Digital Mission Blog
The first time I went to South by South West interactive, the sheer volume of events was over-whelming. A predictably hurried decision to go left little time for any proper planning and the show whizzed by.
According to Aaron Brazell, second time out, the event should be an endless round of conference sessions, meetings and
partying networking. As part of the Digital Mission, featuring 35 of the UK's hottest digital companies, our group will number nearly 100. For more Brit-related shenanigans, keep an eye out for Rebecca Caroe's cunning plan.
With that in mind, a little preparation may go a long way. I've been collecting handy links for the last couple of weeks, and here's a compendium of over 30 resources that'll help make the SXSW experience tip-top. If you've got others to add, drop me a line or leave a comment below...
- South by South West interactive (SXSW) - main website for interactive trade show, panels, parties, etc.
- SXSW Tools - official tools, in particular sign-up for SMS alerts from SXSW (also available from My SXSW see below)
- my.SXSW - Social tool for attendees to build profiles, connect with friends (automatic imports with Facebook Connect and Twitter integration), Twitter-like service for contacting other SXSWers
It's worth spending a little time on my.SXSW. I found the navigation a little tricky, but there's some very handy features in there. I'm not quite sure how well the SXSW-only Twitter-like functionality will work, but the advanced user search is really useful for finding contacts by name, industry, company, etc across all the SXSW festivals.
Note that advanced search is only available on the homepage of my.SXSW. The site also features a full list of panels, as you'd expect, select a few you fancy popping along to, and they'll show up in your public profile (here's mine).
- my.SXSW - basic and advanced search of SXSWers user profiles including by city, industry, state plus import contacts from Facebook and Twitter
- SXSW 2009 Wiki - a Wikified list of attendees and other useful SXSW info, add more info about yourself on this site
Panel Planning & Scheduling
- SXSW Full Schedule - official list of the full SXSW interactive schedule (don't forget the interactive version for attendees on my.SXSW)
- Gary's Guide to SXSW - comprehensive list of SXSW interactive parties and happenings from Gary, the guy in the red tie, great resource
- Sched*SXSW - an all-inclusive SXSW schedule featuring all the official and unofficial events with a simple, easy interface that comes in iPhone-friendly flavour, too
- SXSW in Excel - All the panels for SXSWi in easy-to-filter and carry Excel format from Ann Hudspeth
- Adactio Austin - Simple, useful list of parties and networking events from Jeremy Keith
- Peter Kim's Map of Austin, TX - Google Map with loads of bars, restaurants, hotels, coffee shops around the Convention Centre (home of SXSW conference)
- Digital Mission map - Google Map for companies and friends of the Digital Mission companies
- Official SXSW Parties & Lounge info - *the* official run-down of lounges and post-conference action
- Friendfeed Party room - hints and tips on parties from those in the know
- Finding really good parties - planning tips on party-hunting at SXSWi from Ewan Spence
A couple of unofficial parties that are worth watching out for:
- 32bit - Next in the series (8bit, 16bit) of Scott Beale from Laughing Squid's historic parties, follow @32bit to get info on time/venue
- Unlisted - unofficial SXSWi After-party hosted by Austin Ventures and Dachis Corporation
Where would we be without the little blue birdy...there's probably heaps of people to add here, so do let me know.
- @digitalmission - follow the Brits on the Digital Mission as they visit SXSWi
- @sxsw - official Tweetage for SXSW
- @sxswi - Unofficial tweets about SXSW interactive
- @sxswparty - Not sure about this one, but hopefully the clue is in the name
- @sxswguide - Tweets from the ever-so useful SXSW Insider's Guide (see How To section)
- SXSW Insider - heaps of info from this excellent unofficial group (see also @sxswguide on Twitter)
- A guide to networking at SXSW interactive by statesman.com - wise words on 'working the room'
- Laughing Squid's SXSW Interactive 2009 Resources & Information by Scott Beale - one of the best lists of SXSWi resources
- Guide to SXSW Interactive from ZDNet's The Web Life
- 17 Travel Tips to Make Your Trip More Enjoyable by Vero Pepperell
- Crash Course on SXSW by Aaron Brazell - a three-year guide on tackling SXSWi
- A Geek's Guide to SXSW Film by Agnes Varnum - venture from interactive into the world of SXSW film
- Tips on rawking SXSW from sxswbaby.com forums - unofficial weblog of SXSW
- Top Tips To Survive During The Day At SXSW by Ewan Spence
- Flickr - SXSWi group on Flickr
- Youtube - SXSW Youtube channel
- Facebook - SXSW Facebook page
- LinkedIn - SXSW interactive LinkedIn group
- Delicious - sxsw, sxswi, sxsw09
- Hashtag - Follow the #SXSW hashtag
- Hashtag - Follow the #digitalmission hashtag
Austin, TXYou've come all this was for SXSW, but there's a whole city out there. And bats (I kid you not).
- Stuff to do in Austin while at SXSW by Len Kendall
- 100 coffee shops, 83% independent from Austin 360
- General Austin sites:
So, that's plenty to get stuck into. If you're not part of the Digital Mission, don't forget to check out our Expo stand (look for the mahoosive British flag). We'll be dishing out drinks and snacks as part of the SXSW Block Party on Sunday, 15th March between 4-6pm.
Plus, we're bringing the authentic British breakfast to Austin, with our networking event, the Great British Breakfast on Tue 17th March, between 10am and midday at Old Pecan Street Café. RSVP now and meet the cream of the UK's digital scene. See you there!
In the likely event I've missed off people, links, guides, etc - samchinwag [dot] com (subject: Info%20for%20SXSWi%20blog) (drop me an email), Tweet or add a comment below, thanks.
[Pic courtesy of Liz Henry]
The momentum is building as the final preparations are made by the 35 companies travelling to South by South West interactive as part of the first Digital Mission of 2009. We're excited to announce that Techfluff.tv have joined the Digital Mission as our video partners and will be joining the Digital Mission gang on the journey to Texas.
Their quirky, fast-paced take on the European tech scene is being put to good use with a series of videos highlighting these top British digital companies using iconic London landmarks as backdrops.
These videos will be shown on the two large plasmas that feature on the Digital Mission expo stand at SXSW, for a sample check out the latest episode filmed by Hermione and the Techfluff.tv crew.
More about Techfluff.tv
Dubbed the ‘RocketBoom and POP17 of Europe’, the weekly Internet and tech show Techfluff.tv will be travelling to SXSW in March to follow some of Europe’s most successful start-ups going on Digital Mission.
Techfluff.tv has been making waves in the UK and Europe with its entertaining yet informative style, showcasing some of Europe’s hottest start-ups and featuring a number of famous entrepreneurs as ‘Experts’ who answer people’s Tweets from Twitter.
Dragons’s Den alumnus and Digital Mission advisor Doug Richard, Theo Paphitis and Simon Woodroffe have all appeared on the show and MP Tom Watson, after appearing on the show, blogged:
Only nine episodes it’s clear Techfluff.tv is becoming a staple of the European tech scene. Techfluff.tv is a video partner of TechCrunch UK, media partner of the Digital Misson and is sponsored by Sun Microsystems and Flip video who recently helped Techfluff to provide tech news from all over Europe by providing cameras for Techfluff correspondents.
You must have travel authorisation granted by Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) at least 72 hours before your flight, so this is something for Digital Mission to SXSWi attendee's to get sorted ASAP.
British Airways say:
"The application process may take up to 15-20 minutes and authorisation is normally granted immediately, but may take up to 72 hours. Once granted, Travel Authorisation is valid for multiple entries to the US for two years, unless any answers to the YES/NO questions on the form change or a new passport is required. You are also required to provide Advance Passenger Information to the US government each time you travel to the US."
Here are some handy links with more information:
- Visit USA - http://www.visitusa.org.uk/visitors/esta.aspx
- The Guardian - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/12/britons-us-immigration
It looks remarkably similar to the green paper version that always proved tricky to fill out using an airline seat-back table.
N.B. When putting together this post, there were lots of sites offering to help fill in the ESTA Waiver Form for a fee. Currently, this isn't required on the ESTA website.
SXSW is starting a new program this year dubbed Accelerator. It's aimed at up and coming, under-the-radar products and companies who could benefit from the opportunity to present their latest ideas in social networking applications, innovative web based technology services or new audio / video products to a panel of industry experts, early adaptors, and representatives from the VC community. It will culminate with awards for the top products or services in each category.
There are four categories:
- Online Music-Related Technologies
- Online Video-Related Technologies
- Social Networking Applications
- Innovative Web Technologies
You can enter up to five products/services across the categories as long as:
- They were either launched since 16th March, 2009
- They are scheduled for release at some point up to three months after 16th March, 2009
Winners of each category can receive two badges for the 2010 SXSW Interactive event, a write-up in the April issue of SXSWorld magazine, plus additional prizes yet to be announced.
There's a $100 non-refundable application fee, but finalists will receive two passes to the SXSW Interactive Festival and those who do not qualify will be allowed to register for SXSWi at the early bird rate ($375).
The deadline is Friday 16th January, so no time to dawdle!
Thanks to Chris Harris for the Photoshop magic.