What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Right? Well, I’ve learned that what happens in Austin, ONLY happens in Austin. It’s a little thing I like to call South By Serendipity (aka #sxserendipity).
Our team has been in Austin since Thursday, attending the 26th Annual South By Southwest conference, better know to veterans of the event as simply ‘South by.’ We’re attending the interactive portion of the conference.
The things that happen when you bring together 25-30,000 of the world’s most connected techies, startup junkies, social media socialites, respected journalists, A-list movie and TV stars, big brand wunderkinds, app and game developers, and a preponderance of hipsters, in a few square block radius, are both amazing and unexpected.
In the past few days I’ve done the following:
- connected with tons of people I know from twitter and Instagram
- watched a Syracuse basketball game with alums from all over the country
- had a conversation with Tim Pool of Occupy Wall Street fame about whether or not twitter actually suppressed the hashtag (he says they definitely did)
- chatted with the brains behind the Zombiepocalypse campaign at the Centers for Disease Control
- attended a gospel brunch at Stubbs BBQ with a group of startup founders from Israel
- had my picture taken petting goats with t-shirts on
- met the developers and saw demonstrations of some amazing new iPhone and iPad apps
- listened to the community managers of Airbnb, Foursquare and SoundCloud talk about building startup communities
- had free breakfast tacos at The Today Show Munchie Mobile
- scored a free ticket to see Jay-Z compliments of American Express
- received a $5 Starbucks card for filling out a survey on someone’s phone
- watched students on my team get ever closer to their dream jobs
- went to a panel on content curation featuring one of my favorite journalists, David Carr from the New York Times
- ran into Top Chef Tom Colicchio on the street
- got a hug from the founder of Foursquare
I may be a bit of a geek (and I’m not quite sure how that happened), but the result of so much happening in such a short period of time is pretty amazing.
The weather has been awful here up until today, but that has not dampened the spirit of the SXSW community. They’re here to connect, to learn, to build awareness of what they’re doing and, yes, to party. On that front, we’re not doing too bad either. Tonight we’re hitting up the Foursquare party and tomorrow night we’re going to the Jay-Z concert. And in between those two awesome events, we get to see our friend and colleague, Commander of the NEXIS Starship, Anthony Rotolo, present his first-ever talk at SXSW tomorrow afternoon: Star Trek and Social Media.
Not bad for a few days in Austin.
Follow our crew: @rotolo @alyssahenry @dhrosen @j_lynn_smith @dhrosen @meglish @krkuchta and me, @kellylux. We’ll be in town through Tuesday, so tweet at us if you want to say hi!