A few months back I was honored to have been selected to speak at this year's SXSW conference in Austin, TX as part of the "Future15" segment. This segment is made up of young entrepreneurs that are doing cool things in tech and other fields, and I was selected to talk about the future of online games in the "Better Tomorrow" subcategory. This also meant that I got a free pass to attend SXSW for the first time (everything is better when it is free, right?)!
I took the train down to Dallas to meet up with two friends from college who I was going with (they are fllow entrepreneurs, representing the Student Success Academy). On Friday morning, in usual SXSW craziness, our car broke down before we even made it out of Dallas. After getting repairs done and ultimately switching cars, we finally made it to Austin late that night. The rest of the weekend went without a hitch and the turnout at my talk on Monday was surprisingly very good. The video of my entire presentation is embedded below (it was only a 12 minute talk).
Ultimately, SXSW was a really great experience. I met a lot of great people, attended some really informative and inspirational talks and had an all-around great time. However, I can't seem to avoid the feeling that SXSW has started to go too mainstream and has turned into a marketing fest rather than a convergence of entrepreneurial energy. The conference is not lost by any stretch of the imagination, I just get the nagging feeling that something needs to change to restore the praises that I kept hearing in years past. If the coordinators of the conference want it to go mainstream then that is their prerogative, but in that case the startup culture needs to (and I believe will) move onto a great new conference.
I'm currently writing this post on the train back home to Oklahoma City, and I'm excited to reconnect with the awesome people I met in the near future. I'm also even more excited to start putting to use new things I've learned about and use this refreshed state of mind to hit the pavement running and take GoldFire Studios and all of its games and properties to the next level. Get excited for the future, I know I am!
Me on the red carpet at SXSW Film 2012
Banner outside of my session room
Outside the Austin Convention Center on the last day of SXSW 2012
Like I said, it is a marketing fest
Al Gore and Sean Parket on stage at SXSW 2012
Premiere of The Raid: Redemption at SXSW Film 2012
Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane on stage at SXSW Film 201
Like I said; again, advertising fest: HootSuite Bust