Two cars and two planes later, my husband Dave and I made it to our very first South by Southwest Interactive conference. Splurging for business class upgrades was the smartest travel idea we had, even if for the first part of the trip (Philly to Atlanta) we couldn’t sit next to each other. I’m a coach kind of gal – coach with a lowercase ‘c’ /airfare/ not an uppercase ‘C’ /handbag/ – so it was quite a treat! The Atlanta to San Antonio leg of the trip we got a chance to talk about what it was we were heading out to do, see, meet, and learn at SxSW. Needless to say we are insanely busy at home and work and rarely get three solid hours without phone or email disruptions.

After getting to our room, I would have been more than happy to just call it a night at 8pm and get some sleep. Apparently sleep is something you do after South By, not during! A text from my friend Ewan Spence got me out for what I thought was going to be a chit-chat and a beer (thanks Ewan, I owe you). Turns out *everyplace* in Austin is swarming with people and you have to be on your game all the time. I had no makeup on and my hair was flat (Jersey gals know what a faux pas that is…) It didn’t dawn on me there would be 400 other people at the bar! Not to mention we still don’t have a great way to describe our company’s latest software platform without sounding like a sales pitch. Gotta work on that some more, that’s not the image I want to be projecting.

Ewan managed to get us out to Ginger Man where I stood in my first line. One of my fears going to conferences is that I won’t know anyone. I know I meet people along the way but it’s hard to break out of my shell at first without a friendly face or two. Ewan always helps me out! Turns out I did know a handfull of people, and recognized a few others. I feel bad breaking into conversations to say hello (especially since I looked like hell & with my hair all cut off not everyone who knows me even recognizes me at first). I know that with as many people as there are down here I have to grab the opportunity when I can because I may not see them again. It’s not name dropping I promise, just my was of capturing what I’m doing and my first experiences at / of South By Southwest. People in my fishbowl are going to be different than everyone else’s, but in the end an average person in the grocery store won’t know any of us!

What I’ve decided to do is blog every day and document what I’m doing and who I chat with or ‘see.’ Not quite live-blogging, but I am keeping a running journal along the way, so I may as well post it! Links will be hard to come by since I am writing on an iPad with a WordPress app and functionality is limited. Going an entire week without a computer and only an iPad & iPhone should be interesting! At least I have my own mobile WiFi hotspot! Forgive me in advance for typos or spelling bloopers.

Ginger Man, Lavaca & 4th, Austin TX

Chatted with:
Chris Heuer – Co-founder of Social Media Club
Ewan Spence –
Dave Peck
Dan Patterson

Spotted but didn’t chat with :
Brian Solis
Tim O’Reily
Laura Fitton
Aaron Strout (I think!)

Thoughts :
I’m hesistant to talk about myself or company much, but luckily a lot of people at the bar were willing to fill the gaps and talk about the latest app / funding / closed beta they are involved with, which means I get to hear about a lot of interesting projects. As a seasoned entrepeuner I did feel out of place. We have software and paying clients, and want more of both.

So far no sloppy drunks, but we did find one sleeping in the hall on our floor in the hotel. (Oy.) I can see it will be difficult to find the balance between being out and social and not attending all the big crazy parties. If we aren’t at the big parties how will we meet people to go do more quiet thing with? My friend C.C. Chapman has the right idea about being a bit more low-key, but I also heard from others last night that you can wind up being too ‘out of the loop’ and miss out on a lot.

My two must attend parties are the Silicon Valley Bank Mixer and the Wiley Book Party. Everything else has to be flexible, or I will go nuts!

‘@’ me on Twitter LynetteRadio if you want to connect or see if I’m someplace you are.

Oh… Want to know if Robert Scoble is around? Check out the hottest new web app at SxSW! Is Scoble In This Room?

Until I can grab the right widget… Here is the link to some pictures