[HTML2]Every year, thousands of geeks make a pilgrimage down south to Austin, Texas, for SXSW Interactive, a gathering of some of the best and brightest in this whole Web thing. While there, they share ideas, discuss concepts, and meet a bunch of people in the flesh who they’ve only known as avatars on Twitter.
And since they need something to break up the time between the parties, the get togethers, and the constant flow of BBQ and Tex-Mex, the folks down in Austin also hold some conference sessions during the day. But to have those sessions, they need speakers.
Here’s where you come into the picture. You see, SXSW likes to give the public a chance to voice their opinions on the talks that could appear at the show. And thanks to the SXSW Panel Picker, you can get in on the fun. Read More
If only AT&T had performed as flawlessly, Shizzow would have been invaluable at SXSW. Unfortunately, with the Edge network cratering under the sheer girth of iPhone traffic in Austin, neither Shizzow nor Twitter managed to live up to their potential.
But now that we’re back in the land of the speedy connections, Shizzow will no doubt shine. And since many of us monitor Twitter far more than we monitor Shizzow, maybe just maybe we’ll have some more of those chance meetings that Shizzow was designed to facilitate.
I’ve spent the last few days in Austin, TX, at SXSW Interactive, the annual gathering of some of the best and brightest Web types sharing their experience and ideas.
But it’s not all about the presentations. Truly, it’s all about proximity. Because every presenter, every leading thinker, and every attendee have plenty of time to talk with one another over meals or over a beer.
Suffice it to say, if you’re looking to get the chance to chat with the folks who are influencing the Web, this is a target rich environment.
This year, I went to SXSW with the intention of learning more about other entrepreneurial communities. To uncover ways that other metropolitan areas were trying to make their communities stronger in order to capitalize on the talent of creative developers.
I managed to make some great connections and learn a thing or two. Here’s what I took away from the conversations.
Portland is not a special snowflake
It’s no secret that I think we’ve got a phenomenal Web, mobile, and open source community. I think the mix we’ve got is special. And there’s little doubt that I think we have the single most amazing technology community anywhere.
But I also admit that I may be a little biased.
Still, for all the love I have for Portland, we’re not unique in our struggles to foster an entrepreneurial community that helps the brilliant people of the Silicon Forest earn a living doing something that they love.
There are communities all over the US trying to make this work. Some of them are taking steps similar to Portland. Some of them are coming up with new ways to deal with the solution. Folks from Asheville, NC, are finding ways to fund projects with government dollars. Boulder is running a series of Ignites that are continuing to draw the community together time and time again. People in Houston and Kansas City are using coworking spaces to get members of the community working together and sharing ideas. DC is using things like Tech Cocktail to help facilitate connections—and the tech scene is getting the opportunity to advise the local government on issues. And the guys at Silicon Prairie News are pulling in some amazing speakers for Big Omaha, an event that will help solidify their entrepreneurial community.
I’m hoping to spend more time with these folks over the coming months, visiting their communities, learning more about what they’re doing, and sharing more about what Portland is doing.
Funding for Portland projects must come from investors in Portland
Another conversation that repeated itself throughout the conference was the discussion about how to fund an entrepreneurial environment. And time and time again it came back to one simple point: for funding to work, it has to be local.
Now this works one of two ways. You either make your locality where the money is—by moving to the Valley for example—or you find local money to fund your project, local angels to invest in startups, and local funds to support larger investments.
You heard me right. Yes, yes. It surprised me, too.
I didn’t intentionally go to the conference to learn about the entrepreneurial environment in China. But as I began to learn more and more about it, I realized that the Portland startup scene had a great deal in common with the Chinese startup environment.
They’re building phenomenal products in China that none of us know about. They’re pushing technology in ways that rival or eclipse our ability to deploy it. China is perceived to have a wealth of development talent that outside companies want to tap. They’re attracting more and more entrepreneurs who see China as a land of opportunity. And the Chinese want to do business—but they want to do it on their terms.
Sounds pretty familiar to me.
Portland can succeed in Portland’s own way
Finally, the overarching theme of the conference sounded eerily similar to something I’ve tried to champion in Portland: Work hard at doing what you love and you will succeed.
There are a number of folks from Portland and the Silicon Forest headed down to Austin, Texas, this week for SXSW. And while I’ve heard about a number of those folks anecdotally, I thought it might be helpful for all of us if we compiled a definitive list of Twitter accounts, so you can keep tabs on who’s doing what.
(Of course, to keep tabs on who’s doing what where you’ll want to sign up for Shizzow, too.)
So here’s who I have so far. Please comment if I missed you, if I missed someone you know is going, if you just signed up for a Twitter account, or if I added you thinking you were going but you’re not. I’ll make sure to update the post as comments dictate.
The current list of Twitter accounts for Portland or Silicon Forest attendees at SXSW includes:
Today we are announcing the public launch of Shizzow, a location-based friend finder where you can declare your location, and it will notify all of your friends so that they may come join you for a drink or a cup of coffee. Shizzow has been in private beta since August 2008 with invites open only to a limited number of people in Oregon, California, and Washington. Anyone in the United States can now sign up for Shizzow with no invite required.
Why now? Shizzow has big plans for SXSW—the annual geek get together in Austin, Texas—where people are constantly trying to figure out “Where the heck are you?”
You may remember that Twitter took off at SXSW in 2007 by helping people find one another. Since then, everyone has had aspirations of recreating that magic. Shizzow has a good chance to do so, given that it’s even better suited for that “Where the heck are you?” task. Plus, they’re promising some features specifically targeted at the SXSW crowd.
Here’s a look at some of the apps that have already taken advantage of the API:
IceCondor is an android application that allows you to follow people and events in real-time. IceCondor takes advantage of map coordinates embedded in RSS feeds (called GeoRSS feeds) and allows them to appear as red markers on googlemaps. IceCondor works with multiple services including Brightkite, Shizzow, and Upcoming.org. Built by @donpdonp.
Shizzeeps.com shows you which shizzow users (known as shizzeeps) are congregating where at the moment. It also allows you to see their shout messages, and even send your own ephemeral message to the group at a particular place. Shizzeeps also offers a Twitter service: follow @shizzeeps to get updates every 15 minutes. Built by @crunchysue.
An iPhone client with list and map views of people and places, detection of nearby places to shout from, ability to auto-shout, and more. You currently need to build the Shizzup client from the source code to use it. Built by @wajiii.
A simple Shizzow application for Android to quickly find out where your friends are, or find out who’s nearby and listen to them. See their locations on a map, or their recent shout history. Browse nearby places, search for places by name and tag, add to your favorites, and shout from them. Automatically detect your location using GPS/wifi, or manually set it on a map for finer control. You currently need to build the f’shizzow client from the source code to use it. Built by @petercowan.
Baken is an Android (and iPhone, eventually) app that automatically finds nearby locations from Shizzow’s database. It also provides much of the functionality found on m.shizzow.com. Matt also has plans to take the app in new directions in the near future. Built by @mattg.
Exciting times for the bootstrapped Portland startup. Here’s hoping they continue to soar. And I’ll be sure to report on how they’re received by the crowd down at SXSW.
SXSW is a big stage for the young company. With the event’s mix of music and technology, it’s sure to give Mugasha access to some noted movers and shakers who will no doubt appreciate the service and its capabilities.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Mugasha has stepped into the limelight. (Akshay Dodeja of Mugasha took the chance to speak with Robert Scoble, last year, and I got the chance to profile them on ReadWriteWeb.) But SXSW marks Mugasha’s first chance to demo their private beta to a large group of people outside the immediate Portland tech scene:
Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator is the newest addition to the SXSW Interactive schedule of activities. Scheduled Monday, March 16 at the Downtown Austin Hilton, the event spotlights some of the web’s most exciting new innovations, enabling the entrepreneurial visionaries behind these new products to demo their creations in front of a live audience of industry professionals and technology trend-setters.
It’s great to see Mugasha—and by association, Portland—getting this sort of recognition.
Even if you’re not going to SXSW, you should give Mugasha a spin—especially if you like electronica. What’s Mugasha do? Basically, it parses DJ set podcasts—usually one long multi-hour track with no song info—into separate song tracks, allowing user to play the songs they want to play and actually know which tunes they’re playing.
For more information or to get an invite to the private beta, visit Mugasha.
Just a quick reminder that if you’re from the Portland area and you’re going to SXSW Interactive 2009, thinking about going to SXSW, or should be going to SXSW (you know who you are), then tonight would be a great opportunity to meet up with some folks of a similar ilk.
Well, in any case, come on out tonight! The get-together will be held at the Fez Ballroom, starting at 6. For more information, see Calagator. To RSVP, send an email to email@example.com with “Portland” in the subject. As in “Portland is awesome,” “Portland r0xx0rs,” or “RSVP Portland meetup.”
Still on the fence? Maybe this will help:
Also, one lucky attendee at the Portland party will win a FREE registration to the 2009 SXSW Interactive Festival. Bring your business card so you can enter the drawing!
It will be great to see what kind of Portland contingent is headed down to the event. And it’s never too early for us to strategize about who’s going to save seats at Iron Works and Las Manitas.
In a little over two months, a good chunk of the Portland tech scene will begin its annual pilgrimage down to Austin, Texas, for SXSW Interactive.
Maybe you’re going. Or maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of going. Either way, Dawn Foster highlights an upcoming meetup that you should seriously consider: SXSW Interactive Portland Meetup.
This will give you an opportunity to learn more about SXSW from the people who organize it. If you’ve never attended or were on the fence about attending, it’s a great opportunity to learn more. For those of us who already love SXSW, it gives us an opportunity to get to know some other Portland people who plan to attend.
The event will be held Monday, January 19, beginning at 6 PM at the Fez Ballroom.
And now here’s where it gets a bit weird. If you would like to attend, you should RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with “Portland” in the subject line. Because nothing says “cutting-edge interactive conference” quite like email.
All kidding aside, SXSW is an amazing conference. A place where you’ll find yourself talking to the best and the brightest in the industry and feeling like you’re definitely among people who “get it.” What’s more, the Portland contingent promises to be even bigger this year, so we’ll be able to take that shared experience back here—and we’ll continue to benefit from it all year long.
You should go. It’s well worth the time. And I’d love to see you in Austin in March.
It’s hard to believe that the annual geek pilgrimage to Austin, Texas, is almost upon us. That’s right, it’s time for SXSW2008. The geeky portion of the event, SXSW interactive, begins on Friday, March 7 and runs until Tuesday, March 11.
With all of the folks in attendance, I thought it might be valuable to have a list of what companies and what folks will be down in Austin. (If you don’t appear and would like to be listed, please comment, and I’ll work on updating the list.)
This list is by no means complete. Just what I know.
I mean, there are also a ton of Portland people from the creative industry headed down to SXSW. I lost count of the number of Wieden + Kennedy folks making the trip.
So, again, if you’re going down to Austin and you’d like people to know, post to the comments and I’ll continue to update this post.
And for all of you back home in Oregon, please stay tuned to SIlicon Florist for updates on the Silicon Forest contingent and their participation in SXSW. Or feel free to follow me on Twitter. There are sure to be some cool things happening.