HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes Explains How to Optimize Your Networking at SXSW

One of the most valuable components of any tech is the networking. Some people loathe it but those who take advantage often reap great rewards in their career.

HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes penned a blog post in the Wall Street Journal this week to cover this very topic, specifically networking at SXSW, which kicked off today. Holmes knows a thing or two about making an impact at the event: in 2012 his company drove around a Ford E-450 completely transformed into an owl after their mascot. It was so successful that the HootBus is returning this year for the third time.


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Here’s what Holmes says you should do at SXSW if you want to mingle effectively.

“Stop racing from one party to the next. (By the time you hear about it on Twitter, it’s already too late.) Stop pushing through crowds to meet the big fish. (They don’t need another business card, anyway.) Instead, take a deep breath, relax and let the action and the contacts come to you,” he writes. “The reality is that SXSW is packed with brilliant entrepreneurs, investors and partners. They’re everywhere, zipping back and forth like thousands of atoms. Your chances of colliding with one actually improve just by standing still.”

“The best encounters usually happen spontaneously—at a backyard barbecue, in a dimly lit pool hall, at some random house party over a six-pack of PBR and pizza,” he continues. And the benefit of that? “Conversations tend to be more authentic, subject matter more interesting and connections more lasting.”