Over the last few years, the once niche SXSW has exploded in popularity. Tech companies from all over the world show up and spend millions of marketing dollars to launch new products, obtain new users, and be the next viral trend. They go to incredible extremes to stand out, draw a crowd, or create a buzz.
This year was my first year at SXSW, and despite all of the parties, secret events, concerts, and celebrity appearances, one thing was obviously the most popular of the entire conference.
The most popular thing at SXSW was the power outlets.
Walking through the event center at any given time of day, people lined the walls hunched over their phones wherever an outlet was available. Hoards of people constantly surrounded charging stations waiting sometimes for over an hour to charge their mobile devices.
A smartphone is a SXSW attendee’s greatest tool. A SXSW attendee without a charged smartphone is like a cowboy without a horse. They’re just not going anywhere fast.
It doesn’t matter if they’re standing next to Lady Gaga, watching Bill Cosby perform a set, or at a party with free booze surrounded by scantily-clad booth babes, people have their noses buried in their phones.
Take away a nerd’s ability to call, tweet, text, check in, Instagram, Shapchat, GroupMe, Yelp, or swipe right, and you have a very lonely, very lost, and very helpless nerd.
When you see the early adopters living the most exciting moments of their lives through their mobile devices, you get a hint as to how important mobile is for the future of marketing, and business.
If you don’t have a place on someone’s smartphone screen, you don’t exist.
And if you want a good gimmick for next year’s SXSW… come prepared with a wall of power outlets. You’ll never lack for a line. You’re welcome.