GDC and SXSW SURVIVAL GUIDE

GDC & SXSW bring developers and industry together in one (two?…) places and provide some of the best promotion, networking, and business development opportunities of the year. Did we mention parties? Oh, so many parties…
Make sure YOUR games play ahead of the pack and stand out by following these simple 10 tips to keeping up during one of the industry’s busiest weeks of the year.
 
1: Plan your day!
Check conference tracks and make sure you know where you need to be and when. Highlight your “must sees” and make sure you give yourself adequate time to make it to your venue and hold a spot for yourself. There is nothing worse than not getting a seat, especially if you’ve been waiting in an hour-long line. Not sure if your highlighted tracks are popular? Ask around your network (FB, Twitter) in advance and get the skinny on what tracks and events will be the most popular this year.
2: Dress comfortably (but not TOO comfortably…)
You’ll be on your feet all day, but you’ll also be making connections with some potentially career-making/breaking people (sometimes by complete happenstance). Put your best foot forward, stand out from the crowd, and make sure, when someone meets you, they know they can take you seriously. You want them to know that you’re a person worth partnering with and that you will respect the business development process. Don’t forget to wear comfortable business-casual shoes, bring your business cards, and have all pertinent materials (press kits, portfolio, etc.) on hand. No shame in a solid backpack or bag to stay organized.
 
3. Get names. Write them down.
You know that old memory trick- once you are given a business card, jot a quick note about the conversation you had with that person or something that stands out about your meeting on the back of the card. Consider bringing a notepad and having a single space where you collect all contact information for the week. You will forget details by the end of the week, so be organized and keep your contact info in a central location!
4. Don’t forget to Follow Up
Don’t let more than a week go by after making a contact without sending an email. Nothing says, “I respect you, your time, and moving forward working together” better than a solid follow up. Remind them who you are, where you met, the discussion you had at the conference. Don’t be shy – also remind them of how a relationship with you will benefit them, what you can do for them, and offer a time to follow up further in person or over the phone.
 
5. Identification
You may find yourself visiting another city this week. Traffic, transportation, getting into 21+ events, and collecting your credentials/registration is going to be a thing. Have your identification ready to go from the moment you hit the airport to the moment you go grab your badge. Don’t hold the team up; have your ID ready to go.
6. KEEP CHARGED and STAY CONNECTED
Don’t forget to keep your devices (phones, computers) charged, and get them charged when you have a moment. Bring a small external battery pack, if necessary. This will help you stay in the loop and not miss out on important emails, staying social, and inevitable changes to time and location of conference events.
 
7. Get noticed online!
What are your social media handles, promotional hashtags, and other digital assets that you need promoted? Connect with new friends fast by following each other on social (bring that 3DS for StreetPass connections, too!) and take some solid photos and footage of the events. Post what you can and look for event hashtags to tag/mention! This will help bring attention to your company, game, or project. Grab one of these FREE Zymge Social Media Stickers! Be part of the global conversation WHILE it is happening, and capture the attention of onlookers with your visuals.
8. Don’t over do it. (How much fun is too much?)
Remember to sleep, eat, and recharge your own batteries. Common sense, right? Nope! And we’ve all been there. Be cautious and safe where alcohol consumption is concerned. Make sure you leave enough energy in the tank to survive the entire week. After the least day, you still need to load out, make it home, and complete your follow-ups quickly. Survive by getting a solid breakfast in, bring a light snack, and don’t party too hard. That being said, some of your best networking will happen in the after hours, and nobody wants to partner or work with a total stiff. So get in there, tiger!
9. Have your promotional materials handy
Keep your promotional kit compact and easy to hand out as you go. Don’t over do it! People don’t want to carry a crate of your materials around with them. Give them all the best information and contacts, links or information to get more info. Travel light and help your fellow conference attendees do the same thing.
10. Austin Gaming, represent!
Represent the Austin Game Dev community well. We have the best talent in the world, and we want companies, publishers, and distributors to know that Austin is where best-in-class game development is happening. When one of us wins, it’s a victory for the ENTIRE game development community.