SXSW Interactive Summarized

by Larry Chiang on December 13, 2009

Larry Chiang forecasts conference dynamics about blogs about entrepreneurship.
If you liked “10 Things They Don’t Teach You at Business School “, “The Art of Changing a Deal“, and How to Work a Twitter Party, Take 2you’ll like his newest submission: “SXSW Interactive Summarized“.

Before he is done, you’ll have a pocket full of tips, techniques, strategies and ideas that you did not glean from your tier one MBA and new contacts that you can Facebook-chat for entrepreneurial mentorship.

By Larry Chiang

SXSW Interactive has been a rolling party. Any collection of innovative thinkers marianating their brains with alcohol will release thoughts, ideas, tips and mentorship. I found major veins of knowledge and I summarize them from SXSW alums, attendees and crashers.

-1- Sponsorhip Loyalty, Engage.
Be Like Lightning McQueen, SXSW alum 2005. McQueen is the up and coming race car celeb in Pixar’s Cars. Here’s what he learned at SXSW in 2005, “Be Nice To Your Old Sponsors”. He stayed loyal to Rusteez and passed on DinaCo. I love Lighting McQueen.

-2- Let people Make Fun of You at SXSW.
It’s smart to “Let people Make Fun of You at SXSW”. Even smarter is to know how they make fun of you.

-3- Value Added HotBoxing
Hot boxing is sour. Value adding is sweet. Corner them in the Four Seasons work-out room.

-4- Crash That SXSW Panel.
Crashing your friends into SXSW parties is easy. Crashing them onto a panel is tough…

Nothing electrifies a stadium section like a foul ball or an athlete diving into the seats. Well nothing energizes an audience more than promoting an audience member up to the panel. Search Summize or Google “#vcSecrets”.


Mark McCormack wrote this bestseller in 1983 and my book is the sequel.


-5- Panel Selection is a Year Long Process
Congressmen are distracted because they are always running for re-election. Its cuz they need to worry about re-election right from the start of their two year tenure. SXSW’s ‘tenure’ is only a year so start petitioning for your panel right after your last panel.

-6- Never Be The Conference Donkey.
Dave Mathews was mean and cut in on my man-charming Tim Street, @1timStreet, by call me a “douchie party tweeter”. Conference Donkey = Dave Mathews. Google “Conference Donkey”, he is #1.

-7- Funny AND Informative.
If your joke bombs, at least they learned something because you were informative. Hacking SXSW is funny. Hacking the Four Seasons is downright hi-larry-ass.

-8- Plan B for BoxBreaking.
If your size 14 Ugg never arrived. Have a plan B.

There were a bunch of tier one bloggers that obviously ordered online more accurately than me on the easy to splurge Zappos site. Because of my error, my shoes never arrived. My plan B was to box up my own shoes and let the show go on.

-9- Never Name Drop Larry Chiang.
Remember, we wanna never coat tail a person sliding UP at a horizontal angle. Remember this about me: Same job, same car and same effen dorm room since 1999. True story.

-10- Learn From Everyone.
Think Shira Lazar and Julia Allison are hotties with no brains?!  Well, I got mentored by them. Huh? Yes, I took note and did a interday wardrobe change too. This means if you’re gonna be in a lot of pictures, have a buncha different looks — Yes, this means wardrobe changes.

-11- Pepsi Competition, Take 2
Pepsi sponsored a “Pitch Your Start-up” competition and I sold Duck9 to “investors” over a recorded interview.

If you’re pitching. Keep pitching til you do it right. There’s no rule against doing a second take. I am guessing most entrepreneurs just took one whack and didn’t think to hack the competition and doing multiple takes.

More nuggets of knowledge…

“Sleep isn’t necessary when you’re inspired to meet, build and invest in online relationships, offline, especially when they’re in the same city at the same time, it’s all about 24/7 @sxsw”
Brian Solis. PR 2.0, Future-Works PR

“It’s the person that humanizes their business and cares that will stand out at the end of the day. This day in age, once your product works that’s the first step, but the ultimate success lies in the culture and morals it extends. There’s no textbook to teach an entrepreneur moral skill and power and the ability to care.”
Shira Lazar

On advice for financing your startup with alternative and less traditional methods, Dan Martell recommends, “Get your potential customers to pre-pay you for your app / service. This is also known as customer financing done with an ‘Early Adopter Program’.
Works best with B2B startups – just need to hustle and close some sales, then rush like a mad man to deliver on time :-).”

“Companies need to stop serving the stock market and get back to serving their market. The market isn’t just potential customers, it’s the whole ecosystem.” -Chris Heuer

In the course of some amazing conversations with great friends here at SXSW I learned how to position and sell my services. Specifically – I learned new names for what I do which will lead to better response rates in targeted industries. -Shannon Clark

“The one thing I learned or took away from SXSW is this:  People in the social media world say that “content is king” and I take it one further and say Relationships are King!  The relationships you build at SXSW are the most powerful thing, and the more genuine you are and value you provide to others, you can take that with you forever.”
-Lewis Howes

“What you may not have learned in business school is that a lot of business involves relationships, and managing those relationships is incredibly important to the success of your business.  There is the expression that all politics is personal, but you quickly learn that a number of your partnerships – with customers and with venders – are personal as well, and being responsive and thoughtful to the people you interact with is incredibly valuable.”
-Dina Kaplan, blip.tv

I learned how to spot an AC outlet from miles away. (thanks, iPhone!)

Also, I learned that the Internet, like sxsw, is just people. Knowing how to meet and talk to ’em is everything.
Lila King
CNN iReport

“They Don’t teach you about inbound marketing and how to converse with your customers as friends. You would never tell a friend that something is “Fast and Easy.”  Why tell your audience that? Speak in a conversational voice as if you are sharing information with friends and your consumers will find you and share your information with their friends.”
-Tim Street

“I learned that 90% of the networking happens in the halls or over
drinks in the evening. When you go to sxsw, you should attend the
panels that directly affect your industry, but expect to make all the
connections (which is why you’re there), in the afternoon or evening.”
Tyler Willis
Director of Marketing, Involver

“You don’t need an MBA to be a successful entrepreneur. In fact an MBA may even be a liability. Breakthrough success in business comes from doing things differently than they have been done before, and by adapting to change in unprecedented ways. What you know may blind you from seeing what you don’t know. It’s the things you don’t know yet which are the real opportunities and challenges. To really be successful you have to be able to forget what you learned in B School and try new things.”
Nova Spivack,
CEO and Founder of Radar Networks/Twine

Hope to see you next year at SXSW or this year for ACL in Austin. I’ll be on the Twitter so check @larryChiang for updates. If you’re feeling randy, text messaging my cellie, 650-283-8008. I keep office hours so you can even call me (don’t call to see if I’ll pickup cuz I will so you better have a question for me :

If you liked this, you will LOVE:



Larry’s book releases 09-09-09


Larry Chiang is the founder of Duck9, which educates college students on how to establish and maintain a FICO score over 750. He has testified before Congress and World Bank on credit.

He is a frequent contributor to Business Week’s blog on “What They Don’t Teach You at Business School“. For fun, Larry blogs, attends tech conferences and hoops it up at Stanford’s Arrillaga  Center for Sports and Recreation. Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-111 minutes at 650-283-8008.

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