Our third installment of PandoDaily’s random observations, news and gossip from SXSW. We’re getting to that point in the festival where people are operating on fumes. There’s a little crowd hostility going on. Smiles are getting tighter.
Last night’s Splash party at a house out in East Austin was excellent, proving that professional party planners-turned-startup-founders know how to put on a good event. Until a monster storm arrived and we were stuck in East Austin.
Today, on the programming side, Nate Silver spoke. His message to startups was not as high-flying and inspirational as Elon Musk’s from yesterday perhaps, but it was realistic: Go for the low hanging fruit if you want to be a success. New York Mayoral candidate Cory Booker echoed Al Gore’s sentiments from yesterday (albeit in a more toned-down way) for a more open government.
I have to give credit to Mass Relevance, the Austin startup is powering the Twitter-enabled audience questions for the on-stage events. They eliminate the dreaded question line, they prevent askers from rambling on, and they allow organizers to filter out repetitive and self-promoting questions. Well done!
Syfy Channel ran a marketing stunt to address the housing shortage in Austin during the week via its “pop-up hotel.” This is the Syfy channel’s first go at SXSW; the channel typically focuses on even nerdier events like Comic Con. Consumer products have a massive presence here, an interactive Oreo set-up dominates one area in the conference center. Brands like Unilever have sent as many as 60 people to the conference.
This amazing NASA Hubble telescope has been parked outside of the convention center but no one seems to be talking about it. So much for turning it around, SXSW. Maybe social media hype is just the curse of this festival, because it is just so great for using social media. They’re just better here. This weekend is all about bragging and socializing and bragging about who you’re socializing with, and knowing what everyone else is up to, and wanting them to know what you’re up to. It’s rare for that to happen round-the-clock for a week elsewhere, outside of a big music festival, or perhaps college.
The big parties of this evening night were mainly thrown by New York companies — Sailthru and Automattic, Tumblr, Crowdtap and Foursquare. Except for Twitter and the mother of all big parties, Path. Ohhhhh, the Path party. Noted celebs of the tech world and real world were in attendance, including Sean Parker, who flaked on his panel earlier in the day, Robert Scoble, Coolio (ha!), Marc Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, who took to the DJ booth after Jane’s Addiction performed. Path’s parties are always celeb-fests. I do not understand the connection but hey, cool points for anyone who was there I suppose. It converted at least one user.
Ashton knows how to party. I might reinstall Path on my iPhone now. #SXSW
— Anna Khan (@annarchyy) March 11, 2013
The Sheraton caught on fire.
— Tom Weingarten (@tomweingarten) March 11, 2013
There is a band playing shows in a bus outside of the Twitter party (and probably all around town, given its mobility.) The tiny DIY show-on-the-go mobile was basically the perfect antidote to all the massive, highly produced, loud, long-line DJ parties of the week.
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]