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10 Useful Things and Apps to Have at SXSW

Conferences Mobile Tips & Tricks

10 Useful Things and Apps to Have at SXSW

Misspran February 25, 2013

It’s almost time for South by South West again! Starting early March, many press, tech, music, and film industry people will be heading to Austin for  several days of extreme networking. There will be lots of opportunities to fight for press, many great talks and panels to attend, tons of drinking at parties, and there will be networking opportunities everywhere. To help you prepare for SXSW 2013, here is a list of apps you can download, accessories and things you can carry to help you maximize your South By South West experience.

1. Business Cards

business cards


SXSW is where networking on steroids happen. There will be so many people there– lots of industry leaders, lots of press, and just overall lots and lots of people. Don’t be in short supply of business cards. Make sure you have enough to pass around. You don’t want to miss an opportunity and not be able to contact someone later simply because you didn’t have a business card on you.

2. CardMuch

import contacts app cardmunch

CardMuch is a great app for iPhone users for inputting business card information and easily import them into LinkedIn and address book. After all the partying, drinking, and acquiring a billion business cards, you’ll run a risk of losing those cards or having to annoyingly find a place to bring those cards home. To avoid losing the new contacts you’ve just made, get this app so you can easily import the information and store it into your digital networking database . For Android users, try out  CamCard Reader.

3. Uber

apps at sxsw

Transportation will be a pain. Luckily, Uber is trying to fix that with its location based cab service. You won’t have to worry about paying and stumble for cash as it will charge your credit card directly. Uber will be significantly helpful when you’re drunk at SXSW and needs to find a way back to your hotel room.

4. Portable Battery Charger

spare battery sxsw accessories

With all the tweeting and texting, demoing and everything else necessary at SXSW, you’ll want keep all your mobile devices charged. This will for sure be a problem for most people and everyone will be fighting for power outlets, charging cables, and so on. Be prepared and have a spare portable battery charger. They don’t cost very much and will make you feel like a rockstar when everyone else is struggling with their dying devices and that’s not a problem for you. You’ll also look like a hero when you come to rescue someone with a dying phone by offering them power.

5. Lookout

lookout lost app

Losing your phone will be a huge pain at SXSW. Lookout can help. The app keeps an automatic log of your phone’s whereabouts. Lookout’s signal flare feature will also shoot you an email of your phone’s whereabouts before its battery dies. There are also other great security features. It’s a great app to have on your phone whether you’re at SXSW or not.

5. Spare Charging Cables & Adapters

charging cables

Let’s be honest, you’re likely gonna lose yours, so keep a few spare charging cables on hand for your phone, tablet, laptop, and whatever else. Just in case.

6. Evernote

notes, evernote

Evernote is a great note taking app in case there’s information at South By you don’t want to forget. Also consider getting Evernote Hello to help you remember people.

7. Stylus Pen

stylus pen ipad

This goes well with Evernote’s Penultimate App. Sometimes it’s just easier and faster to write things instead of typing things on your phone and iPad. Info immediately transcribed using a stylus pen on your mobile device runs a lower risk of being lost than stuff on a scribbled pen on paper note. Plus you can easily email your digital note version later to anyone if you need to.

8. SXSW Official and Unofficial App

sxsw app

To help you keep tabs of all your SXSW schedule, info, and more, get the official SXSW app as well as the unofficial SXSW app.

9. Spare I.D.

id, drivers license

If you can guess by now, there will be lots of drinking going on at SXSW. The likelihood of losing things also goes up as one consumes more and more alcohol. Losing your I.D. at SXSW will be a headache. It’s a pain in general to lose your I.D. but it might be worse to lose your I.D. at SXSW. Keep a spare I.D. at your hotel room, just in case.

10. Mobile hot spots

mifi mobile hotspot wireless

Might be expensive but possibly worth it to not have to share bandwidth with the thousands of people at SXSW. Consider the no month to month no contract plans for short term use. Try Clear, TruConnect, or get a prepaid mifi at a local carrier.


Be prepared for SXSW and you should have a great time and make a lot of great connections to accelerate your career endeavors.  These apps and accessories should help so you can have a smooth sailing and network like a pro at SXSW 2013!


Vi Tran
Contributing Editor
Lover of all things marketing, tech, and startups related. Currently she's a writer at CircleClick and MobileFOMO. Previously, she worked at ApartmentList.com, Esurance, and 500 Startups.
Follow me on twitter @misspran

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