Spontaneous Planning at SXSW

Disrupting the format of SXSW sessions

(Graphic: Jenny Burns)

My name is Cynthia Alice Andrews and I am a Spontaneous Planner.

Some of you may think that saying so is an oxymoron. Some of you may know exactly what I mean when I say that and others may have no idea what I am talking about.

So, what exactly does it mean to be a spontaneous planner? Rather than put it in my words, I took to the interwebz to see how others who identify as such explained it.

I found this quote online and thought it did a great job of defining this contradictory personality type:

“I don’t know if that makes sense. I love to be spontaneous, but then figure out how to make it the best situation possible.” – Jamie (The Red Riot)

In my mind, there are three steps in spontaneous planning:

1. Have an idea
2. Figure out the logistics
3. Make it happen

So, what does this have to do with SXSW?

Yesterday, I had a conversation via Twitter with SXSW attendee Luke Robert Mason and he challenged me to “prove” myself as a spontaneous planner, SXSW style, and spontaneously plan a micro-session on spontaneous planning. As someone who never turns down a challenge, I accepted.

Photo Mar 10, 5 36 10 PM

Spontaneous? Yes. But to pull something like this off, you need to plan it out and that’s where I am now. Make sure you check back.

I immediately got to work and started to figure out how I could make it happen. First, I contacted my editor, told her about my plan and got the OK to work on this idea.

Second, I asked for a bit of help from fellow Flipster @JennyMBurns. Together, she and I hit the pavement and started pitching my talk to bars in the area asking that they give me thirty minutes and a microphone. Unfortunately, there weren’t any takers… But I didn’t give up and decided that I didn’t need a mic (I AM LOUD) and I didn’t really need permission, I could just go to a location, set up stand on a chair and start talking.

Third, I need to write, so we headed to Little Woodrow’s, got to work and outlined what my talk would look like.


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