If you’ve been following my posts on this blog, you may already know this about me: I love, love, love SXSW Interactive. But do you know what Interactive means? Do you know why I think it’s so grand? Let’s take a closer look at what’s behind all the annoyingly bright orange lanyards, outrageously long lines, conference hashtags crowding your Twitter stream, more swag than you could possibly ever use, and a conference that turns major highways into parking lots. Despite how “glamorous” I just made SXSWi sound, it’s actually quite incredible and here’s why.
Hands down, the main reason I enjoy going to these tech events is because of the community they bring. Bringing together the most intelligent, proactive, disruptive-thinking people so they can all interact is electric. It’s kind of like TED – SXSWi has an “Idea Worth Spreading” (pun intended). SXSWi shares similar TED qualities but with lots of wide-eyed entrepreneurs, gaggles of freshly venture-backed startup teams, a sea of highly judgmental venture capitalists and, of course, me!
Here’s a little secret: experiences like this actually happen all the time in Austin. SXSWi just attracts people from around the country to our playground for a week. Talk about intense! I love to brag that I have the opportunity to live in this up-and-coming tech hub. Although now our secret is out and Austin really isn’t “up-and-coming” anymore. It has arrived with fascinating momentum!
This would not have happened without organizations putting in the elbow grease to make this work. It is absolutely necessary to give credit to networking groups like Door64, Tech Ranch, Austin Women In Technology , ATC, We Are Austin Tech and, of course, Austin Ventures. All of these organizations recognize the great potential of getting the geeks (and geekettes!) of Austin in collaboration.
Armed with a Redbull, I stopped by the We Are Austin Tech booth at the SXSW Startup Crawl in the gorgeous downtown Omni Hotel for the Interactive kickoff. It was great to meet up with director/producer, Ruben Cantu of We are Austin Tech at their booth.
Let’s keep in mind that it’s all of our responsibility to grow the community. I’ll speak for Austin when I say we certainly have a fun time doing it!