South by South West Is Over
It's over. Well, the Digital Mission to South by South West Interactive is at least. The companies rounded out the week with the Great British Breakfast, at the exquisite Old Pecan Street Cafe in Austin. The venue was filled to capacity with British companies and US businesses invited during the week, all looking to connect.
The UK companies donned bowler hats, making themselves easy to find in the crowd. Around the room, the UK Trade and Investment team were on hand, together with representatives from the BBC, The Guardian and TechCrunch.
What of the last few days of "south by"? There was a surprise win for Six To Start at the SXSW Interactive Web Awards (mentioned on TechCrunch). Workhound launched twitter jobsearch and there was activity from the other companies too.
Yes, if felt like there were almost as many parties as panel sessions at SXSWi; Yes, there was some snark in the press, but for most people there, SXSWi was about building connections as much as receiving content.A number of the companies closed business out on the trip, and others built bridges with potential partners.
The British presence was definitely felt, with a number of US attendees commented on the strength of presence from the UK Digital Media companies, a Brit invasion indeed.The last days at Expo stand were busy, with lots of press questions from The Guardian, Times, TechRadar.com, Web 2.0 and others. You can hear the Tech Weekly podcast on the Guardian - featuring Dave Haynes from Soundcloud talking to Jemima Kiss and Aleks Krotoski, as well as Shawn O'Keefe, the SXSWi program director who dropped in to the Digital Mission master class. If you are more visually inclined, check out the TechFluffTV episodes.
For the mission companies, South by South West Interactive ended with the UKTI organised BritBash! evening at the British Music Embassy. It featured some great acts from the Webb Sisters through Post War Years to The Proclaimers, who had the crowd marching away. A final breakfast, and then the flights home.
People have already started to blog their thoughts from the event and there are still pictures and coverage from the mission being added to flickr and delicious. The companies might be back in the UK, but the work of following up contacts from the trip is just beginning.