Micah Baldwin on SXSW

I didn’t get the chance to head down to SXSW this year, but from the sound of it Colorado was well represented. Gwen wrote a bit about her experience down there, and what follows below is a guest post by Micah Baldwin on the same subject. Micah asked if he could chime in with a guest post, and I love Micah’s hilarious and occasionally-straight-up blog (Learn To Duck) so I thought he would have some interesting perspectives. Micah is the VP of Business Development at Lijit.

Guest post by Micah Baldwin

Every year, thousands of people in the interactive space descend on Austin, TX for SouthbySouthWest Interactive (aka “South By” or SXSWi). The Colorado tech community was no exception, with representatives sponsoring events, speaking on panels, and in the case of SocialThing, using the conference as a platform to launch their company publicly.

Here is a quick rundown of what Colorado startups were involved in at SXSW.


Of all the Colorado companies at SXSW, SocialThing considered the conference highly important in their marketing plan.

Following on the heels of DodgeBall in 2006 and Twitter in 2007, SocialThing hoped that SXSW would be the launching pad for their digital life management application. Prior to coming to SXSW, SocialThing had developed an iPhone version of their application, that they wanted to see on every iphone at the conference. In addition to sponsoring a party at the Pure Volume Ranch (the only venue in Austin to stay open past 2am), they had two exhibit booths, with Rock Band setup (there were no less than two Rock Band parties, and several Rock Band setups in the exhibit hall, clearly everyone loves this game).

Their party was a relative success, with a packed house and internet luminaries such as Pete Cashmore of Mashable and Robert Scoble of FastCompany.tv attending, and more importantly, during the party SocialThing was TechCrunched.

While I am not sure if they could be labeled “the break out app of SXSW 2008” (In fact, Michael Arrington tweeted and blogged that their competitor, FriendFeed, might in fact be), they did a great job of creating awareness and buzz. One tweet, from Ben Brightwell, the SocialThing CTO, showed that SocialThing had gotten 10x the signups that they normally get in a single day. Time will tell if the expenditure and effort will push SocialThing in front of a very crowded space.

Survey Gizmo:

Scott McDaniel and Derek Scruggs of Survey Gizmo headlined the panel: Core Conversation: GTD for Startups: Getting Things Done in the Real World. The Core Conversation panels are some of the most insightful and attended panels at SXSW.


Another Techstars company, Villij’s lead investor brought the team to SXSW, and among other things, Anthony Dimitre’s logo for the greatest Rock Band band of all time, could be seen everywhere.

StartupWeekend / VCWear:

While these are two very different companies, they are lead by one dynamic individual, Andrew Hyde. Andrew was on the panel Bankrupt your Startup in Five Easy Steps, which was covered in Wired (best line of the article: “Since the whole panel was about failing at startups, it was appropriate that Strebel, Tierney and Hyde failed at their panel”, and attended by a unicorn. He also was interviewed by Loren Feldman of 1938Media about StartupWeekend, and many of the past attendees of the event were at SXSWi. But, the real breakout of SXSWi was VCWear, an (almost) joke that has grown into a profitable Colorado based company, with a distribution deal and several celebrity endorsers, including Guy Kawasaki and Techstars Mentor Eric Marcoullier.

Several panelists and keynotes also repped VCWear, including Gary Vaynerchuk and Kathy Sierra (at about 1min into the video).


Lijit co-sponsored three events: The Colorado Interactive Party with PocketFuzz, The BlogNetworkCamp and Ranch with b5media. Todd Vernon, CEO of Lijit, spoke on the panel: Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR! and was interviewed by Robert Scoble, who is a Lijit user. I (Micah) was interviewed for BlogTalkRadio and got the greatest Rock Band band‘s logo tattooed on my arm. Tara was interviewed by b5media’s Aaron Brazell, The Conversation Group’s Deborah Crooks, Deborah Schultz and Jason Falls, of Social Media Explorer TV.

One by One Media and RonaldLewis.com:

Jim Turner, Social Media expert and Daddy Blogger, attended SXSWi, as did our very own Ronald Lewis, who spoke on a panel: Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers?


PocketFuzz headlined the wildly successful Colorado Interactive Party (co-sponsored by Lijit). With more than 3,000 attendees and a line that got so long that at 3:30am more than 500 people were sent home. Danny Newman of Pocketfuzz continues to throw the biggest party of SXSW. Their SMS to screen technology was showcased especially during the Digg party where thousands of SMS messages were displayed on two screens, and the SMS messages came from all over the world.

file under: Blog, Startups