We Came, We Saw, We SXSW’d

As the last day of SXSW Interactive comes to a close, there was no shortage of places to go for disruptive innovation, technology and everything social. Heck, there was even a 3D printer that made oreos with personalized hashtags.

Here’s a look at some of the sessions and events I went to during the past few days in Austin.

One on One with Mark Cuban

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As Shark Tank fanboy, I couldn’t miss a fireside chat with Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner and tech investor. In packed hall of the Austin Convention Center, Guy Kawasaki and Mark Cuban talked sports, new tech investments, and advice for entrepreneurs.

“When I first came in here today, everyone was on their phones or tablets it seemed,” Cuban said. “But I don’t want to see that at events like this or even Mavericks games. In my opinion the experience will always trump technology. When you’re at a big game and your team makes a big comeback after being down by 10 points and now they’re up by nine, fans aren’t on their phones, but up off their butts and cheering.”

Cuban then talked about his latest tech investment called CyberDust, which is basically like Snapchat for texting.

“Is there any value at all in giving people that you send a text to the opportunity to save that text?,” Cuban asked. “We want to provide people with a way to communicate that is completely private and serve as an alternative to texting.”

Lastly, he gave some pretty great advice to upcoming entrepreneurs who have a great idea but are struggling with a big breakthrough.

“When I was at my first startup, I can remember buying buckets of ribs and eating them while coding and I ended up staying there for 36 hours one time,” he said. “You need to have an objective, a passion and an understanding of what it’s going to take to make it happen and once you fully commit, you’ll see the path much clearer.”

Millennials Demystified

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
This quote from Socrates was the opening screen shot by Roe McFarlane, the senior vice president, product development at Follett Higher Education Group. His talk started with how people view millennials embodying all of these characteristics and qualities but it’s just the opposite.

“They’ve grown up through times of terrorist attacks, massive amounts of student debt and the largest unemployment numbers to date,” he said. “They understand what people think they are like, but it only adds more fire to their flame of proving you wrong.”

He then went on to describe some millennial characteristics that are true today.

“Millennials multitask are always connected and want more and more personalized experiences,” he said. “They’re actually the biggest drivers behind business and in particular e-commerce. Why? Because 25 percent of the world consists of millennials and things like free shipping, easy POS, responsive design and even the ability to rent more often than buy is something that is helping drive business change, thanks to these tech savvy digital people.”

Drupal Drop In

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Just after Acquia CEO Tom Erickson and Acquia co-founder Dries Buytaert finished their Hacker and Hustler session on How to Code a Great Company, everyone met back at Maggie Mae’s roofdeck for food, live music and Drupal networking.

It was a great event put on by Acquia, Four Kitchens, Alley Interactive and Volacci.

Until Next Time

Well Austin, it’s been real. For my first time down to Texas, I’m leaving with great memories of food, music, sessions and incredible nightlife.

See you next year!

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