SXSW Interactive is one of the most attended conferences of the year for tech and media types, with 30,000 conference participants flooding Austin. But in recent years, the cost of an official interactive badge has gone up considerably and many are attending unofficial SXSW parties and related events that do not require badges. For people who have never attended SXSWi, it’s good to go with a badge at least one year — the depth and breadth of content discussed across hundreds of panels and sessions can be as valuable and high quality as the networking you’ll do. However, it gets redundant year after year. In past years I’ve attended the music portion of SXSW as well — this is incredibly fun and far fewer people spend time in the actual convention center. Why would you with all the amazing day parties and live music showcases across sunny Austin? Here’s a shortlist of unofficial events that I’ve RSVP’d for this year. For more info and discovery of unofficial SXSW parties I recommend Sched.org, do512, and Unofficial SXSW Guide.
Want to meet up in Austin? I’ll be there from March 6-12. Hit me up!
American Express must have thrown down seven figures plus to book Jay-Z into the pristine Moody Theater in the Austin W complex but it managed to monopolize the buzz — at least for the hmoment — at SXSW Interactive. Jay-Z performed for just under two hours, doing 24 songs (full-length as opposed to the medley format favored on the Watch the Throne tour) cherry-picked from his deep repertoire. Amex flew in Jay and likely a planeload of entourage for this one-off event. I was fortunate to get a spot up close and snapped a ton of photos (only a few of which were worth posting).
SXSW seems to have a dearth of hip-hop on its schedule and this event was not an official part of the conference itself (though it got plenty of love as Amex is a SXSW sponsor). But let’s not kid ourselves, Jay-Z may be the greatest rapper alive but he’s every bit as much of a pop star today as he is hip-hop. The show was also simulcast within the W, on a big screen on Red River and on YouTube (watch on demand here). Photos, video and setlist below.
In an eleventh-hour decision, I cashed in some American AAdvantage miles and caught a flight to Austin for spring break — or more specifically, the 25th annual South by Southwest Conference. With all of the networking opportunities, free food, drink, music and friends – some of whom i only see once a year or so – i’m glad i took advantage and visited the great city of Austin. It was a whirlwind four days but the photos and video below provide some flavor.
The trip began with an amazing takeoff directly into the fading sun over the Pacific. This would be the last time the sun set before Daylight Savings time kicked in. Got in to Austin and met up with Jory, provider of a fine crash pad for the duration of my stay. Then began a serious of meetups, events, and parties: All Hat III, which was a priceless opportunity to visit with many of the folks I most admire in the interactive space who happen to share a passion and commitment to do-gooding.
Los Angeles represented in a big way at SXSW 2011 in the film, music, and gaming world — no surprise there (both The Roxy and The Echo hosted parties in Austin last night). But this week two locally-based startups were recognized for their ability to use the internet as a tool for action and a community resource for social change.