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Each year during the month of March, a significant chunk of Boulder’s geek population embarks on a sacred, dangerous voyage. It’s not quite spring break, and it’s not quite a holy pilgrimage, but it’s become an annual tradition for Boulder’s tech-obsessed citizens to travel to Texas for the South by Southwest: Interactive conference. It’s like the march of the penguins but impossibly more awkward.

The web-focused “Interactive” leg of the larger SXSW experience, which includes separate music and film festivals, attracted more than 19,000 paid attendees in 2011 and offers many things for visiting geeks. You can network, you can learn from panelists at sessions, you can eat obscene quantities of Texas barbecue and you can prattle on and on about what you’re up to via Twitter to friends at home.

SXSW: Interactive also offers many things to people who will not be attending. If you live in Boulder and won’t be trekking to Austin for a week, the world has suddenly become your disgusting oyster. While the cat’s away, the mice will play. More accurately, with so many of Boulder’s nerds out of town, you have an excellent opportunity to usurp them in their absence. Here are a few ways to do so.

Mayor reclamation

If you play Foursquare (the location-based game that pairs your whereabouts with game mechanics like points and titles), you may have noticed certain places in Boulder whose mayorship appears to be locked down. Happily, SXSW is a time of picked locks and brazen theft.

I encourage you to disrupt the mayoral landscape and reclaim sought-after mayorships while so many Boulder geeks are out of town. All you have to do is select a place in town where nerds congregate, and start checking in like a maniac. Digitally carve your name into the nicest seat in the room while you have the chance.

Founder fibs

If you want to score some esteem on the sly, you can tell people that you founded companies that you most certainly did not. Just wear one of their shirts or use the term “game changer” a lot. With no legitimate founder around to discredit you, you’re free to reap the acclaim. I once told people that I invented humility, and I got free pizza for a week.

As for what happens when the real founder returns from Austin, I think you’ll be safe. By that time, the company will have surely pivoted and become something else entirely, so rest easy and enjoy the adulation.


With so many insufferably trendy dolts safely in Austin, you can seize the opportunity to craft a local trend of your own, guiding it to mild acceptance among the few geeks left in Boulder. Upon the return of the majority of the population, your trend will be tacitly absorbed.

Here’s a trend idea to get you started: Start addressing restaurant employees as “Siri.”

While it’s not exactly pleasurable to leave sweet, sweet Boulder, there are times when we must — if only for a week. I will be among the Boulderites in Austin for SXSW: Interactive, if that has not been made clear, and I hope that you’ll take my advice and assume my identity while I’m away. Just be prepared to abdicate the throne upon my return, jerk.

Ef Rodriguez writes about geeky stuff for the Colorado Daily once a week. Send him ASCII roses at