Wow! Just a few of my friends, some old and some new, came into town this past week for SXSW Interactive. Though a mere 30,621 of them, almost 25% more than last year, convened in Austin, the event seemed extremely organized. In the many event venues staged on various floors of the Hilton Hotel and at the convention center, absolute chaos could have ensued, but instead all was amazingly calm and well-orchestrated. The exhibited areas of interest from start-ups to innovation were even better than before.
Sharing information, networking among colleagues and enjoying a true sense of camaraderie were a few invaluable take aways and at the forefront of every interaction I had from fellow Austinites to the out-of-towners from places as far away as Dubai and Ireland. In fact, some of the overseas visitors even had their own pitchfest rooms.
My primary responsibilities at the event this year were two-fold: videotaping entrepreneurs in the ecosystem willing to share their perspectives and moderating the Longhorn Startup Camp student business pitch, which was awesome. I found everyone very generous, no pre-rehearsed PR speeches here, just a genuine exchange of knowledge. My thanks go to more people than I can possibly list here, but include Balaji Gopinath, Founder of MediaCamp, Scott Case of Start-Up America and Dan Dodge of Google.
My take aways from this year’s SXSWi are numerous. I am so appreciative to all those who worked tirelessly to make this event possible, particularly Chris Valentine, producer of Interactive, and his crew. Without them, this year’s event would not have experienced such phenomenal success.
Oh, and for those of you that missed being here with me and all 30,621 of my friends, it was once again perfect, sunny 70-degree Texas weather. Don’t fret, though, there’s always next year.