Why I’m not in Austin for the big event: 

1) Flocks – Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I’m the last person to jump on a ship just because others have. I’d rather take my chances with the sharks. Ok, maybe that’s a bad example, but I’m definitely not someone who gravitates to groups of people. I’m perfectly comfortable wandering around on the outside of the fence. Call it a wolf complex, whatever, but it’s who I am and I’m cool with it. 

2) Validation – If we routinely engage in dialogue in social media, I’m obviously enamored with you. But this doesn’t mean that we ever have to meet in person to validate our friendship. Maybe not ever. People who I like, get that. (note: I AM planning a trip to NYC this summer to see a bunch of my friends from here, there. DM me so we can hang.) 

3) Coffee – I don’t drink alcohol. This pretty much means that I would be the only person holding a styrofoam cup filled with the black stuff at every event. And so I’d never get any sleep. And that would suck. 

4) Pillows – Speaking of sleep, I use an orthopedic pillow. Don’t laugh, it’s good for alignment. Most hotel beds don’t come standard with pillows designed for my 7 and 5/8 head. And I’m damn sure not packing a pillow in my suitcase.  

5) Church – As mentioned above, I’m not a congregation guy. I don’t like church because I don’t like to be preached to. So why would I want to sit in an audience and listen to someone talk? If something important comes out of sxsw, I’ll hear about it without having to attend.

6) Intimacy – Thanks to my service in the US Air Force, and a lot of metal shows as a young man, I am nearly deaf in my right ear. When I go to places with a bunch of people talking, I can’t hear shit. I prefer my conversations with just a few people over coffee or a lunch. Sometimes dinner. 

7) Texas – When I left Texas at the age of 18, my name wasn’t Jim Mitchem, it was Holden Fucking Caulfield and Texas had had its share of me – for a lifetime. 

8) Hand Sanitizer – There are way too many egos converging at this conference for my comfort. I don’t follow these people in social media, why would I want to listen to them talk for an hour? 

9) Confidence – I don’t need to be seen at a place or with certain people to have it. You go head on and post that twitpic of you and the loud wine guy or the unmarketing guy hugging. I’m sure that this will add to your uncredibility as an unguru. 

10)  Comfort Zone – I used to travel. A lot. Then I discovered home – and home is very comfortable. Whenever I travel today, I invariably wish I could bring my wife. Nothing is real without her. Not even that awesome talk you’re about to attend. 

If you’re in Austin for sxsw or sxswi or whatever it’s called, I’m sure you’ll have a blast. But unless you tell me you get to make out with Natalie Portman, I won’t be jealous of anything you do. 



This photo was taken outside an Austin bar during SXSWi 2010 (credit unknown)


Jim Mitchem grrrrr


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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.