Digital Mission Blog

Digital Mission The Digital Mission series is run by Chinwag to support UK-based digital companies expand into new markets and attract overseas investment.

30+ Handy Resources for SXSW interactive

Visit our stand at SXSW 2009 Digital Mission

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.

sxswi parties - sunday night by Liz HenryAccording 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...


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).

Who's Going?

Panel Planning & Scheduling


Party Info

or..."Yes, that's right the Iron Cactus is an unusual name for a business centre. I was, <cough>, networking". Don't forget to check out Gary's Guide to SXSW and Sched*SXSW for listings info.

A couple of unofficial parties that are worth watching out for:


Where would we be without the little blue birdy...there's probably heaps of people to add here, so do let me know.



Austin, TX

You've come all this was for SXSW, but there's a whole city out there. And bats (I kid you not).

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 - samatchinwag [dot] com (subject: Info%20for%20SXSWi%20blog) (drop me an email), Tweet or add a comment below, thanks.

[Pic courtesy of Liz Henry] to track Digital Mission to SXSWi

techflufftv.pngThe 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 have joined the Digital Mission as our video partners and will be joining the Digital Mission gang on the journey to Texas.

Digital Mission

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 crew.

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More about

n511466982_4118.jpgDubbed the ‘RocketBoom and POP17 of Europe’, the weekly Internet and tech show will be travelling to SXSW in March to follow some of Europe’s most successful start-ups going on Digital Mission. 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:

Thing is, people are just getting on with it and doing it themselves. Sorry telly. I think this is a problem for you.

Only nine episodes it’s clear is becoming a staple of the European tech scene. 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.

US Visa regulation changes in a nutshell

ESTAAs of 12th January 2009, all UK visitors to the US will need to complete an online registration which replaces the Visa Waiver Form (the green card you usually fill out on the plane).

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:

The online application form can be a bit tricky to find, so we've provided a link below. The form and further information is listed on the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) website.

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.

Waiver Form

Pitch at SXSW Interactive - entries close Friday

For those travelling to Austin, Texas in March for SXSW 2009, either as part of the Digital Mission or seperately - here's a cracking competition to feast your eyes on.

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!

More info can be found at:

Or you can contact Chris Valentine on +1 512 699-3467 (remembering the time difference!)

Good luck! 

Texas Calling: the Brits are coming

35 digital companies head out to SXSWi in Austin this March on the next Digital Mission. Their presence at the event is highlighted in this new ad featured in SXSW World, the official conference mag.

Here's the ad which is also available to download in various sizes from the Digital Mission press page.

Digital Mission to SXSWi

Thanks to Chris Harris for the Photoshop magic.