Last year, some of you might remember the hashtag phenomenon I started on twitter #FakeSXSW, where we who could not attend made up fake events going on at the actual SXSW. I never thought I would actually make it to the actual event. A few weeks ago I visited the SXSW (South By South West) conference is an annual conference in Austin, Texas. If you are a tech nerd or a musician, you know as this as the behemoth mecca of all that is good and holy… aka the internet has exploded and god save our Lone Star beer ridden souls. I was blessed with the opportunity by the fabulous red haired wonder that is @EdRabbit to speak on the “How Not To Be A Douchebag” panel on how to efficiently network at SXSW without being “that guy”, we had a packed room and tons of great feedback on the panel. Only a few douchebags but they were atomized immediately after the panel by the mix of self-implosion and Axe deodorant.
One of the best things about SXSW is the interaction, not so much the parties but what happens at these parties that can make a difference. That person you just met may be your new business partner, ideas are created and connections and memories that could never happen online are happening at SXSW every second. There’s a lot of brain power happening at this event, it’s a generator of SXSW for generations to come. This year at the Klout Krib, my business partner @antony511 and the guys from Meet Meme could have been getting stupid slizzered off of all the free Dos Equis, instead we used this to our advantage to raise money for the waitstaff at the Klout Krib who were busting their butts on serving the crowd. Just a dollar in the bowl “for a good cause”, what a great social experiment… so many people gave without even asking what it was for. Later on, Joe from Klout actually threw someone in the pool to raise more money for the bowl. Which I heard they gave the proceeds to Japan, which at that time Brew from Meet Meme and I nearly cried, our random idea at a party at SXSW birthed something good. Next year at SXSW, we’ve got something even more epic planned now to raise money for a cause. It may or may not involve a whole lot of mayhem and possibly midget cowboy strippers. But you didn’t hear that from me.
One of my favorite events at SXSW that I accidentally stumbled upon thanks to the hashtag community #usguys on Twitter was the Startup Crawl, which is a “get in the damn creepy white van and we will drop you off at random startups” kind of deal. You never knew what was coming up next, it could be a random kegger house party or a million dollar starship enterprise of startupdom. It was so refreshing to visit funky and healthy startups, there was such a great sense of company culture and hospitality. A few of my favorite startups to visit on this tour was Smiley Media and Gowalla. As a small business owner myself it was a huge kick of motivation to meet the minds behind these companies and see the results of what a dream, a solid team and a whole lot of perseverance can do. Not to mention Josh from Gowalla’s obsession with Anderson Cooper, this was also refreshing. It’s okay Josh, just as long as I never see the Anderson Cooper’s closet badge on Gowalla. That’s just creepy.
Speaking of community, it was amazing to finally meet the twitter hashtag community known as #usguys… here we are hanging out at Gowalla HQ.
Taking time out from SXSW to do a photoshoot with the talented photographer Ethan J. Moltz
Diplo at the Blackberry Playbook Party at Cedar Door.
Needless to say, I barely survived SXSW… caught the dreaded “SXSWSars” but would I do it again next year? Hell yes. Thanks Austin for reinstating my faith in the interactive community and also my faith in Tacos. I’ll be back.
Here’s a great article and video that Bay News 9 in Tampa did on my adventures to SXSW.