Apply for SXSW Accelerator 2015

SXSW Accelerator 2015SXSW Accelerator returns for its seventh edition to showcase some of the most exciting startup innovations in technology – do you know a company that could be presenting?

This event provides an outlet for early stage companies to present their new technology within one of the six categories (Entertainment and Content Technologies, Social Technologies, Enterprise and Big Data Technologies, Innovative World Technologies, Wearable Technologies, Digital Health & Life Sciences Technologies) and to a panel of industry experts, early adopters, and representatives from the Angel / VC community.

Past judges have included Tim Draper of DFJ, John Sculley of Apple/Pepsi, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, Paul Graham of Y Combinator, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital, Chris Hughes of New Republic/Facebook, Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures, Albert Wenger of Union Square Venture, Scott Weiss of Andreessen Horowitz, and Bob Metcalfe of Ethernet/3Com to name a few.

We invite your company to join us for this incredible event, as we highlight the startup technology market’s most impressive new innovations. The application deadline is Friday, November 7, and the event itself will be Saturday, March 14 to Sunday, March 15, 2015 in Austin Texas.

Please apply at http://sxsw.com/interactive/accelerator

Apply for SXSW Accelerator 2015

Mobile Commerce in Las Vegas – On the Ground at the Downtown Project

Last year, Zappos’s CEO Tony Hsieh spent much of his keynote speech at SXSW V2V 2013 on the Downtown Project, the name he gave to his personal economic and cultural revitalization effort of several acres of the original, downtown Las Vegas.

Tony made a considerable financial commitment to the Downtown Project of $350 million, to be apportioned over a 5-year period to real estate purchase & redevelopment, small business acceleration, tech venture investment, and arts & culture.  You can read all about it on their website.

I was unable to spend more time in Las Vegas to see the activity firsthand in 2013, so I made sure to schedule an extra day this year to check it out.  While I was at it, I decided to do a little mobile commerce app field testing. I’d read a couple of articles about mobile commerce and hotel/hospitality apps in Vegas, so I ended up downloading the following for my test:

  • The Venetian app, for the hotel where I stayed
  • The official Downtown Project app
  • Preo, a Food & Beverage (F&B) app
  • Nomic, a social business & community directory app
  • Vegas Slots, a gaming (as in gambling) app

IMG_6310I started with the Venetian app, which seemed to perform well and appeared to have some nice discounts for guests.

I favorited several deals in the morning, looking forward to seeing how the redemptions would actually work as I visited the merchants.

But, whoops — as soon as I checked out from the hotel at noon, all of those discounts I favorited became immediately inaccessible.

Yet, there I was, standing in the lobby ready to go eat and shop, where just moments earlier I had been a guest in the hotel for 4 nights.  Damn!

On to the next, which was the Downtown Project (DP) app.  I’d been hoping that it would have some unique discounts and deals in it.  But, the current version is a colorful yet very basic directory of merchants and events…no mobile commerce through it — yet?!

IMG_6312Google Maps had better accuracy than the DP app (which was kind of interesting, given that it was the official app of the local venues) and the DP app newsfeed was a little sparse, with the last item having been posted 3 weeks earlier.

The street-level traffic was similarly sparse, with only a small handful of people visible at any time as I wandered around a few of the central DP blocks.

Then again, in all fairness, most people would choose to be inside at noon in the desert in July.  Thinking I should do the same, it was time to use the next app, Preo.

Preo had sounded a lot like the app from ATX hometown heroes, TabbedOut.  But, even though I read about it in an article about mobile apps for Las Vegas (LV), there was only one venue upon searching that I was able to locate in it.  Nearly all of the rest of the venues (call it > 95%) were in NYC.

IMG_6292Fortunately, the one LV venue was the newly renovated Gold Spike bar, site of one of the early downtown casinos, which is now a central hub for Downtown Project meetings, co-working and happy hour mixers.  The Gold Spike also features a great bar and grill, which was my opportunity to test Preo.  And…

It worked flawlessly – success! To set Preo up for a purchase, you must enter a valid payment option — credit card or Paypal (perhaps Alipay after the Alibaba IPO this fall, anyone?) will suffice.

Then, you set up your pre-order (Pre-o, get it?) – the drink(s) you want, your tip, and any promotional savings – and you slide the bar in the app. The app triggers a paper ticket that gets printed at the bar and the bartender gets your order – easy as that!

On the positive side, in addition to the ease of using the app, when I had set up my Preo account, it had sent me a “welcome” email in which I received a 50% discount off of any order (up to $10 total) if I verified my email. I verified it, which only took a second, and got the promotion, so I saved $3.50 on my Stella Artois draft.

Stella by PreoOn the negative side, even though the grill is directly beside the bar, you can’t order food using Preo…at least at the Gold Spike. So, I carried my beer 10 feet and sat at a table where a waitress came and took my order the old fashioned way, which was just fine.

Overall, Preo worked well and I could definitely see using it again during a moderately busy time when I was already at a bar and extra thirsty. But for now, with the drinks only and single site limitations, it’s barely much more than a novelty.

With lunch finished, I decided to try out Nomic, which looked like an interesting directory of the Downtown Project area businesses and social scene. Indeed, that is exactly what it was – no more, no less. And, specifically, no mobile commerce. The main engagement feature is “pinging” others joined to the same group that you join, with questions, announcements, or other interactive topics.

IMG_6304I pinged the DP’s Container Park – one of its landmark spots designed specifically for small business incubation – that had more than 200 members, just to see how immediate a response I would get. It was fairly immediate…from one person.

Dead silence from the rest of the Nomic Container Park virtual community, with no one offering me to sample their chocolate or browse their unique gifts, even though I clearly identified myself as an out-of-towner killing time. Missed marketing opportunity.

With the hour get late, I switched to time killing mode by trying the Vegas Slots app, as I made my way to the airport to return to Austin.

The app is a time killer all right. I never purchased any of the digital goods that the app presented to me, but I can definitely see how users would be tempted to do so.

IMG_6330Without question, it was the most gameful of the set I used, with great art, very interactive and subtly immersive. And all the time, I never had a clue how the game actually worked, i.e., the way it determined whether I had won or lost on each spin. So much the better, since as we all know in Las Vegas, the house always wins!

So, that’s it: my “on the ground” impressions of several mobile apps and their commerce capability. All in all, I’d suggest that my experience was a microcosm of the state of the segment overall, with maybe 20% of the apps you think could be useful offering any commerce value worth keeping on your phone deck.

Depending on whether you consider yourself more optimistic or pessimistic, this means either there is still an enormous, untapped potential for mobile commerce. Or, even after all of the money and attention poured into the segment, it’s too expensive for too little true value for anyone other than the pure tech enthusiast, just like those jet packs and hover cars we were all supposed to be using twenty years ago.

Mobile Commerce in Las Vegas – On the Ground at the Downtown Project

V is for Venture: Day 3 of V2V 2014

The final day of SXSW V2V 2014 was all about the “v” for “venture” in the name.

To wit, I spent the majority of the day dividing my time between the afternoon mentoring sessions and the full day venture pitch programming, with a couple of panels thrown in.

The mentoring sessions are a highlight feature of the V2V program. After serving as a mentor last year, I wanted to experience sitting on the other side of the table as a “mentee” and, thus, visited with a variety of mentors about a skunkworks project we’re doing this summer at my company that we’re calling Wannabe.

The mentor sessions are ultra-speedy, in slots of 10 minutes or less, depending on if you get started on time and how full a mentor’s schedule is. By contrast, in Austin, I pace most on my office hours sessions at Capital Factory at 30 minutes – especially those with founders I’m meeting for the first time.

Nonetheless, it was a great pleasure to meet and visit with all of the mentors – both formal and informal – throughout the 3 days of the conference, including (among the ones I spoke with): Peter Nilsson, Mike McGee, Scott Good, Carrie Layne, Mark Drosos, Ronnie Cameron, Tamara Thorpe, Asha Aravindakshan, Kimberly Knoll, Ted Loh, and Jim Hopkinson.

They were all good sports and I learned something from every one of them. Sadly, the mentor (not among those mentioned above) that was the least sporting was the one institutional investor I met with. I still got a couple of good tips from him, but it was a great reminder to me about how much of a drag it can be to get stuck with someone acting like an asshole, whether they know it or not.

It’s one of those paradoxical elements of the investor/founder dynamic I’ve seen (and if I’m honest, been a party to) many times, in which we expect the founder to show passion, genuine enthusiasm, and sharp speaking & listening skills, while the VC avoids eye contact, puts on their most dour heard-it-all-before poker face, and generally does their best to look & act completely disinterested.

pitch day panorama

Moving on…the best component of V2V Day 3 was the venture competition. I listened in on the pitching for extended periods throughout the day, across multiple categories of technologies and industry sectors. The room was packed the entire day.  Overall, I thought it was a really well-fun program – from the quality of companies on-stage, to the judges’ Q&A, to the organizers keeping the myriad of logistics operating smoothly.

The emcee for the day, Christine Herron of Intel Capital, deserves a special shout-out, for being the ringleader for the entire day. She kept things on time, filled the dead spots with good color commentary, asked good questions, and generally kept the audience entertained. She definitely deserved the drink from Brooklyn Bowl, the closing party host, that she was practically begging for by the end of the day!

The venture competition winners were a strong group of companies, illustrating the diversity of the V2V audience, hailing from Missouri, Florida, Arizona, Montreal Canada, Washington state, California, and Kentucky. See the full list on the V2V website.  Note to the hometown gang: “Hey Austin: let’s see some ventures from ATX on the winners platform in 2015!”

Today, I’m planning to spend some time on the ground getting a tour of the Downtown Project. I’ll be back tomorrow for some final thoughts on V2V 2014.

V is for Venture: Day 3 of V2V 2014

It Takes Leaving Austin to Know it Better at SXSW V2V

IMG_6284Yesterday was a full day of programming, one-on-one meetings, and the great synchronicity of surprise meetings in the lunch-line hallway or at the Tech Cocktail reception at the Chandelier bar, as Day 2 of SXSW V2V unfolded.

At the top of my favorites list were two very different talks — the morning keynote by John Maeda and an early afternoon panel of three current and former NFL players.

Maeda is one of the keenest technology design observers anywhere. After a lengthy career of teaching, researching, and administrating in higher education, he took roles (simultaneously) at Ebay and KPCB, where he currently gets to keep an eye out for the coolest stuff on the planet. kpcb

For Austinites (or anyone, really) who care to let John and his team know what they are working on that would be of interest to KPCB, you can let him know through this Fluid Survey he created for V2V.

Every great speaker develops their own style and I really enjoyed Maeda’s engaging yet conversational delivery. He was full of wonderful sound bites – here are just a few, which I’m no doubt paraphrasing:

  • I don’t think we (people) are that creative, so designs get repeated frequently…and that’s ok
  • Whether to weigh more heavily the opinion of a designer or a project leader is a question of social engineering not design excellence
  • My use of twitter is as much public therapy for me as it is communicating to an audience
  • Every time I want to learn something I buy a book
  • The goal for much of what I do isn’t necessarily to elevate design, but to reveal it
  • The best design is both familiar and novel

And finally, I loved this answer during the Q&A to the question “What is/are your current favorite physical and digital product(s)?” to which he replied “For physical, it would be rocks, which is interesting because they don’t do anything, and for digital, I’d have to say ‘nothing’ since I’m kind of mad at everything right now, because nothing works, like no matter how great your smartphone is, it still drops calls, etc.” achos

The afternoon panel, involving Ronnie Cameron and brothers Emmanuel and Sam Acho, who played at UT-Austin, was my other favorite of the day.

It was really a treat, because they spoke very frankly to a small audience about the day-to-day real life experiences of being in the National Football League – arguably one of the most competitive professions on the planet.

A favorite early quote in that panel was “ten will get you ten” when they were talking about NFL contract negotiations. The reference was to ten individual sacks of the quarterback during a season by a defensive player having the potential to result in a $10 million per year contract, at the four-year resigning milestone. That is definitely a high stakes job performance goal worth noting!

The other major highlight of the day was the synchronicity of making new acquaintances with fellow Austin-ites – something that Josh Baer mentions frequently, regarding the magic of Austin’s Capital Factory, where I serve as a mentor.

Even though I’ve lived and worked in the tech scene in Austin for 20 years, meeting successful, clever new folks from the hometown is always a delight. And, although I feel like I do a reasonably good job of venturing out to new circles of people, it takes attending an event like V2V and meeting other accomplished ATXers for the first time as a terrific reminder of how important it is to avoid complacency when it comes to keeping your professional network fresh.

Get your bowling shoes ready – onward to Day 3!

It Takes Leaving Austin to Know it Better at SXSW V2V

SXSW V2V – Sophomore Year

I’m at SXSW V2V for its sophomore year run this week. Monday (yesterday) was the first full day of programming, with Sunday mainly being devoted to the kick-off party and finding one’s hotel room.

I’m here on something of a multi-pronged mission this year:

First, I’m checking out interesting location-based mobile services in action in the hotels, casinos and other venues around Las Vegas, since this remains such a hot, yet elusive area for several mobile developers based in Austin, including Mahana, TabbedOut, Appconomy (my firm, although we are mainly exclusively in China), and others

wannabe logo v1Second, I’m test-driving a new idea that we are working on in Powershift Group Labs, code-named wannabe – think of it as a more immersive LinkedIn but primarily for middle and high school students.

Third, I’m spending the better part of a day, on the ground, in downtown Vegas to see the Downtown Project first hand. My understanding is that the persuasion and funding of its backers – to help draw attention and an influential cross-section of the creative class from California and Texas – was a significant reason why SXSW V2V was launched here last year.

downtown projectAnd finally, of course, I’m taking in the panels and keynotes and other sessions. There were several I attended yesterday on a wide range of subjects from monetizing mobile apps, to attracting venture funding, to building a responsive organization, and more.

The two best were one by Taylor Conroy of Change Heroes and one by Steven Klein, a producer for the documentary “Print the Legend.” Taylor spoke about the origin of his for-profit social enterprise and how it had evolved; he’s an entertaining and effective speaker – watch his TEDx talk.

print the legendKlein’s talk was on “Why a documentary about startups is a startup” and was also, in its way, both entertaining and educational…I learned a few new things about the film business, mainly documentaries.

After last year’s launch of SXSW V2V, I know that I told many people that “this is the show” they needed to attend. The inaugural V2V reminded me of the early days of ATX-based SXSW Interactive – it was contained in a single venue (the Cosmopolitan conference center & hotel), a manageable yet extremely high quality crowd, and nearly every program session offered new ideas or inspiration.

All in all, Day 1 was a good start towards continuing last year’s momentum.  Onward to Day 2!

SXSW V2V – Sophomore Year

Attention Tech Companies: DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT Launch at SXSW

Laura BeckThis guest post from PR expert Laura Beck was posted a few SXSW’s ago, but the advice is still as relevant as ever. In addition to her PR expertise, she also runs stripedshirt.com.

I’m not kidding this just happened to me: this morning, last day of SXSW Interactive 2012, I get an urgent plea from a friend helping a friend who’s “PR firm dropped the ball” b/c the client was ticked no one wrote about them yet, and they needed to call in some favors, get some coverage. This client launched at SXSW (and I’m not making this up): a Smartphone app that’s a free mobile guide for events, complete with location based mapping and social media integration. iPhone only now, but coming soon for iPad, Android.

SERIOUSLY? You and about 2,000 other companies.

This one, is irritated with their PR people for not getting them enough coverage, especially after they got 50 requests for beta day 1. 50??? SXSW attracts over 20,000 tech people. 50? You are but a speck of sand on the beach, in so many ways.

Now, I feel for this PR person or firm, but really, ultimately, it’s their own fault, and here’s where this public service announcement blog post come in handy. Read it, believe it, remember it, and PLEASE please preach it from now on, for all the rest of us PR folks, and the press and bloggers, and the betterment of the tech companies of today and tomorrow.

DO NOT Launch at SXSW

The odds of you “being the next Twitter” are slim to none. And remember, that big moment for Twitter at SXSW 2007 wasn’t its launch anyway. Jack sent the first tweet a full year earlier. SXSW 2007 is just when that “hockey stick moment” happened for Twitter and everyone has been trying to replicate that magic ever since. YOU CANNOT. It was MAGIC. This stuff sometimes happens at SX, often times does not.

Last year, you could argue Group.me and Uber were the buzz, but holy cow they put the money down to do so, whether hundreds of free grilled cheese sandwiches or branding every pedi cab in town. This year, this sweet delusional mobile apps company is competing against Amex launching Sync with freaking JAY Z. Seriously? How can anyone compete with that?

So, again, DO NOT LAUNCH AT SXSW. Or at least do not come expecting traditional PR, press and blogger meetings or coverage. Just do us a favor, and do not come here with those unrealistic expectations that kill us all.

But come! SXSW is an amazing 10 days, 5 (or more) of just us tech folks. There are 20,000 people here, and over 2,000 of em are press, bloggers, influencers. And they are here to meet, and talk, and network. BUT NOT TO BE PITCHED, not to commit to a sit down briefing or meeting.

They come once a year to Austin to put faces with names, meet the companies they covered last year, get their research in for companies to cover in the future, LEARN, and network. They want to spend time with the tech community, with each other.

They will not commit to time with you or make a packed schedule (or shouldn’t) because at SXSW, you don’t know what’s coming at you when. You need to be fluid and flexible, and go with what happens. Enjoy the ride.

So PR people, please counsel your clients. And companies listen and learn. COME to SXSW, use it as an opportunity to talk to anyone and everyone about what you are up to, what you care about, and LISTEN to what they care about too. Talk with the masses, and tell them about your company, your apps, your tools, your location based social discovery smart phone apps. Do take advantage of the feeding frenzy that is 20,000 people combing the streets of Austin as awareness building, branding, marketing, stunts.

Enjoy the ride and that it is so crazy. Do not torture your PR person asking where “so and so” is, and why “such and such” didn’t agree to a meeting. Do not come here thinking you are the next Twitter, or Amex Sync. Just come, and enjoy the experience, and respect the rest of us (including the press and analysts) doing the same. With the influencers, meet them, let them know you love their writing or read their story last week. Build relationships that will last you your tech life time. But don’t pitch them or ask them for anything. Not this week.

I have done SXSW now since 2004. I have seen the show grow like crazy. I still love it. But maybe that’s because I play it right. Along with friends, I created an event each night for a smaller group of people, including national – and local – press, bloggers, analysts, influencers, VIPs where you can go to just talk with people, hang out, catch up. A “no pitch zone.” I do the same at any other events I hit, I enjoy the moment, don’t party hop or try to catch Leo or Tobey. I don’t look over my shoulder the entire time I’m talking with someone to see if anyone better is there. And I decline any PR project that comes my way that involves “launching at SXSW.” I have a lot of press friends who I hope respect and like me, because I will NOT call in favors or abuse their time here at SXSW (or anytime).

Please keep this blog URL, PR peeps and tech entrepreneurs, because I promise, if you’ve gotten to the bottom and agree with me, you’ll forget by SXSW 2013. Or you’ll talk with someone who doesn’t know, hasn’t been here, and will need this advice. It’s easy to get caught in the glamour of imaging you doing the PR for the next Twitter, being the “Next Big Thing At SXSW.” But those odds are very slim, rare and Magic! DO NOT Launch at SXSW. Rather, just come and enjoy the experience. It’ll serve you way better in the future, and over the crazy 5 days we live every March.

This originally appeared at http://www.stripedshirtblog.com/2012/03/attention-tech-companies-do-no-i-repeat-do-not-launch-at-sxsw/.

Attention Tech Companies: DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT Launch at SXSW

SXSW Accelerator Deadline is Friday

SXSW Startup VillageSXSW Accelerator returns for its sixth edition to showcase some of the web’s most exciting innovations – do you know a company that could be one?

This event provides an outlet for companies to present their new technology of Entertainment and Content products, Social, Enterprise and Big Data Technologies, Innovative World, Wearable, Music, or Health technology to a panel of industry experts, early adopters, and representatives from the Angel / VC community.

Past judges have included Tim Draper of DFJ, Paul Graham of Y Combinator, Craig Newmark of Craiglist, Bob Metcalfe of University of Texas, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, and Tom Conrad of Pandora to name a few.

We invite your company to join us for this incredible event, as we highlight the technology market’s most impressive new innovations.  The application deadline is Friday, November 8, and the event itself will be Saturday, March 8 to Sunday, March 9, 2014 in Austin Texas.

Please apply at http://sxsw.com/interactive/accelerator

SXSW Accelerator Deadline is Friday

The Keynote You’ll Never Hear at SXSW

More accurately, my blog post title should be “The Keynote You’ll Not Hear at SXSW Until 2014, 2015 or Beyond”. Specifically, my focus is: “crossing the chasm from the right.” Right now SXSW is incredibly focused on ‘appointment based learning.’ I understand that SXSW Inc has a business model they want to preserve.

But you need the knowledge now.

Just like Netflix gave us “House of Cards” in all of it’s 12 episode glory… I’ll give you the innovation of “crossing the chasm from the right.” I engineered it at Stanford Engineering school. I said engineering twice because I define engineering as a verb and a noun. Engineering is the act of taking what exists and making it suck slightly less with very few resources.

“Crossing the chasm from the right” solves the problem where companies go bankrupt trying to cross the chasm from the left. You die doing that. You die going from left to right. You die trying to jump a ramp like Evil Knievel without any momentum. You die in the cliche case where two MBAs are trying to hire cs majors. Instead, cross the innovation chasm from the right.

Video Preview of my Keynote

Key Knowledge Nuggets From This Future “UnOfficial” Wharton MBA Class

  • 4:16 – Whartonite seeks code monkey problem solved. Stop seeking CS majors. Innovate. A super smidge of vertical at the 4:16 mark is what you seek.
  • 5:35 – Crossing the chasm from the right is not actually new. Many brand name tech companies have done it. Tim O’Reilly did it with SUN. Oracle, Salesforce, and Apple did it.
  • 6:48 – Ideal execution of crossing the chasm from the right is three CS majors selling. This is also the foundation of ENGR 145.
  • 8:25 – “Sell something that exists.” No risk in that. Only commission. All y’all are doing sales-ie tricks such as one-way letters of intent, internal escrow, or LCRRM which is the reverse rebate model. It gets you sales. It is like a freemium model but with money taken in and the money rebated. These are all outlined and expanded upon in my Yahoo Business article.

Footnote

RMRMRE = Risk Mitigation, Risk Minimization, Risk Elimination

PRPRPI = Pattern recognition, pattern replication, pattern iteration

The RMRMRE and PRPRPI are meant to move you to the right side of the entrepreneur bell curve. My Stanford Engineering video costs students 15k in tuition, but you get it for free because you read AustinStartup. I hope that this keynote got you your return on investment for this years SXSW badge and next two years SXSW platinum badge.

The Keynote You’ll Never Hear at SXSW

The Austinpreneur’s Guide to SXSW

Guest post by Joshua Baer: Joshua Baer helps people quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs. In 2008 he founded Capital Factory, a tech startup incubator and co-working space in Austin, Texas. Josh founded his first startup in 1996 in his college dormitory at CMU and now teaches a class at the University of Texas for student entrepreneurs. Josh is the Chief Innovation Officer of Return Path.

It’s that time again, finally! After 360 days of anticipation, SXSW is right around the corner. With so much going on it’s hard for entrepreneurs who are new to SXSW to know where (or how) to focus amongst all the distraction. To give you a starting point, here is my top 12 list of must-attend events and a few other lists from SXSW leaders you will find helpful…

ATX Startup Crawl
Thursday, March 7 from 4-10pm
50 Austin startups downtown are throwing a simultaneous party with shuttles running a loop between them all. Check-in, grab your badge at the Convention Center, and then jump on the crawl. Get inside that startup you’ve been hearing about to meet the founders and see what it’s like to work there. Various startups have bands, food trucks, drinks and other unique entertainment.

Tech Happy Hour
Thursday, March 7 from 6pm-8pm
This happy hour is one of the cornerstones of the Austin tech scene and SXSW is always the biggest of the year. 50 more tickets were just added, so you might want to get yours now!

5 Austin Startups Immune to the Series A Crunch
Friday, March 8 from 3:30-4:30pm
Come see pitches from 5 up and coming Austin startups that are immune to the Series A Crunch because they can all get profitable on less than $1 million in funding.

Move Your Startup to Austin $100,000 Competition
Friday, March 8 from 5-6pm
5 startups that are NOT from Austin will compete for a $100,000 “relocation package” including a $35,000 investment, a house to live in, office space, server hosting, groceries and more!

The Lean Startup at SXSW
Saturday, March 9 from 9:30am-6pm
An official SXSW track focused on lean startup methods, to be held on March 9, 2013. Brought to you by 500 Startups & Eric Ries of “The Lean Startup,” in partnership with SXSW. Hear from experts like Steve Blank, Eric Ries and Dave McClure.

ff MASSIVE
Saturday, March 9 from 9:30am-midnight
A whole day of events with the ff Venture Capital Portfolio including 500.px, Contently, Distil.it, GameSalad, IndieGogo, Infochimps, LiveFyre, Moveline, and VolunteerSpot, following by a MASSIVE party.

DreamIt Austin Demo Day
Saturday, March 9 from 9am-2pm
Get a first-look at the promising startups from the Austin 2013 DreamIt program and select DreamIt alumni companies with an exciting day of business, creativity, and innovation.

Elon Musk Keynote
Saturday, March 9 from 2-3pm

Elon Musk is the founder of SpaceX, TeslaMotors and SolarCity, not to mention Paypal. He’s such a badass that they model comic book characters after him. Go watch this talk… if you can get in the room (arrive a few hours early).

Finding and Managing CoFounders & CoFounder Speed Dating
Sunday, March 10 from 3:30-6pm
You’ve been told you need a co-founder, but why? And how do you pick the right one? You’re an engineer & you think biz folks are kind of sucky, why do you need them? You’re a biz person & you’re getting the cold shoulder from engineers & designers.

Austin on Rails SXSW Happy Hour
Monday, March 11 from 6-9pm
It’s the eighth annual! This is always a great geek party with good conversation, appetizers, and a night out without the laptop. DJ’d by the founders of Console.fm. It’s easily the best party for the HTTP set. All web developers welcome!

Chaotic Good: The right alignment for your company
Tuesday, March 12 from 11am-12pm
Come hear the founder of Evernote talk use an analogy from Dungeons & Dragons to talk about the right company culture for tech companies.

Peter Thiel – You Are Not a Lottery Ticket
Tuesday, March 12 from 3:30-4:30pm
Peter Thiel is the other founder of Paypal speaking at SXSW, and he’s also a partner at Founders Fund, runs his own hedge fund, and was one of the early investors and board members of Facebook. He’s brilliant and always worth listening to.

If you want more…

To get a complete list of all of the startup events at SXSW, sign up for the Austin Startup Digest (and the Startup Digest for your city).

If you have questions about SXSW or just about Austin while you are in town, hit me up on Twitter and I’ll try to point you in the right direction.

The Austinpreneur’s Guide to SXSW

6th Annual SXSW Austin Tech Happy Hour pre-SXSW Kickoff Tomorrow

Today is the last day to pre-register for the 6th Annual Austin Tech Happy Hour pre-SXSW Kickoff at Molotov tomorrow. The event sold out earlier in the week, and we worked with the management at Molotov to get a better understanding of capacity and weather considerations to add 50 more tickets to the event.

The weather forecast says 75 degrees and partly cloud with 0% chance of rain. This may be the best weather day during the Interactive festival! Molotov has an outstanding rooftop deck overlooking 6th Street.

Please note that this event is not affiliated with SXSW, and no badge is required. The festival does not begin until the next day on Friday.

Register Here!

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Called “the future of media” by Forbes, Spiceworks connects over 2 million IT professionals with 1,300 technology brands. An IT application, community and marketplace all rolled into one, Spiceworks helps technology vendors reach IT pros as they’re managing their networks, collaborating with each other, and researching the products and services they’ll spend more than $420 billion on each year. We’re Hiring: www.spiceworks.com/jobs

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Equitable Commercial Realty | ECR is the premier commercial real estate leasing and sales firm in Austin, Texas with expertise in office, industrial, manufacturing, warehouse, retail and medical property types. Our goal is to exceed your expectations. To learn more about how we can save you time and money with your office and industrial needs, please visit our website or call us at (512) 476-3400.

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Learn how to harness your restlessness.

If you’d rather stomp on broken glass than sit through one more sleepy, mindless lecture, welcome.  You won’t find any of that here.  When it comes to immersing students in the details of running a business, many MBA programs fall short by omitting crucial skills, such as the ability to think clearly and make key decisions. Other entrepreneurship MBA programs rely solely on textbooks and theories. Not us.

At Acton, you’ll face challenges that require courage, grit, and a never-give-up attitude—that is, the kind of challenges you long for (but can’t seem to find enough of).  You’ll be put to the test every single day (and each sleepless night). Once you leave our entrepreneurial program, you’ll have faced the brutal questions real entrepreneurs face about their lives and businesses. But you’ll have faced them before real money and real people are on the line. Information Session 6:30pm, March 20th.

6th Annual SXSW Austin Tech Happy Hour pre-SXSW Kickoff Tomorrow