What’s up in tech? – ICDK@SXSW

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How do you sum up the experience of the incrediblly hyped tech-festival South by Southwest (SXSW) in one sentence?

Well, at first SXSW can be a bit overwhelming, if you don’t know your way around and how to attend all the secret events, but once that has been figured out, it can be a really good way to meet very different people and discuss business!

As a wrap up of the SCALEit week, 5 companies and the SCALEit team took the flight from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas to participate in the events.

The Mecca of Tech

SXSW is a festival in a broad term within three main categories: Interactive, Music and Film. It includes high profile speakers, presentations, product launches, panels, showcases, meet-ups, parties, and networking bringing together thousands of engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, journalists and a whole lot more. Basically, I would say that it is a huge melting pot of people coming together in Austin.

The festival has an official and an unofficial program. The official program had 76 parallel sessions going on at the same time Saturday morning! Even for experienced SXSW’ers that would be a bit too much to wrap your head around.

And then the unofficial program is even more difficult to get a hold of. There is a lot of semi secret events that one need to RSVP for, but all of them do one way of the other include free beers at a bar, if you can get in. These events symbolize want it all comes down to in the end: Networking!

Danes in Texas

As a first timer participant it was very confusion to get an overview of the activities going on. Many companies launched new products, startups were trying to get their new products to go viral by having new crazy marketing ideas: I saw 4 people dressed up as Bunnies, reading a book on a bench for the entire festival, and the Meerkat was all over social media.

As mentioned, the SCALEit companies were in Austin to pitch their ideas and present their companies to the many people present at the festival (and of course to network!). This was done through a main presence in the heart of the festival – the exhibitor show – at the convention center and through a co-hosted event with the other nordic countries Sunday evening. “The Nordic Pitch Night”.

The pitch night included 11 pitches from different Nordic companies in front of a panel of different investors that asked poignant questions. The two best pitches were invited to join journalist Henrik Føhns from the Danish Broadcasting Corporation radio program “Harddisken” in a discussion. Finally, to close off the night spectacularly, the Danish band Rangleklods gave a show.

Experience the SXSW-feel on Friday

All of the 5 companies were also interviewed to “Harddisken” and will featured in the episode Friday March 27 (in Danish).

Christian Vinther (chrvje(at)um.dk) represented ICDK at SXSW.

VIDEO: The Apple iPad 2 released! (edited on iPad 2)


There is ALWAYS extreme hype, rumors and attention connected to the release of certain Apple products – especially the iPhone and iPad. At this years SXSW, Apple launched the iPad on Friday, March 11th. Totally not in sync with their regular Tuesday rollouts.

Supposedly this was because it was Steve Jobs birthday. I don’t believe that! A few days after Apple launched the iPad, a story emerged about a brand new, only to be there for SXSW, pop-up store in Austin. This shop would be there for the 10 day period of SXSW – and THEN CLOSE! Can you imagine the cost of flying in your best sales people, equipment, renting the hottest facilities on 6th street, and then CLOSE?

SXSW has that much influence on the buzz! In the first day, only the Apple store on 5th avenue in New York sold more iPads. At day 2, only THIS shop had any iPads left. And when I left on Wednesday – the line was still heavy (I personally stood in line 3.5 hours on day #1. Apple fanboy, I know).

Enjoy this little video about my experience, and my time in the shop with my personal Apple guide.

 

 

iPad 2 launch at South by Southwest from Søren Therkelsen on Vimeo.

SXSW – dorks are rockstars!

It’s over! At least for this year. The Interactive part of South By South West in Austin, Texas – also known as SXSW – 2011.

The conference has a long history within the Music and Film industry – actually 18 years. Interactive was added to the program a few years later, and in the last 4 years, the conference has grown from 10.000 paying interactive badge holders (and little media buzz) to more than 40.000 badges – and a whole lot of buzz! Well, it might also have something to do with the unofficial program – another 40.000 are supposedly in town for this stuff  (eg events like the Startupbus).

And it is not without reason that techies, from all over the world, flee to this charming Texan city. Rockstars is no longer a flashy title reserved for successful bands. The best CEO’s, Bloggers and Thinkers from the techcommunity, is all the new black! And they all come here. To be recognized for what they build, say or do and  to be inspired from the hundreds and hundreds of talks and panels. To celebrate and party in some of the wet tech parties. Actually, those reasons are the same for the rest of us. And even here in Silicon Valley, you wont have as good an opportunity to socialize with our top industry people.

This blogpost could easily be 10.000 words long, but I will leave you wondering exactly WHY I am so excited about SXSW. Twitter got the eyes of the crowd in 2007 – and never looked back (today: defacto standard at SXSW). Foursquare did the same in 2009 (same story). This year GroupMe was the talk of town (group texting) – look out for them!

After just 24 hours at the conference, I knew that ‘I was coming back’. Guess that makes all the sense in the world when you meet Gary Vaynerchuk (Author and founder of Winelibrary.com) and Dennis Crowley (CEO of 4SQ). And the more than 150 buspreneurs. And..and… Yeay, you really should go in 2012!

I will upload a video of some of the content experienced at the events. Both interactive showcases, parties and talks.

For now – enjoy this video: The New Dork!

/Søren

 

Startupbus! So far, 20 hours of pitching, group forming, idea validation and pure hacking!

Startupbus! A crazy idea with a crazy vision! I am on the San Francisco bus (this is Søren, the ICT intern writing). The Startupbus is a hackathon happening on 6 buses going across the country (from San Francisco (me), Silicon Valley, Chicago, New York, Miami and Cleveland). We are 160 young entrepreneurs who are all heading to South By South West (SXSW) in Austin. To get a grasp of what we are doing, read these articles from today by Keith Axline (Wired) and Daniel Terdiman (cnet) – both guys are on my bus.

People on the bus are from all over. We have literary people from all over the world! I met a guy who flew in from Hungary, one from England, 3 from Australia and one from Taiwan. So me being danish is nothing special. I love that!

I basically joined the bus to build a FNAC (Feature Not A Company). I found a cool Icelandic guy that I wanted to hack with, and we formed the team with 3 others. The idea was to build a “geo-notify-app”. The app was simply to warn you (or someone else) when you were X minutes away from your desired destination. If you, like me, often take the train or the bus to work, you could be in the risk of falling asleep. Result: missing your stop (that happened to me more than once in Denmark!). The alarm would fix that. The app could also work external, so it would send a text to my girlfriend when I were 15 minutes away from final destination (ex train station). She would then have time to come by and pick me up: wuhuuu! So, a nice little FNAC! This could easily be build before arriving in Austin – you buying it for 0.99 cents on Android or iPhone.

Then happened, what I have seen happening before, on these trips. The vision of the team was not clear! A few of the guys wanted to build a service (a more long-lasting product that would take further development), and we ended up by going for that. To make a long story short: I will get back to you on that tomorrow! I am simply not yet sure of we are trying to develop (which makes me a little sad… I WANT TO BUILD!).

But! Fun times, inspiring people, crazy bumping bus, to much red bull and 20 hours of work today. I have to be up in 5 hours, so, gotta go! (sleep is key)

Søren

Ps. You can follow all busses in-real-time with position, tweets, pictures, blogs posts etc. on www.startupbus.com

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