SxSW May Have Jumped the Shark…But I don’t Care

5 Apr

January 2011 The SnapGoods team is excitedly talking about the fact that we’re locking in accommodations for our newbie trip to Austin, Texas for SxSW 2011.  We’re up for an innovation award in the Community category.  We’re in the middle of planning and building our 2.0 to put the want and the assist at the center of your experience and right as we’re wrangling tickets, making house plans, posting want ads for bikes and other gear on SnapGoods Austin (which didn’t really exist at the time) we start to hear it: rumblings of veteran distaste for 2011.  Indications that

Sx might be over.

‘Oh crap,’ I think to myself, it’s last call and the three musketeers of SG have only just now put on our best chemises to head over to the party.

Where the party at?

I wonder if all the beer will be gone?  Will all of the legitimately cool kids that I like, respect and hope to grow up and be like have headed to some other scene by the time we get to this SxSW shinding?  I stew on it and plan our debutante ball.

February/Early March

Snapbracelets? Check. SnapGoods scannable QR codes?  Check. Check.  Let’s Hook Up t-shirts, and memory cards? You bet your sweet Snapgoods-orange chuck taylor booty!

Oh Snapbracelet!!

Let's Hook Up...Music Festival Style

So we’ve got housing, we’ve got a party to throw, we’ve got mad friends and Snapbassadors repping us and headed down with.  And we’ve also got this growing wave of veterans and experienced people protesting the carnival that SxSW has purportedly become.  But we’re still going.

March 11th-March 19th We. Rocked. Out.  We met tons of people.  Had tons of brunches, drinks, fist bumps, high fives, debates, laughs (oh my God so many laughs), connections, opportunities.  We met new people, connected new people, got to know old people (like literally geriatrics and friends we already had) better, saved the day for a few bands as a company (amps blow, stores close, SnapGoods community doesn’t), slept little, played hard, got motivated, understood our customers better, understood how other people saw our product better, skipped lines, crashed parties, saw WuTang Clan live, hung out and talked real-life stuff with funny actor man and evolved thinker Romany Malco.  So like I said it was fantastic.

Was it overdone? Sure.  Was there way too much going on to enjoy everything? No question.  Were there to many friggin’ oversponsored overwrought velvet line-y (really Geek Gods? Really I can’t get in to this b2b CRM pencil-sharpening software party?) Did it have the authentic cosa nostra feel of yesteryear when it was only the hardest core of hardcore geeks…I would know but I SERIOUSLY doubt it.  But I can share with you this last, greatest part: The most beautiful part of South by Southwest to me was the unfettered, unbridled intensity to achieve.  There were TENS OF THOUSANDS of bands, startup entrepreneurs, filmmakers all there to do one thing: show off the thing they made that they believe can change the world.  Period.  And it was intoxicating.  Perhaps it was annoying to have all of these newbies running around but you have to stand in awe of the countless hordes of individuals who all believe that the statistics are talking about the other guy.  The the 95% of bands that never get a deal story is someone else’s story.  That the 90% of startups that never even make it past the first year are the companies started by other guys.

So here’s to you, guy who works at the movie theater and is a part-time Manny to fund film school which got you the submission at SxSW.  And to you dudette who quit her stable well paying job to launch that awesome art application that will change how we access art.  And to you intrepid lead singer fella who manages to hold down 3 jobs at 4 different fast food joints while gigging your way in to SxSW showcases by performing 4 nights per week back home.  Rock the hell you guys.

And to you vets, I hear you on the shark jumping but ask that you remember that the corporate interests are not NEARLY as important for Sx as encouraging and fanning that flame for dream pursuing.  And there are very few places I have EVER been to with such a high level of collective aspiration.  So let’s support THAT, if nothing else.  In the end who cares if Sx jumped the shark as long as creatives are collaborating and innovating and making real change happen?  Strap me on some waterskis with the Fonz and count me in.


4 Responses to “SxSW May Have Jumped the Shark…But I don’t Care”

  1. will April 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    I’m still bummed I didn’t get a snapbracelet. You guys should sell ’em on your site.

    • @ronjdub May 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

      We definitely owe you a snapbracelet or twelve! When are you next in NYC or Cali?

  2. Yan May 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Well said my friend. . . shark or no shark it was a good show. People that have never gone always ask what SXSW is like. I tell them its a lot like college. If you are there to work, there are plenty of deals to be had. If you are there to party, there is no shortage. You get out of it what you want.


  1. Stoked to be Poked « Building and growing the Access Economy - April 22, 2011

    […] Well, in this case in the past couple of weeks we have been asked to speak a few times.  The most recent suggestion was from our good friend Laurie Davis, Founder of awesome service eFlirt expert.  She hit me and asked if I would be interested in submitting my personal SxSW and startup story to Seth Godin’s awesome digital publishing project Poke the Box.  I said heck yeah and so the origin story of SnapGoods got to be memorialized alongside a gaggle of other awesome and motiveated creators, doers and shakers (so who cares if SxSW jumped the shark, right??) […]

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