Startups and small biz at SXSW: ideas on how to spend your time at the conference!

Ross and I will be speaking at South by Southwest again this year and hope that you’ll join us there for our talk titled “Third Coast: How to Be a Startup Outside of Silicon Valley.” We should have a really nice crowd of entrepreneurs, designers, and funders there and expect a great discussion. It is scheduled for Saturday 3/13 at 12:30pm and will be held at the Convention Center, Courtyard Rio Grande B. [Last week, I posted a short podcast on the topic and you can hear it here]

Other than that 1 hour session, I intend to stay VERY busy at SXSW this year and wanted to share some of the other talks and panels I will try to attend. Here is my list for 2010 -I hope to run into you there; I’ll be the really tired looking guy moving fast from event to event. Enjoy the list and see you in Austin!

Friday, March 12th

  • Time TBA: Recession 2009-2010: The Best Time to Launch Your Startup  – While it may seem counter intuitive, economic hardship is the crucible from which great businesses emerge. In fact, more than half of the world’s largest and most successful companies were started during an economic recession or depression. What does that mean for today’s would-be entrepreneurs? It means now is the best… (
  • 02:00 PM: Is Innovation Fair? Hilton E – Andrew Keen, author of Cult of the Amateur, discusses the impact of social media and technological innovation on culture, society and economic justice. (
  • 03:30 PM: A Touchy History of the Future Ballroom C – We pinch it, tap it, shake it and poke it. We’re so enthralled with finally getting to touch our products. But there’s so much more to direct manipulation than just tapping it with our fingers! Let’s explore some progressive interaction models that go beyond touch and into movement, infrared, wearable computing, sound and ambient data to really give us an idea of what our immersive interactive future may hold and how we might curate that future now. (
  • 05:00 PM: Eight Ways to Deal with Bastards – If 99% of your customers are fantastic, you’re still going to deal with bastards. And even the best of us make bad hiring decisions. But there are time-honored approaches to defusing crises, deflecting attacks, and denuding d-bags. This panel of seasoned pros will discuss and advise. Hilton A/B (

  • 07:00 PM: TechSet Party Speakeasy – This Friday SXSW kickoff party unites the digerati as they channel their inner Fame Monster by reviving a decade of style and glamour that made the social elite go ga ga. (
  • 10:00 PM: The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights Paramount – I know it’s a film even and not an Interactive event, but come on! The White Stripes movie?? Must see. must see… (

Saturday, March 13th

  • 10:00 AM: REWORK by 37signals Day Stage – The web is growing at a rapid pace and in hundreds of different languages, but professionally translating content is expensive and time-consuming. A social translation program is one way you can make your website more accessible to a global audience for less. Representatives from successful translation projects share what works. (
  • 11:00 AM: Are Content Farms Good or Evil? Yes Radisson Austin – We can count on an abundance of news and information in a media-saturated age. Yes, we’ll always want to encourage higher quality, but it won’t matter if we have crappy demand. Here are some principles, and some tactics, for helping passive consumers become active, even activist, creators and collaborators. (
  • 11:00 AM: Online Advertising: Losing the Race to the Bottom Hilton D – How individuals and groups can maintain some shred of dignity and support themselves by creating ad and sponsorship programs that benefit and respect publishers, readers and advertisers. Presented by John Gruber of Daring Fireball and Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners and The Deck Network. (
  • 11:00 AM: The Future of Influence 10AB – The ability to share online has allowed consumers to control and filter the web. For brands and publishers, tapping into Influence is critical to social media’s future. What is influence and how is it measured? Leading voices in social media from multiple backgrounds will define the value of influence, discuss best practices, and predict future impact. Data will be shared! This panel is sponsored by ShareThis. (
  • 11:00 AM: The Right Way to Wireframe, Part 1 Ballroom E – This session will provide a step-by-step explanation of how four designers in the User Experience space approach wireframes.  An external resource will provide clear business requirements to the UX designers. Each UX designer will choose their own tool for exploring the requirements via wireframes and specifications. In addition, each UX designer will work with their own graphic designer of choice for visual design exploration. Each UX designer will present their results and fully detail their process and their final deliverables to the audience. The audience will be provided ample time to critique and ask questions of the UX designers. (
  • 12:30 PM: Third Coast: How to Be a Startup Outside of Silicon Valley Courtyard Rio Grande B – It is difficult to establish a startup no matter where you are in the world, but there are great companies and events that began life outside of Silicon Valley. Threadless, 37Signals, FeedBurner, BIG Omaha conference, and SXSW itself are proof that technology life exists away from the coasts. These less-than-obvious locales are becoming hotbeds of innovation and attracting talent and capital. (
  • 03:30 PM: Moon 2.0: The Outer Limits of Lunar Exploration Hilton F – Space sector representatives will discuss how the use of web and mobile technologies create opportunities for participation in future exploration of the Moon. The panel focuses on how X PRIZE, NASA, commercial space companies, and others generate greater interaction and interest in Moon missions using collaborative platforms and social media. (
  • 05:00 PM: How To Unplan Your Business Idea Hilton E – The notion that every business needs a detailed plan is broken. If you’re launching a business it’s more important to put your ideas into action and not over-strategise. Online tools mean you can launch a business faster than you can build a theoretical model. So unplan and just do it. (
  • 06:00 PM: Dorkbot Brush Square Park – East Tent – Think of it as a science fair with free beer. Ample doses of electricity, tomfoolery, mayhem, makers and music combine to form one exquisite geek talent show.  Sponsored by SXSW Interactive, the International Game Developer’s Association of Austin, Mr. Data, Ricochet Labs and the Digital Media Council. (
  • 06:00 PM: Mozilla SXSW Happy Hour Cedar Door – Join us for happy hour drinks and appetizers at Cedar Door and learn what we are working on at Mozilla. Party is limited to the first 250 guests who arrive – please RSVP on Facebook:! (
  • 06:00 PM: SXSW Opening Night Happy Hour sponsored by @Razorfish Paradise – Augment your reality at SXSW with a few frosty beverages as Razorfish kicks off the conference upstairs at the Paradise. But don’t forget your badge! Your conference badge or a Razorfish business card is required for entry. (
  • 08:00 PM: Snappy Hour with Shutterstock & Bigstock Beauty Bar – Join Shutterstock and Bigstock for an open bar happy hour and special guest DJs. Stop by the Shutterstock or Bigstock booth to get your free V.I.P. pass. (
  • 08:00 PM: SXSW Interactive Opening Party Hosted by frog design MACC – The legend lives on as frog design returns to host the Interactive Opening Party. This not-to-be-missed event brings together digital creatives as well as visionary technology entrepreneurs for an unforgettable evening. How much is too much? (

Sunday, March 14th

  • 09:30 AM: Offering Your Content in 100 Languages 18ABCD – The web is growing at a rapid pace and in hundreds of different languages, but professionally translating content is expensive and time-consuming. A social translation program is one way you can make your website more accessible to a global audience for less. Representatives from successful translation projects share what works. (
  • 10:00 AM: Adobe Sunday Brunch Day Stage Cafe – There will be bacon, coffee and geekery at the Adobe Sunday Brunch. Join us at 10am on Sunday for FREE brunch at the Adobe Day Stage. Adobe product managers and evangelists will be sharing the latest on mobile development with Flash and more from Adobe Labs. RSVP at There might even be a few surprises. Join us to find out. (
  • 11:00 AM: Clay Shirky Presentation Ballroom D – Clay Shirky is just cool (
  • 11:00 AM: The Yelp Effect: When Everyone’s A Restaurant Critic 19B – Nowadays, with restaurant blogs and sites like Yelp and Chowhound, everyone is a restaurant reviewer. Long gone are the days when professional critics had the final say. How are user-generated reviews changing how restaurants operate and how we eat? Is there still a role for the professional critic? (
  • 11:00 AM: Why You Aren’t Done Yet Ballroom A – The deadline is looming, you’ve tweeted how busy you are four times this week, and yet you just can’t get the project wrapped up and out the door. Real artists ship and you want to be a real artist, real bad, but you’re not. Let me show you how to rework that. (
  • 12:30 PM: Conversation with Michel Gondry 18ABCD – Elvis Mitchell, film critic at tthe New York Times interviews the director of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” Cool. (
  • 12:30 PM: CrowdControl: Changing The Face Of Media Or Hype? 12AB – A discussion about the new media democracy, citizen journalism and the wisdom of the crowd. Readers and consumers of media have exerted a new level control around how news and entertainment is created, shared and consumed. For example, Iranian citizens used social media to report on post-election activity in June 2009 when international media had limited access. This intensifying shift in power via social media is further impacting the media landscape. We already live in an interactive society but this global proliferation and escalation exemplifies the value of the wisdom of the crowds. The panel will discuss core tenets of this theory and how it is affecting current and future digital media business models. (
  • 12:30 PM: Kicking Recession Ass With A Killer Company Culture Courtyard Brazos 2/3 o your employees know how much you love them? We’ll talk on creative ways to keep morale up in a low economy, ideas on improving the lives and brains of your greatest assets and how to make it all work for your company’s bottom line (no matter how small). (
  • 12:30 PM: Trials and Tribulations of the Pirate Bay Hilton A/B – The Pirate Bay is Sweden’s biggest export since…Abba. It’s been quite a year for TPB — with a spectacle of a trial, news of a $7.8 million acquisition, and the epic win of the closely-linked Pirate Party. Those Swedes really do love to pirate. But will the titans of P2P prevail? (
  • 02:00 PM: Andrew Huff (Online News of Tomorrow) & Mark Milian (The Los Angeles Times) Studio SX – (
  • 02:00 PM: Valerie Casey Keynote ACC L1, Exhibit Hall 1 – Casey, founder and Executive Director of the Designers Accord, works with organizations all over the world to create positive social and environmental impact. She has been named a “Guru you should know” by Fortune magazine, a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and a “Master of Design” by Fast Company.  (
  • 05:00 PM: Dinosaur to Digital: A Museum Convergence Success Story 7 – Case study on how the California Academy of Sciences – a traditional museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park — transformed itself into a global online education and research presence and integral social hub for the City, using the best tools and techniques of technology, social media and design. (
  • 06:00 PM: SXSW Web Awards Pre-Party Downtown Hilton Hotel, 6th Floor – Speculate on who will take home a coveted Web Award at the official pre-party. Complimentary beverages and delicious food will get you warmed up for the main event to follow. (
  • 08:00 PM: Microsoft BizSpark and Volusion present TECH cocktail SXSW: Johnny Cash Blackout Sunday Palm Door – TECH cocktail will be showcasing over 30 start-ups to kickoff the SXSW Accelerator. Wear your favorite black hat and be ready to connect with entrepreneurs, innovators and technology enthusiasts. (
  • 09:00 PM: PBS Party Austin City Limits Studio – Join PBS, NPR, FRONTLINE, ITVS, FUTURESTATES, ReadWriteWeb @KLRU’s Legendary Austin City Limits Studio. Live music, Tex-Mex, Margaritas. Streamed live on (Free shuttles at the Hilton). (
  • 09:00 PM: The Silicon Prairie Party hosted by Big Omaha Lanai – Join the speakers, organizers and attendees of Big Omaha to party with the up-and-coming entrepreneurs and innovators based on the Silicon Prairie. There are big things happening on the Prairie and here’s the opportunity to connect with those making an impact! (
  • 10:00 PM: Mashable’s MashBash SXSWi 2010 Buffalo Billiards – Mashable, Cliqset and Sony are proud to present the 2nd MashBash SXSWi — Mashable’s annual social media gathering at SXSW. (

Monday, March 15th

  • 09:30 AM: Digitally Rebranding the Republican Party Hilton C – No brand was under attack in 2008 more than the Republican Party, and the GOP entered 2009 with one goal – rebrand and relaunch. Get a behind-the-brand look at how and why the GOP created and launched its new digital look and the digital strategy driving the brand’s future success. (
  • 11:00 AM: Indirect Collaboration: Collective Creativity on the Web 10AB – This discussion will examine the role of crowd-sourced input on the creative process. We will examine art, comics, design, photography and commerce, and the role that the audience plays in directing their creation. We will make a distinction between passive decision-making (i.e. Threadless) and participatory conception (i.e. 700 Hobos Project.) (
  • 11:00 AM: REPO MEN: Extending a Movie’s Narrative Online Ballroom D – REPO MEN Director, Miguel Sapochnik, joins Wired “Vanished” writer Evan Ratliffe and Double Barrel Motion Labs CEO Jeff Krelitz in a discussion about extending the story of REPO MEN into the virtual world. The session will feature the worldwide debut of the motion comic character lead-in to the film in RealD 3D. The panel will also discuss the real world REPO MEN Hunt for four “artiforg” owners that disappeared on February 25th. (
  • 12:30 PM: Gary Vaynerchuk Presentation Ballroom D – Wine is delicious. Gary Vee knows wine. I’ll be there… (
  • 12:30 PM: Who Needs Venture Capital? Hilton D – Only a fraction of business financing comes from Sand Hill Road. Yet entrepreneurs still obsess over traditional big meeting/big money Silicon Valley venture capital. This heated panel debates what types of companies actually benefit from VC and reviews concrete examples of alternatives to traditional venture capital. (
  • 02:00 PM: Evan Williams Keynote Interview ACC L1, Exhibit Hall 1 – Williams has co-founded several Internet companies, including Pyra Labs (creator of weblog-authoring software Blogger) and Twitter, the now ubiquitous social media platform that hit its tipping-point at SXSW in 2007. In addition to his role as Director of the Havas Media Lab, Umair Haque founded Bubblegeneration, an agenda-setting advisory boutique that shaped strategies across media and consumer industries. (
  • 03:30 PM: ‘Seed Combinators’: Startup Incubators 2.0 Hilton C – The ‘Seed Combinator’ is the concept of mashing up angel investing, OpenCoffee Club meetups, tactical workshops, and Coworking that is giving rise to a new class of software and new media startups. Local investors are giving aspiring entrepreneurs capital and intensive mentorship under names like YCombinator, TechStars and Capital Factory. (
  • 03:30 PM: First Impressions: The Art of Main Title Design 18ABCD – Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces and Susan Bradley of Pixar Animation Studios (
  • 03:30 PM: Why Challenge Prizes Are the Future of Innovation Hilton A/B – In 1919, Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 to the first aviator to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. Though it took eight years before Charles Lindbergh finally succeeded and took the award, the Orteig Prize inspired a new model for entrepreneurship and innovation. This panel of Challenge Prize veterans explains why it works, and what’s next. (
  • 08:00 PM: Microsoft Party and Interactive Gallery Speakeasy – Three levels of music, hot DJ’s, drinks and networking at Austin’s hottest nightclub.   Experience the Interactive Gallery and receive a special giveaway for the first 500 visitors.  A must attend event! (
  • 09:00 PM: GeekyBeach Party Aces Lounge – A beach party by geeks, for geeks. Join ServerBeach at the epicenter of Austin’s Sixth Street Entertainment District, Aces Lounge, for outrageous fun with free drinks, swag and more! Doors open at 9:00 pm until 2:00 am. RSVP at Get your geek on. (
  • 09:00 PM: NOLA Party v2.0.1.0 Lucky Lounge – 2009’s New Orleans party rocked it, so they’re back to rock it harder!  A brass band, DJ, free drinks & the New Orleans-at-SXSW crew will transmogrify 5th into Frenchmen St. (

Tuesday, March 16th

  • 11:00 AM: The Chaos Scenario Day Stage – Bob Garfield, Ad Age columnist and co-host of NPR’s “On the Media,” sent shockwaves through the worlds of media and marketing with his apocalyptic vision of a post-mass-media Brave new World. But he also prescribes a new path, called “Listenomics,” and he reads about his own, hilarious titanic battle with the Cowardly Old World. [NOTE: THE COVER FOR BOB’S BOOK WAS DESIGNED RIGHT HERE ON crowdSPRING!] (
  • 12:30 PM: The Future of the Digital Living Room Ballroom D – The living room is the hub of home entertainment, but where is it headed? From betamax to VHS, DVD and Blu-ray…what’s next? What role will the internet play in the living room, and how interactive will our entertainment become? Will hardware or content innovation ultimately effect the most change? (
  • 02:00 PM: Daniel Ek Keynote Interview ACC L1, Exhibit Hall 1 – XSW Interactive is excited that Daniel Ek will participate in a keynote interview at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, March 16. The 26-year-old CEO and co-founder of the innovative online music service Spotify, Ek has been characterized as a serial entrepreneur. He started his first company in 1997 at the age of 14 and has also served in leadership roles at Stardoll and Advertigo.  (
  • 03:30 PM: Could The iPad Have Saved Gourmet? The (New) Future of Magazines Radisson Austin – I like magazines. I like food. I believe that I will like my future iPad, so this sure looks like a great way to connect all three of my interests, no? (
  • 03:30 PM: Richard Rosenblatt Interview: Content On Demand Ballroom D – As CEO of Demand Media and former Chairman of MySpace, Richard Rosenblatt is no stranger to harnessing the power of the crowd to build industry-changing business models. Having sold Internet companies with a combined value of more than $1.3 billion, the Web visionary’s latest hit, Demand Media, is making world-wide waves throughout new- and old-media circles. Join Dan Fletcher, tech reporter and social media producer for TIME Magazine, for a candid conversation with Rosenblatt on the future of content, creative ecosystems, and where the money is in online media’s today and tomorrow. (
  • 03:30 PM: Way Cool Maps: Beyond Simple Mashups Ballroom C – Creatively add location to your websites or streamline your mapping process. Make your maps stand out from all the others. Learn how you can write code once and use it with Google Maps, Yahoo, Bing, MapQuest and more. (
  • 04:00 PM: Hip Hop Social: The Platinum Life The Belmont – From the Mean Streets to the Penthouse Suites – Break into the big time and become a hip hop legend in Platinum Life: Web Edition, the new social lifestyle game from Heatwave Interactive. Come get a sneak peek at the Platinum Life and start making the benjamins in our game lounge. Customize your avatar, build your entourage, then meet and  interact with today’s real-life celebrity hip hop heavyweights. MUSIC+DRINKS+FOOD+GAMES=PLATINUM LIFE Featuring DJ J Cash and Chris Webb. (
  • 09:00 PM: SXSW Film Closing/Music Opening Party hosted by VH1 RockDocs & YouTube Maggie Mae’s – Kick up your heels at the bash that officially closes the 2010 SXSW Film Conference and kicks off the 2010 SXSW Music Conference. Good company and complimentary food and beverages are sure to make this an unforgettable event. (