5 things I’ve learned in 24 hours as a SXSW newbie

I’ve wanted to attend SXSW for years, deeply curious about the confluence of media and technology that descends on Texas each March. In my first trip in person, here’s what I’ve learned so far (and how I’ve come to understand people who grow weary of “Southby”).


During spring break, geeks hit Austin’s South by Southwest Interactive festival instead of the beach, and with more than 10,000 participants talking…

MTV brings back the music with new artist pages

MTV wants to embrace indie bands in a big way, launching 1 million artist pages later this summer. But how is the network going to make sure artists actually sign up? Tie-ins with its on-air programming and e-commerce opportunities could be key.

Seen at SXSW: Mobile phone batteries suck

Smartphones have utterly captured SXSW, and while there are certainly tablets and laptops to be seen, the outlets are ruled by dying smartphones. Why? Batteries still have a long way to go, and the conference environment can be uniquely stressful for handsets.

Sphero is a startup with Bluetooth-controlled balls

Tech toys used to refer to fancy gadgets, but the phrase now describes actual toys. At SXSW I stumbled (quite literally) across Sphero, a ball that contains a gyroscope, an accelerometer, Bluetooth and an array of lights controlled by a smartphone or tablet.

Healthcare needs a big data infusion

To improve medicine, we need a big heaping dose of data. That’s the takeaway from a conversation with Aneesh Chopra, the former U.S. CTO, at SXSW in Austin on Friday. He discussed where startups interested in this space should focus on as well as privacy.

Isis’ campaign to win over consumers starts at SXSW

Isis, the mobile payment joint venture of Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, is showing off its service for the first time to consumers at SXSW. The NFC mobile wallet has been lining up the necessary components for a limited launch this summer.

10 ways not to be a jerk at SXSW

“Every year at SXSW, I meet the most amazing people, and sometimes a few jerks,” says Peter Corbett, CEO of iStrategyLabs. Corbett offers ten tips to help newbie CEOs avoid jerk territory and make the most of their time in nerd heaven.

5 things I learned at AngelHack

If you’ve never been to a hackathon, give it a shot even if you can’t stick it out for the full ride. AngelHack Boston entrants started coding at noon on Saturday and finished 30 hours later. I was there for 10. Here’s what I learned.

Where are the best parties at SXSW? Let Localmind tell you

Last year, Localmind launched its crowdsourced location app at SXSW, allowing users to ask local “experts” anything about nearby bars and restaurants. This year, it hopes to alleviate some of the frustration of a town filled with dozens of parties and tens of thousands of partygoers.

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Opening Night at the SXSW iPad 2 Pop-up Store

SXSW Interactive is a conference made for the iPad 2, but the timing of its release presented a huge problem for attendees who also wanted the updated tablet. Apple’s solution? A hastily-assembled pop-up store in downtown Austin, where I waited for hours for the ultimate prize.

SXSW Is Apptastic!

What the CES or the Mobile World Congress is to gadgets, SXSW is to apps. I’m amazed by not only the number of apps that are launching, but by how prepared attendees are to try new apps out. Mobile-focused development has reached a tipping point.

Where to Watch SXSW Live Online

South By Southwest was the place where Twitter and Foursquare took off, and we’re to see a few success stories this year as well. But if you can’t make it, don’t worry: a growing number of panels and concerts will be streamed live online.

Foursquare, Gowalla Get the SxSW Bump

Geo-local services were the center of attention at South by South West. Thanks to all the hoopla, Foursquare and Gowalla, the two major competing geo-location services managed to snag tens of thousands of new subscribers. Both companies had released updates to their apps before the event.

The 3 Best Things I Saw at SXSW

“Location wars” between rival services, unmet expectations of the Twitter keynote and the hordes of newbies crowding out regulars were some of the leading threads at SXSW. But I saw three things I think showed us the way social technology will work in the near future.

SXSW: LikeCube Powers Recommendations for Locations

LikeCube combines metadata, user activity and personalization to help its clients, such as Qype, the European Yelp, recommend locations on a per-user basis. It works around the idea that the wisdom of the crowds isn’t smart enough to find the right place for everybody.

Entrepreneurial Stereotypes on Display at SXSW

Picture a tech startup founder. Are they male, maybe around 27 years old, and a resident of Silicon Valley? Apparently that’s what it takes to build a tech startup according to the explicit and implicit wisdom shared at the Seed Combinator’s panel today at SXSW.

SXSW: Twitter to Launch @Anywhere, Fails to Live Up to SXSW Hype

After attendees waited an hour see the event, Twitter CEO Evan Williams’ keynote at SXSW disappointed thanks to a lackluster product launch with @Anywhere, and a dull interview by Havas Media Lab director Umair Haque which had the audience tweeting complaints and finally leaving.

Do Social Network Users Have a Right to Privacy?

When you post an update on Facebook, should you expect it to stay private? You intend that only your pre-approved group of friends will see your update, but what if others do? Have your rights to privacy been violated unfairly? What do you think?

SXSW: Shirky's New Opportunities in Public Sharing

Today social technology theorist Clay Shirky delivered a fitting counterpoint to Danah Boyd’s keynote on privacy at SXSW the day before. Where Boyd spoke of the danger of making information more public than users intended it, Shirky talked about new opportunities for sharing information.

SXSW: Boyd Calls Out Google and Facebook for Abusing Users' Privacy

Researcher Danah Boyd brought fighting words to SXSW, where she delivered a well-received keynote on the subject of online privacy and publicity, calling out Google and Facebook for being cavalier with their users’ personal information, including repurposing it for a larger audience.

Foursquare Turns 1 With Half a Million Users

Foursquare, the New York-based location services startup, has more than 500,000 users and 1.4 million venues, it announced today, one year after it launched at SXSW. The company says it had its biggest day ever last Friday, with 275,000 check-ins.

Pay for Drinks at SXSW Using Your iPhone

Now here’s a killer app for the throngs of geeks about to descend on Austin: TabbedOut. The iPhone application allows users to pay for their tabs at local bars. It sounds like the perfect fix for those full-to-the-gills parties SXSW is known for.

The Unreleased iPad Haunts SXSWi

Apple’s iPad will star at four panels at the upcoming South by Southwest Interactive festival next week even though it’s not out yet. But iPad excitement masks a bigger theme for this year’s SXSWi — the search for the best mobile experience for users.

How AT&T Plans to Keep SXSW From Swamping Its Network

Last year the hordes of South by Southwest-attending geeks toting iPhones blew out the AT&T network around the convention center in Austin. This year AT&T is pulling out all the stops to make sure the digerati have the coverage they want during the event. Here’s how.

Can You Crowdsource Journalism? Seed Is Trying

Saul Hansell, who left the New York Times to help run AOL’s new Seed project, says his first big project is finding writers who will interview every single one of the 2,000 artists and bands that are appearing at the SXSW festival.

SXSW Diary: The Good, the Bad, and the Schwag

Editor’s Note: This is another in our series’ of founders’ diaries of their experiences, good and bad, attending tech’s biggest confabs. Also…

@ SxSW: Closing Thoughts: Well, That Was Fun

It was. And now it’s over. Everyone else flew home yesterday or today, having experienced a whopping 8 square blocks of Austin. Sure, I’ll t…

What I learned at SXSW

Editor’s Note: One of contributors, serial founder Aruni Gunasegaram attended SXSW Interactive for the first time this year, and she learned a…