The five buzzwords needed to fit in at SXSW Interactive

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Down the street from the University of Texas dorm room where Dell got its start, founder Michael Dell moderates SXSWInteractive's "Beginnings: A Panel About Entrepreneurism" on Friday, March 7, 2014., in Austin, Texas. (Jack Plunkett/AP Images for Dell, Inc.)
Down the street from the University of Texas dorm room where Dell got its start, founder Michael Dell moderates SXSWInteractive's "Beginnings: A Panel About Entrepreneurism" on Friday, March 7, 2014., in Austin, Texas. (Jack Plunkett/AP Images for Dell, Inc.)

If you think you can just fit in at SXSW Interactive, you are wrong. Unless you normally only wear plain clothing with things like “Wordpress” or “Google” written across them, clear framed glasses and leather boots, you will stand out like a hipster in a Microsoft store. 

Really the only thing you can do to prepare yourself for the SXSW Interactive experience is practice your buzzwords. This way you can at least communicate with everyone else around you in the Austin Convention Center. 

This is a list of the five words you need to know before leaving your apartment to go mingle with the #TechNerds downtown.

1. Disrupt, verb: interrupt by causing a disturbance or problem
SXSWi definition: new technology that unexpectedly displaces an already established technology
Sentence: “Man, online video is one disruptive technology that really changed the whole television game, bro, man.”

If you don’t know this one, go home. Really, go home. It is apparently the most important word in the TechBro language. If we’re lucky, one of the dudes with spiky hair trying to find a cute little TechBabe to settle down with will invent the next form of disruptive technology soon. Personally, I hope it has something to do with pants that can produce identification cards when you lose yours downtown during SXSW.
SXSWi panel: Disruption of TV and the Future of “Online” Video

2. Wearable, adjective: able to be worn
SXSWi definition: some piece of technology that can be worn as clothing
Sentence: “This wearable is great for making calls but totally makes my wrist look fat.”

The Google Glassholes are only the beginning. From what I’ve heard walking around the Convention Center, there are big things coming the world of technological things you can wear on your actual body. Even Mindy Kaling is in on it — she talked about owning a calorie counter that can be worn on your bra. 
SXSWi panel: Wearable Devices: The Future of Healthcare?

3. Platform, noun: a raised surface on which things or people can stand
SXSWi definition: some public service through which you can spread your personal brand
Sentence: “I used to love Facebook, but now Twitter is definitely my favorite platform.”

If you haven’t heard of platforms by now, you’re doing it wrong. How are you even ON the Internet at all? You probably don’t even have a ***Brand*** (see below).
SXSWi panel: Platforms vs. Publishers: A Big New Theory

4. Brand, noun: a product made by a certain company under a certain name
SXSWi definition: a person or company’s personality, essentially, presented in a marketable way
Sentence: “I don’t know, I just don’t think eating seven Cronuts in a row fits my Brand.”

If I’ve learned anything in three days of SXSW panels, it’s that you are nothing without your Brand. I’m in the process of figuring mine out, so you could say my Brand is “just trying to figure out my Brand.”
SXSWi panel: Life’s a Breach, Don’t Burn Your Brand

5. Startup, verb: the process of setting something in motion
SXSWi definition: a small, decently innovative company made up of mostly 20-somethings who don’t need real jobs
Sentence: “I was in a pretty good startup at last year’s SXSW, but we kind of ended a few weeks after the festival.”

In a few years, SXSW might start requiring all attendees to be a part of some kind of startup. That might actually be a requirement now and I’m just missing out. There hasn’t been a single day I haven’t heard someone mention their startup. The strange thing is, none of them seem to exist anymore. Hmm.
SXSWi panel: Startup Grind What Makes Austin a Startup Hub