It’s Over – SXSW Interactive Day 5
Mar 15 2011

Today was the last day and apparently this was the highest attended SXSW Interactive ever with 19,364 attendees up from 14,251 last year.  I made it for Reid Hoffman‘s keynote.  Reid is the founder of LinkedIn.  He had a lot to say and I wish he a few slides for us to look at because it was hard to keep up, but here are my notes.  I missed the first two “rules for entrepreneurs,” but here they are:

1. Zoned out, was checking email or twitter. UPDATE from Jeffrey in comments below: Pay attention to your customers.

2. Zoned out, was checking email or twitter. UPDATE from Jeffrey in comments below: Stay focused.

3. Aim big. It’s the same effort to do a small businesses as it is a big business so it’s better to try to change the world.

4. Plan for good luck.

5. Maintain flexible persistence.

6. Launch early enough that you are embarrassed by your 1.0 product release.

7. Always keep your aspirations and aim high but dont drink your own kool-aid.

8. Having great product important but good distribution more important.

9. Pay attention to the culture and how you hire from the beginning.

10. These rules are not laws of nature. You can break them.

Then I headed to the Austin Technology Incubator’s Entrepreneur’s Lounge for some networking and then to the Game Salad (an ATI company that is doing very well) party, which I left a bit early from.  I’m too old for loud music and late nights.  And so concludes another SXSW Interactive, but wait, I still have one more post to do about SWAG that I’ll hopefully have time to write later.

Good bye tens of thousands of out of town visitors.  We love having you here each year, but we don’t want you to all move here and clog up our roads anymore than they are! :-)

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Going With The Flow – SXSW Interactive Days 3 and 4
Mar 14 2011

Following up on my Day 1 and 2 post on SXSW Interactive, I continued days 3 and 4 following my zen-like strategy.  On Day 3 (Sunday), I went to the Girl + Guy party hosted by Guy Kawasaki (well known in the tech start-up world and a big supporter of women entrepreneurs) and companies like Culture Map.  Last year, I got a picture with Guy at the party they hosted at Allen Boots which I think was why I was wearing a pink cowboy hat.  Afterwards, I went to eat Indian food with some new friends that I met at the party and one of them emailed me the picture of her friend wearing the t-shirt that I put in this post because it’s pretty funny.

Today, I caught a panel led by my friend Thom Singer called You Can Impact Charity Without Being Rich.  Eugene Sepulveda (also a friend), who runs the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Central Texas (where our company’s at ATI donate a portion of their equity) was on the panel.  I caught most of the keynote with Felica Day, a former World of Warcraft gamer who created an online TV series called The Guild, and although I had no idea who she was before I walked into the room, I was impressed with her youth and energy.

I walked the Trade Show (a whole separate blog post to come about that experience) before going to a panel run by another friend, Enrique Ortiz, on mobile development and applications.  He had the founder of Rovio Mobile, which makes Angry Birds on the panel.  My kids love playing Angry Birds so I asked him if he had a couple of those stuffed animals he could give away.  He didn’t have the big ones, but he gave me two small ones.  He was also giving away t-shirts that said “Chillin’ Like A Villian” with a St. Patrick’s Day theme.  My kids thought I was awesome for a few short moments.  He said they have surpassed $100 million in revenue, Angry Birds was the 52nd game they made, and it had 1.2 billion hours of played time last year.  Amazing!

Then it was off to the ATI co-hosted Entrepreneur’s Lounge to network with a bunch of folks and I got a Fandor (facebook fan page) video/flip book done with one of my co-workers that is supposed to be uploaded to their facebook fan page sometime tomorrow.  Then a few of us headed over to the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)/NEA party which was pretty rockin’.  The CEO of Groupon was there playing the keyboards for one song that apparently had to do with some lost bet.  I’m not sure who the singer was, but it wasn’t his best voice night.

Overall, this year’s SXSW has been pretty low-key for me.  I think I tweeted (@aruni) more these past few days than I have all of last year.  I’ve been home by 10:30 pm each night despite the lure to stay at the parties longer and go to yet another party afterward.

One more day to go…

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SXSW Interactive – 2011
Mar 11 2011

It’s that time of year again.  The time in Austin, Texas where South by Southwest and Spring Break combine.  Thousands of people descend on Austin for SXSW Interactive, Film, & Music.  I think the attendees for Interactive surpassed that for music last year.

I’m approaching the experience in a more zen like fashion this year and seeing where the tides pull me.  I know I’ll be at the Entrepreneur’s Lounge, co-hosted by The Austin Technology Incubator (where I work) a few times this week and a few other events including Ignite Austin this evening thanks to the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Central Texas.  I plan to attend some panels and meet up with people I haven’t seen since last year.

Some of you may remember that I coordinated a panel a couple of years ago called Building A Web Business After Hours.  My advice is don’t do it unless you have a clear path to get out of your day job, don’t have young kids, and aren’t going through personal turmoil.  So this year I’m going to float and see what happens.  I haven’t even uploaded my picture online for my badge so I’ll get an on site picture if I can find parking this afternoon.

Thankfully, the weather is gorgeous with high’s in the upper 70’s predicted for most of the week.  I hope to see some of you (my readers) during my floating around…

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SXSW Interactive Days 2 and 3
Mar 14 2010

Although I didn’t get in too late last night, I figured I’d wait until today and do a post about both days.  For those who know me, I’m usually all about ‘the plan.’  I like to have a plan, know the plan, and resonate with the plan.  Not having a plan heightens my anxiety level above its usual anxious state.  But for SXSW Interactive, I had no real plan other than to show up and see what happens and that’s what I’ve been doing.  To every rule there is an exception and that exception was attending Austin Technology Incubator‘s Entrepreneurial Lounge the last three evenings.  And quite honestly, that event has evolved into the ‘place to be’ for entrepreneurs at SXSW Interactive!  Bart Bohn did a post about the Entrepreneurs Lounge for the ATI blog at  Entrepreneur’s Lounge at SXSW Interactive – March 13, 2010.

I attended a Porter-Novelli (PR firm) event, crashed a Women in Tech Digitini event at the top of the tallest building in Austin, and attended a couple of parties but didn’t stay too late.  I hung out at the blogger’s lounge sponsored by Microsoft with the irony being that 80% of the people in there had iPhones.  At the blogger’s lounge there was a woman giving out free jewelry and she gave me a nice turquoise bracelet from Charming Charlie (there’s a location in Austin’s Domain) that matched the shirt I was wearing.  I’m just not a late night bar hopper kind of person.  Now if there was dancing involved, I’d be more interested.  One party sponsored by Microsoft/TechSet had two women dancing in what looked like black/red lingerie near a guy who was playing the guitar.  Just goes to show you how male dominated the tech industry still is.

Today, I went into a SXSW Film panel where Jeffrey Tambor was giving an acting class.  He and two amateur actors were on stage with him.  He was coaching them through a scene where this man and woman were broken up but the man wanted her to pretend they were still together while they had dinner with his brother.  She refused and he was supposed to try to get her to do it.  It was a marked difference between how they first did the scene and how he pulled out the emotion in them to show the scene in a different more touching way.  The actress, in my opinion, was much better than the actor.  The actor wasn’t convincing when he tried to get her to pretend to stay together.  It was like he was trying to get her to do something more out of fear rather than love and because of that the actress reacted accordingly.  He was so non-believable, no woman would have been convinced by him.  It’s obvious he didn’t feel it.  Jeffrey tried to get him to be more playful to pull out the residual love the actress still felt.  It was a fascinating workshop because I could see how you could apply his same techniques to people management/coaching.

The weather has been gorgeous here.  California weather.  Tonight was especially nice.  I thought briefly about staying out longer but as I was walking back to my car from the convention center, I breathed deep and was glad I was going home to see my kids, do some laundry, have some quiet time to finish writing this post, maybe watch Grey’s Anatomy, and then go to bed.

Only two more days left…

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SXSW Interactive Day 1
Mar 12 2010

Another early night.  Maybe I’m just getting too old for these conferences or maybe I’m just wearing the wrong shoes.  Tomorrow, I’m wearing Skechers and will just have to not plan on going dancing anywhere!  Today was a pretty good day.  I had some meetings in the morning and then went back to the Austin Convention Center.  I went straight to the blogger’s lounge and saw some people I hadn’t seen since last year.  I thought about listing their names, but I’m too tired or is that lazy to list their names and link to them.  Needless to say, the hugs and hellos were nice.  I didn’t see any panels that were that interesting to me so I spent most of my time catching up with people and networking.

I always find it interesting going to SXSW because you see all sorts of people.  The world I live and work in, everyone is pretty prim and proper with conservative clothing.  At SXSW you see tattoos, piercings, and unusual clothing.  It’s a fascinating reminder of the world outside of business and high tech…everyone is living their own lives according to their different standards and we all live on the same planet and all attend the same conference for different reasons.

Walking around the convention center, I also ran into several Austin people I know but haven’t seen for a while.  The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) co-hosted Entrepreneur’s Lounge at the roof top of Fogo de Chao and as I mentioned on my Day 0 post, the caipirinha’s, cheese bread (probably had about 6 of them) and meat were great.  The networking was awesome although I didn’t recognize about 80% of the people there.

After that we headed to a Microsoft event at Speakeasy and it was crowded.  I couldn’t find the guy I was trying to find, but I did run into a guy from Dell who I was trying to get to come speak at one of our Lunch & Learn’s at ATI so that was good.  Then I felt like it was just too crowded and my feet hurt so I figured I’d call it a day and come on home.

I was invited to two parties tomorrow evening so it may be a later night and if so, I probably won’t blog about Day 2 until Day 3. :-)

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SXSW Interactive Day 0
Mar 11 2010

This evening I went down to the Austin Convention Center to pick up my badge for South by Southwest Interactive and check out the Big Ass Twitter Happy Hour at Frank Hot Dogs and Cold Beer.    I got the Chicago dog and a cranberry vodka because I don’t drink beer.  The hot dog was pretty good but the drink tasted well nothing like cranberry or vodka.  I got there kind of late and realized that since I’ve been so out of the social media scene this past year and rarely tweeted, that I really didn’t know a whole lot of the new twitter crowd.  There were a few of us early adopters there, and I caught up with them before getting my badge. I thought briefly about going to the Austin High Tech Happy Hour but by the time I drove by where it was, the crowd had thinned so I drove on by and came back home.  It was an early night.

SXSW interactive doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, but they opened registration up tonight and it’s a good thing because the line was already quite long.  So it was an uneventful Day 0.  Tomorrow should be more interesting since I have some business meetings set up for the morning, more people I know would have flown in, the bloggers lounge should be open, and I will get to drink a caipirinha and eat some cheese bread on the roof top of Fogo de Chao (Brazilian Churrascaria), where the Austin Technology Incubator hosts the invite only third annual Entrepreneur’s Lounge.

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A Point In Time
Mar 10 2010

Today was an interesting point in time for me.  March 10, 2010.  My son is 7 1/2 years old and my daughter is almost 5.  God, I love them so much.  A mother’s love cannot be explained in mere words.  When we learn to communicate telepathically maybe we can share that intense love and the world would be a better place.  I will blog more later about the poignancy of this day which happens to be a day or so before SXSW Interactive 2010 starts.

I picked up my kids from school after their soccer class today, and they rode their bikes near the house for a little bit since it was such a gorgeous, sunny day after the sudden burst of rain earlier in the day.  My daughter wants me desparately to take her training wheels off so she can ride like her older brother, and I keep telling her to wait until summer or the weather is consistently better so I have time to teach her like we did my son back in 2008.

I’ll be attending SXSW Interactive this year as a spectator.  Last year I organized a panel called Building A Web Business After Hours.  It was fun and well attended.  I learned since then it’s a very hard thing to keep up especially when you don’t have the time, support, and monetary resources to do it well.  I ended up transferring ownership to my amazing partner, Nicole Johnson.  This year I submitted a panel idea on how to leverage your online and offline networks, but it was not selected because I think they wanted it to be more narrowly focused.  I was kind of relieved actually.  I’m looking forward to going and supporting the Austin Technology Incubator‘s presence there via Bart Bohn’s (Wireless/IT Director) involvement with the Entrepreneur’s Lounge, Austin’s Interactive Showcase, and The Accelerator.  A couple of ATI’s companies have been nominated and will most likely do very well.  I’m also looking forward to the parties I’ve been invited to, catching some interesting panels, and seeing some of my online friends I haven’t seen since last year.

Onward and upward.  Today is another day in the journey of the rest of my life…

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