SXSW V2V – Sophomore Year

I’m at SXSW V2V for its sophomore year run this week. Monday (yesterday) was the first full day of programming, with Sunday mainly being devoted to the kick-off party and finding one’s hotel room.

I’m here on something of a multi-pronged mission this year:

First, I’m checking out interesting location-based mobile services in action in the hotels, casinos and other venues around Las Vegas, since this remains such a hot, yet elusive area for several mobile developers based in Austin, including Mahana, TabbedOut, Appconomy (my firm, although we are mainly exclusively in China), and others

wannabe logo v1Second, I’m test-driving a new idea that we are working on in Powershift Group Labs, code-named wannabe – think of it as a more immersive LinkedIn but primarily for middle and high school students.

Third, I’m spending the better part of a day, on the ground, in downtown Vegas to see the Downtown Project first hand. My understanding is that the persuasion and funding of its backers – to help draw attention and an influential cross-section of the creative class from California and Texas – was a significant reason why SXSW V2V was launched here last year.

downtown projectAnd finally, of course, I’m taking in the panels and keynotes and other sessions. There were several I attended yesterday on a wide range of subjects from monetizing mobile apps, to attracting venture funding, to building a responsive organization, and more.

The two best were one by Taylor Conroy of Change Heroes and one by Steven Klein, a producer for the documentary “Print the Legend.” Taylor spoke about the origin of his for-profit social enterprise and how it had evolved; he’s an entertaining and effective speaker – watch his TEDx talk.

print the legendKlein’s talk was on “Why a documentary about startups is a startup” and was also, in its way, both entertaining and educational…I learned a few new things about the film business, mainly documentaries.

After last year’s launch of SXSW V2V, I know that I told many people that “this is the show” they needed to attend. The inaugural V2V reminded me of the early days of ATX-based SXSW Interactive – it was contained in a single venue (the Cosmopolitan conference center & hotel), a manageable yet extremely high quality crowd, and nearly every program session offered new ideas or inspiration.

All in all, Day 1 was a good start towards continuing last year’s momentum.  Onward to Day 2!


  1. Great update, Steve. Looking forward to hearing more about your experience out there. It’s nice to see how fast wannabe is coming along. Take care!

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