them, and how this persistence would eventually lead him to where he is today. I would later have a very brief ‘curiosity conversation’ with him inside an elevator in Cannes.

4. Break the plan.
Remember that SXSW is not just about sitting in a room listening to a speaker. If the panel is starting to bore you, get up and leave. You can discover as much in the trade shows, expos, meet-ups or just walking around. I bumped into a giant squirrel inside the restroom; I hoped it was a girl.

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5. Do not underestimate the power of the power pack.
Nothing drains mobile phone battery like SXSW. You will be using your smartphone to keep track of the events, take photos or videos, share real-time, navigate Austin, even get a ride home. Make sure you have extra power-to-go.

SXSW 2015 Report

“SXSWIf all else fails, text for help and these rescue St. Bernards will come to rescue your dying mobile phones. Instead of whiskey, their barrels contain Mophie juice packs.

6. Connect.
With makers who can 3D print your ideas. Startups who are thinking up the next Google. Or the Google Chairman himself. SXSW is the best place to rub elbows and exchange ideas with the brightest minds over coffee, in the shuttle or at the open bar. Keep those business cards with you at all times.

“SXSWI relived my childhood dreams at the NASA expo and attended all the sessions about their upcoming mission to Mars.

Uno's got new hairSpazz!

7. Party moderately.
Several parties will be thrown each night. There will be bands playing everywhere. Free booze will be overflowing. SXSW is a marathon; pace yourself and stay hydrated or you won’t last the week.

“SXSWAbsolutely the best live performance I’ve seen ever – with giant balloons, psychedelic mushrooms and of course, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

8. Share your meals.
One serving of Texas BBQ will feed an average Filipino family – so sharing meals among fellow (Filipino) delegates is smarter and healthier.

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“SXSWFood trucks and hipsters abound!

SXSW 2015 ReportFor freeloaders like RJ and Marish, Ronald gave free meals and selfies.

9. Share/meerkat/snapchat/tweet what you learn.
Do not hoard the information. Be kind. In today’s digital world, power and influence is in the hands of those who share knowledge.

SXSW 2015 Report

“SXSWWhile Ryan Gosling wanders the SXSW halls unnoticed, the lines to Grumpy Cat and her Celebricat Squad span three blocks.

10. Stay human.
Use jargons sparingly. Fail often; fail fast. Dive into data and come up with a life-changing insight. Technology will change, but human values will stay the same.

SXSW 2015 ReportThe Robot Petting Zoo was launched this year with inventors showcasing their drones and droids like DAR-1, an autonomous social robot of the hexapod genus.

“SXSWHere I am trying out the Oculus Rift at the Gaming Expo. I got dizzy.

Top 3 Interactive Breakouts
1. Meerkat
2. AeroMobil
3. Makers (aka nerds who build things inside hackspaces)

Top 3 Scene Stealers
1. Grumpy Cat
2. Mophie St. Bernards
3. Jimmy Kimmel

Top 3 Food Trucks
1. Chilantro
2. East Side Kings (by Filipino Chef Paul Qui)
3. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Tips and pics from SXSW not-so-virgins:
Joey David Tiempo @Mistula
RJ Paculan @paculs20
Marishka David @maharanirish

This article was originally published in Adobo Magazine May-June 2015 Issue.