SXSW

10 Really Stupid Mistakes Your Startup Is Making

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Stop wearing fedoras to your VC pitch meetings, startup founders.

When investor money and tech blog mentions rain down, startups can make silly mistakes, like blowing all their cash on a mechanical dinosaur. The cast of HBO’s Silicon Valley came to SXSWi, the mecca of startups, to deliver on-point advice for not being a entrepreneurial idiot

Listen to these guys — they play startup types on TV

Silicon Valley premieres April 6 on HBO.

BONUS: What Is Bitcoin and How Does It Work?

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Fourth Person Dies Following SXSW Car Crash

DeAndre “Dre” Tatum, 18, of Fort Worth, Texas, died on Thursday from injuries sustained after a suspected drunken driver crashed through a crowd at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin earlier this month.
Tatum is the fourth person to die from t…

Grumpy Cat Rides a Wrecking Ball in Yiying Lu’s SXSW Illustration

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Yiying Lu mixes whimsy with nods to technology and pop culture in her designs.

The Sydney-based artist’s work has appeared as web logos, in fashion magazines and most famously, on Twitter’s early error page. Lu’s “Lifting a Dreamer” became better known as the “Fail Whale” after Twitter found the image on a stock-photo website in 2008.

Lu stopped by the Mashable House at SXSW 2014 to create a special piece inspired by the space. The result was a kooky, brilliant collision of Miley Cyrus and the Internet’s most famous feline — that’s right, it’s Grumpy Cat riding a wrecking ball Read more…

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A Third Person Dies of Injuries Sustained by SXSW Crash

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Sandy Thuy Le, 26, became the third person to die from injuries sustained during a car crash outside of several nightclubs in Austin, Texas, during SXSW when she passed away Monday. She was hit outside The Mohawk music club early in wee hours of March 13.

Le, who is from Pass Christian, Miss., sustained head injuries, according to the Associated Press, and had been in critical condition at the University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin since the accident.

Local police say an intoxicated Rashad Owens, 21, was driving away from police that fateful night when his silver Toyota Sedan smashed through a barricade and sped into a crowd of people at 11th Street and Red River Street, killing two at the scene and injuring 21 others. Fifteen patients were quickly treated and released, but seven are still hospitalized; five reside at the university’s medical center, including one in critical condition. Read more…

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Exclusive TED 2014 content to be featured in Ideas section of Facebook’s Paper app

The Ideas section of Facebook’s Paper iPhone application will be the home to exclusive content from TED 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday through Thursday as part of a collaboration between the social network and the…

CTRL ALT Delete – Weekly Technology And Digital Media Review – CHOM FM #23

Every morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio broadcasting out of Montreal (home base). It’s not a long segment – about 5 to 10 minutes every week – about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital me…

The Mashable Community’s Best SXSW Photos

SXSW 2014 is officially over. This year’s Austin-based gathering of the latest in tech, music and movies was packed with inspiring participants and attendees, and the Mashable community was there to catch it all in photographs.
Last week’s photo chal…

SXSW Crash Victim Treated to Private Concert in Her Hospital Room

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AUSTIN, Texas — Mason Endres hugs a plush toy and closes her eyes Saturday in a hospital bed, days after an intoxicated driver crashed through barricades and struck her and others while fleeing police during South by Southwest.

The bruised and broken 18-year-old hears music that isn’t coming from a radio, television or laptop. It’s live from her bedside courtesy of Jared & The Mill — one of her favorite bands

She requests “Just for Now,” a ballad with emotional lyrics: “But for the record, you reminded me, reminded me that I’m not here alone …Read more…

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Rapper Tyler, the Creator, Charged With Inciting SXSW Riot

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AUSTIN, Texas — Rapper Tyler, the Creator, of the hip-hop collective Odd Future was arrested this weekend at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for a misdemeanor charge of inciting a riot earlier in the week during a South by Southwest concert

The Austin Police Department took the 23-year-old artist, born Tyler Gregory Okonma, into custody Saturday and released him on a $25,000 bond. He played a sold-out show in Dallas later that day.

The riot charge spawned from a raucous incident at his Thursday show at the Austin venue Scoot Inn. Okonma reportedly encouraged fans waiting in line to forcibly enter the concert venue despite employees at the door telling everyone to stay put because the venue was filled to capacity. Read more…

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‘Before I Disappear’ and ‘Cesar Chavez’ Win Big at SXSW Film Festival

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AUSTIN, Texas — Oscar-winner Shawn Christensen can now add South By Southwest Film Festival winner to his resume, as his much anticipated film Before I Disappear won the festival’s audience award in the narrative feature category on Saturday

Before I Disappear is based on Christensen’s short film Curfew, which in 2013 won the Academy Award for best live action short film. In the film about loneliness and self-discovery, suicidal New Yorker Richie (played by Christensen; pictured above) follows the same plot as in Curfew but with more bells and whistles. His suicide attempt is thwarted after an estranged sister (Emmy Rossum) asks him to babysit his 11-year-old niece Sophia (Fatima Ptacek) Read more…

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Homeless Animals Feel the #Love at SXSW

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AUSTIN, Texas — A homeless poodle named Tater-Tot found love and a future at SXSW 2014

Tater-Tot, along with thousands of other cats and dogs in need, have a new home and a chance at compassion, thanks to events and social campaigns that raise awareness and funds for Austin’s pet population.

Brooklynite Jessica Murphy and her partner, Stephanie Patafio, didn’t book their trip to SXSW with plans to return with a dog. But that changed when they spotted Mr. Tot Monday at PETstameet, an event staged by Instagram and the ASPCA

Under a colorful canopy of umbrellas, pet lovers rubbed paws with local animals looking for permanent homes and waited in line for dog-friendly glamour photo shoots. But Murphy found something better than a cute photo op: an irresistible furry friend. Read more…

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SXSW’s Official Hammock Offers Relaxation for Good

Relaxation is not a word most people associate with the marathon of events and parties that is SXSW. But visitors to this year’s festival have found popup “relaxation stations,” clusters of colorful hammocks for event goers to take a moment to put th…

No Sleep, No Badges, No Clean Clothes: Startup Does SXSW Guerrilla Style

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Last time I emailed with them on Wednesday afternoon, Tommy Spero and Ray Archie were stuck in the Dallas airport. The jet for their 6:30 a.m. flight endured a bird strike. The smaller replacement plane didn’t have room for them

So they camped out in the TGI Friday’s — still wearing the t-shirts for their startup that they have donned all week — and started sending emails to people they met at SXSW

“No sleep!” Spero e-mailed me

In the end, the best he could do was a flight to Philadelphia, followed by an Amtrak train to New York City, then an hour on the Long Island Rail Road to get home. It is a long end to a long week that Spero, Archie and countless other startups have endured — SXSW on the cheap Read more…

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23 Whimsical Disney Posters That Took a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

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AUSTIN, Texas — Disney got Austin weird for SXSW.

Artists at Austin’s Mondo Gallery, the collectible art division of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, put a quirky twist on classic Disney movie posters for an exhibit that debuted at SXSW. The gallery collaborated with Disney blog “Oh My Disney” for the show, titled “Nothing’s Impossible!,” a nod to Alice in Wonderland.

“Oh My Disney is about connecting Disney with digital natives through humorous, heartfelt, and imaginative stories,” said Dan Reynolds, director of social strategy for Disney Interactive. “Mondo’s success at bringing classics to life through creative designed for social audiences made them the right partner for this experience at SXSW.” Read more…

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How I Learned To Separate The Benefits From The Babble At SXSW 2014

At some point in the murky time vortex that is Austin, Texas, during South By Southwest, I ran into a man named Alex Taub. He was wearing a faded St. Louis Cardinals cap. I was wearing a faded Boston Red Sox cap. We stopped and stared at each other, faux animosity lighting up our faces. (The Sox beat the Cardinals in the World Series twice in the last decade, including last year.) It was a shared moment. We then smiled and shook hands.

With a friend, Taub had just launched a service called SocialRank, after being the lead for business development and partnerships at mobile payments company Dwolla for the last couple of years. We ended up talking about what he was doing with SocialRank, our mission at ReadWrite and mutual acquaintances like Dwolla CEO Ben Milne and Business Insider writer Alyson Shontell.

Then the topic turned to the reason we were in Austin: South By Southwest Interactive, the crazily intense week-long tech “festival” that has become a mecca for designers, developers, and marketers whom you might never run into at stuffier, more traditional industry events.

Why Am I Here?

My lament all week was that I wasn’t sure what the heck I was doing at SXSW. I had just got back from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and have been on the road constantly since the start of 2014. I’ll admit I had no time to prepare for SXSW and was basically wondering what the hell it was all for.

South By, as it is called by its repeat visitors, was to me nothing more than an obnoxious marketing conference dressed up as a tech conference: too many bros, too many hipsters, too much ego and way too much booze.

Taub didn’t necessarily disagree with these sentiments. Then he reminded me of the true value of South By, something I’d forgotten in a week-long Texan bacchanalia.

“South By is about making new connections and strengthening those you already have,” Taub said.

Unpacking the lessons along with my luggage from South By this year, I realized Taub’s right. He was one new connection. So was Chris Boyles from app-development studio Chaotic Moon. So were Ed Anuff and Prabhat Jha from Apigee. So was Alex Capehart of Media Temple, who snuck me and my boss into a party.

Then there’s Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Android and Chrome, who rolled up to a party and chatted me and some other reporters up. I’ve met Pichai before, but it’s typically in a formal setting like Google’s I/O conference.

These are people, I realized, who can help us at ReadWrite get context and clarity and help map the programmable world

There were other connections to strengthen as well. Team ReadWrite was out in full force at SXSW. And not just the current staff (myself, editor-in-chief Owen Thomas and reporters Selena Larson and Taylor Hatmaker), but a large contingent of ReadWrite alumni as well.

ReadWrite founder Richard MacManus wasn’t there, but he tweeted a request at us from New Zealand for a photo of all current and former team members in Austin. This seemed impossible—from morning to midnight, there are always at least three things going on at once in Austin during SXSW.

But we invited the whole crew to the xoJane party thrown by Say Media, our publisher, for a photo Monday night. Most of the old team was able to make it, from Marshall Kirkpatrick, the former first prince of tech blogging, to former managing editor Fred Paul, writers Mike Melanson, Fruzsina Eördögh and John Paul Titlow, and former COO Sean Ammirati.

Not pictured: Fruzsina EordoghNot pictured: Fruzsina Eordogh

For ReadWriters past and present, this picture was a bit of a catharsis, putting behind us years of comings and goings, good times and bad.

The Other Side Of South By

If SXSW is good for meeting people and forming tighter bonds, the other side of Austin is a horrific mess of me-me-me marketing. I was reminded of this by an attendee I overheard as we walked into the Biz Stone keynote.

“Why are we at SXSW?” he asked rhetorically. “To make connections and make money. Not necessarily in that order.”

So you work for a startup, built some apps or are marketing some big brand—and you want to get some buzz. People have been telling you for years that you just absolutely need to be SXSW. The parties! The people! Austin in March! It all sounds terrific, the perfect launchpad for whatever banal project you’ve poured your heart into.

Take a step back and think about that for a second. You’ll probably realize that everyone else is thinking the exact same thing—which makes South By a really bad place to make your mark.

Biz Stone on stage with author Steven Johnson at SXSW 2014Biz Stone on stage with author Steven Johnson at SXSW 2014

The problem with South By is that it serves as a magnifying glass for everything that people now hate about the tech scene in San Francisco and New York. It is arrogant and dripping with money and pretention. Instead of going to Austin to make earnest connections, the goal seemingly is the superficial see-and-be-seen mentality you get at parties in Hollywood and Wall Street.

I couldn’t even pay for my own lunch at South By. I sat down on the patio of the Old Pecan Street Cafe, fully intending to pay for my hamburger, but when the bill came the server told me that my everybody’s lunch had been picked up by GoDaddy. I felt used, and left a tip near the amount of the original check.

That kind of manipulation was par for the course in Austin. The tone for SXSW was set for me on Friday, when Chaotic Moon used a drone with a stun gun to tase an intern. It was a surreal scene, dripping with marketing bravado: tase a bro, with a drone! CNN was on hand to film it. As much as I like Chaotic Moons Boyles, who kindly offered ReadWrite a space to work during the conference, I have to say this type of stunt doesn’t teach us anything new about technology. It just draws attention.

Most of the panels and keynote sessions at South By are likewise exercises in self-promotion (with the odd exception here and there, like Joshua Turner’s talk on orbital computing).

Twitter cofounder Biz Stone rolled out the most eye-rolling line of the week when he described himself on stage as “an Internet guy who likes to believe in the triumph of humanity through technology.” Stone certainly has triumphed—and this is a self-justifying line he’s trotted out before.

So the panels are hit or miss, and the parties overwhelming. But ultimately, SXSW is what you make of it. You can go and treat it like Techie Spring Break and get caught up in the booze, the marketing, and the echo chamber. But if you let go of that notion, and instead just try to connect, you may find people who will help you get through the Austin nights—and the days to come, for a long time.

Top image: Bill Nye and Andy Samberg on a panel for a pitch session at SXSW 2014

Sorry, Snowden: Facebook, Google Aren’t Going to Abandon Ads

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“Have you heard about Secret?” This was perhaps the most ironic question asked throughout the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin earlier this week.

New apps such as Secret, Whisper, Glimpse, Omlet.me and Cyber Dust were among the “we’re more safe and private” options that were the center of conversation at SXSW.

Just a year or so ago, Millennials were being scolded for oversharing. Overnight, they’ve become security conscious. The paranoia was reflected by the lineup: Notable speakers included Julian Assange and Edward Snowden (both appearing via live broadcast) and Mark Cuban (who took time away from promoting the Dallas Mavericks to promote his Cyber Dust app.) Read more…

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Eyewitness at Fatal SXSW Crash: ‘I Saw a Guy Bleeding to Death’

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AUSTIN, Texas — In an instant, Pablo Vazquez’s mood at SXSW careened from giddy excitement to horrific shock as an intoxicated driver sped past, narrowly missing him by a foot but striking 25 other people near him within a minute

“I saw people fly up … I saw a guy bleeding to death,” Vazquez, 25, told Mashable, less than 15 hours after the car crashed through barricades in downtown Austin along Red River Street, killing two people and injuring 23 at 12:30 a.m. local time. As of Thursday night, five remained in critical condition, three were receiving treatment and 15 have been treated and released. Read more…

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2 Dead, 23 Injured After Car Runs Through Crowd at SXSW

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The reverie of SXSW in Austin, Texas, was violently interrupted at about 12:30 a.m. local time on Thursday morning when a car drove through a crowd outside several nightclubs

Two people were killed and 23 were injured, five of them critically, confirms Mashable‘s Brian Anthony Hernandez, who arrived on the scene just before a press conference.

Here’s what Hernandez saw when he arrived at the scene at 9th and Red River streets for the press conference — conducted by Austin’s police chief Art Acevedo, fire chief Harry Evans and EMS official Mike Benavides — which started at about 2:30 a.m. CT.

Austin police chief: Suspect struck pedestrians “at high rate of speed.” Struck mop& taxi. 2 confirmed dead. 23 injured (5 critical)#sxsw

— Brian A. Hernandez (@BAHjournalist) March 13, 2014 Read more…

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Mashable Celebrates Digital Culture at SXSWi

Mashable continued its tradition of being one of the most buzzed about brands at SXSWi, with the Mashable House. More than 4,000 guests visited the space over three days to experience digital culture like never before.
From a giant wrecking ball for …

Snoop Dogg to SXSW Haters: ‘Big Artists Were Small Once Upon a Time’

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AUSTIN, Texas — Like bees to honey, cameras swarmed 42-year-old rapper Snoop Dogg when he walked into Airbnb’s pop-up venue for SXSW on Tuesday. The veteran artist watched as people around him sipped on the event’s special drink — gin and juice — a cocktail that he rapped about in his 1994 hit single of the same name.

The song is still remembered 20 years later, which is something any new musician or band can only dream of. But SXSW, which was originally designed to showcase independent artists, can surely help them take that first step into similar stardom — right?

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The Top Film Award at SXSW Goes to … a Bunch of Spoiled Millennials

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AUSTIN, Texas — A film about two 20-something women hilariously struggling to simply travel from New York City to a nearby beach won one of two grand jury prizes at the SXSW Film Conference and Festival on Tuesday.

Fort Tilden, directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, snagged the top award in the narrative feature categoryThe Great Invisible, a film about the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion of 2010, won the other grand jury prize in the documentary feature contest. It was directed by Margaret Brown. Both films world premiered at SXSW

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