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Is SxSW worth it for startups or has it jumped the shark?

I've heard a lot of people talk about SxSW just being too big and too expensive to be really value add for startups - I mean true startups, not Uber or companies that have raised series Cs and beyond. I've gone the last 2 years and I do see that it's different than even 5 or 6 years ago. Even if you don't buy a badge, it's a couple thousand dollars for flights and hotel and hard to see the value. Do you agree?

19 Replies

michael burack
0
0
michael burack Entrepreneur
president
find smaller local venues they will be more profitable [removed to protect privacy]
William Agush
1
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William Agush Advisor
Founder and CEO at Shuttersong Incorporated
It all depends what what you're trying to get out of it. If you want to soak up the current vibe and immerse yourself in SxSW as an experience, it's probably worth it. If you're hoping to get your company noticed or raise money YMMV.
Ema Chuku
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Ema Chuku Entrepreneur
Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad
So I have heard. At some points things grow and get out of hand, in this case SxSW.. And there's a reason why it's called "Startup" = stick with smaller-focused-events" for best value of money.
David Coleman
1
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David Coleman Entrepreneur • Advisor
Collaborative Strategies Inc., Founder and Managing Director
Ryan,

What is your target marketfor your solution? is that the population that will be at SXSW? I spoke there about 5-6 years ago, and I thought it was large then, and did not even have to buy a ticket. What would you get out of going now? It is kind of like going to CeBit (which I have never attended) or CES, they are very big shows. Are you going to meet other vendors for partnerships? As a networking event, SXSW might be worth while, but otherwiseI would stick with the prior advice and find a more local manageableshow. I am lucky to live in Silicon Valley so there are shows here or in SF about every week or so.
Dean Harris
1
0
Dean Harris Entrepreneur
Chief Marketing Officer- Fractional CMO-
I think it is wort it and agree you do not need a badge. The networking is excellent plus you are going to learn a lot. Go. Eat BBQ. Have fun . Sent from my iPhone. Any typos can and should be blamed on the phone even though it cannot defend itself. Yet.
Kyra Reed
2
0
Kyra Reed Entrepreneur
Digital Marketing Consultant, Cannabis Marketing, Social Media Training and Educator
I quit going 5 years ago. The magic that once was has been buried under the massive crowds and corporate sponsorships. The fact that Obama and Mrs. are going to be keynotes...it will be insanity there and I imagine very hard to get anything meaningful accomplished.
Shawn Matthews
7
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Shawn Matthews Entrepreneur
Chief Creative Officer / CEO at Swagbot Creative
Ryan, I have been going to SXSW off and on for the past 10 years and I would say that it probably has jumped the shark, however I think it depends on what you are trying to accomplish for your startup. If you are trying to launch and get a big media push, then absolutely not because you are competing with huge marketing budgets and media outlets looking for big stories. However, if you are using the event to strategically meet people in your industry, then I would say it's invaluable. Think about this, you have people from all over the world in one place. There are so many "non-sxsw" events that even if you don't meet big names, there are still plenty of valuable contacts to be made that can help you in the long term with your company. I am going, mainly to have some cocktails, meet some friends and eat some bbq. If you have specific questions hit me up and shawn (at) swagbot (dot) com and I will give you some more advice. Shawn Sent from my iPhone
John OHanlon
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2
John OHanlon Entrepreneur
Owner of Banks Printers
As soon as the big bucks and the big hitters move in the party is over
Mark Wilcox
0
1
Mark Wilcox Advisor
Chief Technology Officer - Consulting - Security Practice at Oracle
I grew up in Waco. Which is about an hour north of Austin.

So I will give you some tips on how to get/stay cheaper. Though you're going to have to do some driving.

And that means someone isn't doing any drinking if you decide to do the party scene.

Instead of flying into Austin - look into either San Antonio which is only 1 south of Austin.

Dallas is next best because it's a simple 3 hour drive south.

You can also fly into Houston. Depending upon which airport - it's 3 - 5 hour drive.

Instead of staying in Austin which is going to be crazy expensive - look into either north San Antonio , Georgetown or Hewitt, TX.

Georgetown and N. San Antonio will get you there in about 45 minutes. Hewitt, about an hour.

I know that can seem crazy but at Oracle Openworld I've known people who had to stay 90 minutes outside of downtown SF.

David Albert
4
0
David Albert Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder & Principal at GreyGoo
SXSW is no longer a good venue for startups. Long gone are the days when one could "launch" at SXSW and gain traction from it. I agree with Shawn--I've been going to the conference on and off since the early days and the networking/meet-up opportunities can be invaluable (and fun), but not for getting media coverage. Not to mention it used to be very affordable to attend.
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