Planning for SxSW
My copy of SxSWorld arrived. And I would like to claim that I prefer accessing this information digitally because of the environmental and other factors, I really like glossy print. I like books and magazines. I like the tactile, emotional experience. It’s probably rooted in my childhood and trips to the Byron Library. But suffice to say, I was flipping through SxSWorld with Smokey Robinson on the cover and I’m excited about this years festival.
Chris Sacca (whatisleft.org) is hosting the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator event. A couple of things. This is a SxSW event that is sponsored by Microsoft. It’s not a Microsoft event. There are 32 startups competing for attention, recognition and prizes. It was a fun event, it’s basically product pitches and commentary from judges. Think DemoCamp with feedback. I’m looking forward to spending 2 days in the Hilton, unfortunately there is not a single Canadian company in the list of thirty two.
There was a huge ad for a Montreal company that I want to adore, Tungle. Tungle solves calendaring at the edge of an organization, i.e., meeting scheduling when not everyone is on Exchange or Notes. It’s the free-busy time when everyone is using a different calendaring system. You can see my schedule at tungle.me/davidcrow. Good on the Tungle marketing team making the investment to go after a market segment that attends SxSW. While I don’t necessarily think this is the segment that they will currently get to profitability on (we’re a bunch of cheap, early adopters), it’s a sign that they are finally pushing forward with a go-to-market plan. And the full page ad in SxSWorld.
Hugh Forrest doesn’t get enough recognition. And unlike in the past when I’ve been sucking up to Hugh, this is just an honest tip of the hat for his great work. The addition of Core Conversations in 2007, and the addition of Future 15 sessions shows the risks that the SxSW organizing committee is willing to take to improve the attendee experience.
“New media technology constantly evolves and re-adapts itself. Similarly, we try to continually evolve and re-adapt the SxSW Interactive Festival programming format. One of the new additions for the 2010 schedule is a series of short talks called Future15. As the title implies, these are 15-minute solo presentations curated from proposals submitted to the PanelPicker. We grouped these Future15 presentations into two-hour blocks of programming related to a single theme. For 2010, Future15 themes range from “connected business” to “government and technology” to “wireless innovation””.
I presented a Core Conversation in 2008 which was one of the most engaging formats at SxSW. I’m looking forward to the addition of the Future15, I’m hoping to see a lot of smaller easier to digest content chunks from people. This coupled with the always engaging keynotes which include: dana boyd, Ev Williams, and talks including Douglas Rushkoff, Jaron Lanier, Marissa Mayer, Josh Koenig.
It’s is great to see the UK Digital Mission bringing 40 UK digital and mobile companies to SxSW. In the same vein, there is a Canadian Blast for the Music Festival supporting Canadian recording acts. I know that Canadian Consulate has hosted events at SxSW. It will be interesting to see if SxSW is the key event for product launches, business development, marketing for a certain segment of digital/mobile companies. It has become the launch pad for music, will it do the same for interactive (specially with CES, MWC, TC50, Demo, OSCon, Web2Expo, and a huge variety of other shows).
There is a large contingent of Canadian companies travelling to Austin for SxSW. I’m looking to meet with any (Canadian) startups that want to talk about product development, marketing, fund raising, and growing their business. I’m also looking forward to talking to others about lean/customer development, fund raising not in the US, global business development and marketing, and everything else. Time to start building a plan, filling up a calendar and trying to meet more great people at SxSW.