SxSW Interactive 2011

Six days, four flights, two hotels, and one very tired Lynette later… here’s my take on my first South by Southwest Interactive conference. In order to get a feel day-by-day of what I was up to and individual reactions, check out the posts below:

  1. SxSW Day 0
  2. SxSW Day 1
  3. SxSW Day 2
  4. SxSW Day 3
  5. SxSW Day 4
  6. SxSW Day 5

From my original post – What is SxSW Supposed to Be? – What I’m interested in getting out of SxSW are two distinct things:

1. Finding and connecting with people and resources that value WOMEN in TECHNOLOGY.

2. Finding and connecting with business development (biz-dev) and financial investment (VC) firms interested in working with a proven, profitable software development & professional services company.

I didn’t do either.

I didn’t make it to one single session that had anything to do with women in technology, and I didn’t really get a chance to chat with any women in technology.  I did however get to talk to brilliant women in blogging, journalism, book authors, community management, event management and conference management.  And they were all amazing!

Next on my list was the investors. I went to a party, talked with some people. I met even more out in the conference ‘out and about.’ My take on it all? If you are a ‘startup’ with no business experience, under 30 years old, and have an idea (no product, no code, nothing – bonus if it’s a mobile coupon or LBS / location-based service) – you can very easily land $3 million in funding. Hipsters need apply.  If you are a mature company, in a growth spurt, with multiple products on the street, and are cashflow positive – no one will touch you.  Let’s see if anyone can prove me wrong.  Besides, I came away distrusting the truthfulness and integrity of the industry a bit, and I’m not sure what it will take to make me love them.

All in all what I did find I loved about Southby was the people, but you have to plan and research your ass off to get those seemingly random moments to work out.  At one party, I was guilty of badge surfing a bit to see if any names popped out at me (hey, I follow 2000+ people on Twitter, you never know when one of them is standing next to you.)  A few names were ‘as big as they get’ in their industry – not my industry – so without research I would have been dead in the water.  I’m writing a book, so I had all my info down before even chatting with any publishers (word / page count, outline, demo, timeframe, etc.)  Now I may have multiple offers on the table.

Will I go to South by Southwest again? You bet your ass I will.  But it won’t be for the sessions .  The ones I went to were good, but there wasn’t enough time and the buildings were spaced out too much.  It won’t be for the crazy Pepsi Max three block long parties.  It will be for the people.  (And yes, I will be purchasing a badge.)

Besides, the food in Austin alone is enough to go back!