Here is PandoDaily’s quick roundup of everything, or at least many things, that happened on the first day of SXSW.
It’s a short one — we’ve got to tidy up our temporary office at Jutera Labs for our only official event, a PandoDaily + Jutera + Lerer Ventures happy hour.
First let’s get the boring weather talk out of the way. It is rainy and warm, which is an improvement over last year’s rainy and freezing cold. Startups have planned ahead — sponsored umbrellas and ponchos are out in full force.
In general, there is far less misery than I remember from last year. Despite the rain, the crowds seem manageable, the badge pick-up line was non-existent, the wifi is speedy, and I’ve yet to be harassed by founder that can only be described as “passionate” about their products. This can’t last long.
My cab driver informs me that he likes the tech part of SXSW better than the music part because — and this is the first time I’ve heard anyone say this — the techies are more normal. “The people that come for music,” he says, “They’re a different caliber of people. They get so drunk and they are not like the people that come for the first part. Those people are like normal people.”
Onto the programming!
Bre Pettis, founder of Makerbot, made a splash with his opening keynote. Hamish McKenzie has posted a rundown on the details of what Pettis calls the 3D renaissance going on.
The excitement around 3D printing at this year’s event is only mirrored by excitement around space exploration. Which, I argued earlier today, is a very good thing for a conference everyone loves to dismiss. Social media apps, step aside for the real tech.
Wired argues that SXSW is nothing but deja vu this year.
And onto the marketing!
Ride sharing app Lyft is not offering its ride sharing services in Austin yet. Instead, the app is offering piggyback rides on people carrying balloons and wearing their trademark pink mustaches. On one hand, I want to order a piggyback ride. On the other hand, no. No, that is stupid.
Adly announced earlier in the week that it will reward the “hottest” startup at this year’s festival – or the hottest out of those who apply – with a free celebrity Tweet. It’s a good way to amplify whatever buzz your company can create this week, and a smart way for the LA-based company to remind people what it is that they do.
Team Pando is dispersed around the city, but I’m staying at the “Hacker Hostel,” a new hostel that’s opening during SXSW. As in, they were literally finishing construction this afternoon. As we wrote a few weeks ago, this is part of a new feature of NYC-based travel app WeHostels that allows users to book beds at hostels for cool, overbooked events.
Although none of us were in attendance, we hear that the best kickoff party last night was hosted by Capital Factory, a penthouse co-working space and accelerator that has one of the best views in Austin. They will be hosting nightly VIP events this weekend, but with all the competing events on the social calendar, Thursday may have been the day to attend.
Gary Sharma of Gary’s Guide, who famously wears one of his 40 red ties everywhere — probably even at the beach — has rented out ad space on the tie. That’s right, you can sponsor a guy’s tie.
Payments startup Dwolla has given Willy Wonka-style golden tickets worth thousands of dollars to a group of lucky friends including Fred Wilson and Ashton Kutcher (and me!). Our mission is to hide the ticket around Austin, post a clue on social media, and hope someone at the festival finds it and cashes in. To ensure a Pando reader finds mine, I’ll post my golden ticket clue in tomorrow’s roundup!