I think I have finally recovered from South by Southwest Interactive. I think.
I've been home a few days and have had time to reflect on the whirlwind of activities, interactions, events and parties.
I went to Austin in collaboration with a wide range of people from #DCTech to represent and help spread the word about the city's vibrant tech ecosystem. Not that this effort hasn't been made previously, it has. DC's SXSW veterans have been waving the flag and endearing the national tech community to the city for years.
This year was a little different though. DC's Mayor Vincent Gray made it priority to attend the conference and invest time, alongside DC Tech stalwarts, and serve as the lead spokesperson.
His efforts included a luncheon with national tech and business media, where he got to know journalists and bloggers from Fast Comapny, TechCrunch, Mashable, MSNBC, and Social Media Monthly, among others. DC has its wealth of media - but it's not a city where tech media is prevalent - so building these key relationships benefits everyone in ecosystem. Thank you to Evan Burfield of 1776, Peter Corbett of iStrategyLabs, DC Tech Meetup and DC Week, Michael Chasen, former Chairman of Blackboard and CEO of new startup Social Radar, Neil Kataria of newBrandAnalytics and Blue Tiger Ventures, Mark Ein of Venturehouse Group and Kastle Systems and Aaron Saunders of Clearly Innovative for being great champions for DC at this event.
(Mayor Gray, Mark Ein, and Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins talk about DC Tech with Fast Company's Ariel Schwartz)
The media lunch sequed to a DC Tech Meetup at Stage on Sixth, which led to an opportunity for the Mayor to take the stage and talkto TECH Cocktail's Frank Gruber about DC Tech and the launch of 1776, Fortify Ventures, keeping newBrandAnalytics local, having one of the largest tech meetups in the country and other gems of progress for the community.
A personal highlight for me, was the Mayor taking the opportunity to spend "office hours" time with entreprenuers from other regions at Startup America LIVE event. Can you imagine perusing a list of mentors to engage with and finding the Mayor of the Nation's Capital on the list?
(Mayor Gray Mentoring at Startup America's Startup Live)
I was also honored to participate in a roundtable dinner dicussion on furthering progress on the DC Tech. The conversation covered the bases that you would expect: access to capital, access to talent, tax incentives, and infrastructure to name a few. The discussion was lively, engagement was strong, and it quickly surpassed it's alloted time.
(DC Tech Roundtable dinner)
And that was just Saturday...
That day and in the days that followed, the #DCTech buzz around Austin was hard to ignore. It wasn't just the local contingent either - pretty much everyone I talked to seemed to make the same comment: "I feel like DC Tech is all over this conference," and I felt really proud to hear it.
Thanks to the team at the Washington DC Economic Partneship for jumping in and committing the energy and funds to elevate DC's presence at SXSW this year; and of course, Mayor Gray and his tireless team as well.
Well done DC Tech, well done!