My plans for SXSW Interactive 2014

With SXSW Interactive only a few weeks away, I wanted to see who else might be making the annual trek down to Austin.  I’m personally doing a shorter trip than usual, arriving on Thursday March 6th and heading home on Sunday March 9th.  But while I’m in Austin, I’m participating in a few different events this year.

On Friday, March 7th I will be taking part in my first SXSW in a few years as we cover the “Internet of Cars.”  In partnership with Team Detroit and Ford Motor Company, the panel will cover:

The internet of things is growing by leaps and bounds. But moving ahead of the pack of “things” is the car. Along with integrated apps, vehicle data and the data cloud, this panel will discuss the direction of the digital automotive industry along with rise of the connected car. Joining us are representatives from Ford Motor Company’s Product Development division to discuss how Ford is going further with integrated in-vehicle technology along with embracing the community of developers that are chomping at the bit to jump in.

On Saturday, March 8th I will be participating in the SXSW’s experiment with a new format called a meet up.  In particular, I’ll be hosting the “Think Like a Founder” Meetup that is described as:

Are you an entrepreneurial-minded brand marketer with a passion for innovation? At this meet-up, Dave Knox, co-founder of startup accelerator The Brandery & CMO of digital agency Rockfish, leads a networking session for marketers interested in driving innovation within their organizations.  Through conversation and networking, attendees will dive deep into startup secrets to success that can benefit leaders in every industry — and learn how, by embracing technology and thinking like a startup, you can drive innovation from the inside out.

Let me know in the comments if you are going to be at SXSW.  And would love to see you at either of the two events as well.

How to Build a Startup that Thrives – SXSW V2V 2013

At the inaugural SXSW V2V this August, I had the opportunity to deliver a 20/20 Vision talk on “How to Build a Startup that Thrives.” The talk answered the question of “can today’s startups become tomorrow’s General Mills or P&Gs?” In the startup world, overnight success stories make a big splash. But what happens when initial rounds of investment dry up, the press moves on and success relies on your business strategy as much as your creativity? The talk was meant to show you how to look beyond the first 5 years to build a foundation for the next 60.

The team at SXSW V2V just posted the talk in its entirety, which you can view by clicking the video link here.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

We’re hosting Brandery Office Hours at SXSW

Ever since Twitter received a much needed boost in visibility at the festival, SXSW Interactive has become an annual launching pad for aspiring startups.  This year, The Brandery has decided to join in the fun as we host our first-ever “Office Hours” at this year’s SXSW.  At Office Hours, we wanted to give potential applicants the opportunity to meet many of the folks that make The Brandery a top 10 startup accelerator.  Since our mentors and partners are from across the country, SXSW is the perfect venue to come together in one place and host this type of event.

Thus on Sunday Afternoon of SXSW Interactive, we are going to host Office Hours at the #SxCincyHaus.  This is a chance for us to meet face to face with the companies who are applying to The Brandery.  Last year over three quarters of our companies relocated to Cincinnati for The Brandery so we know how important it is for founders to feel comfortable with the program.  To help with that, we will have our mentors, as well as past graduates at Office Hours to answer any and all questions that founders might have.  We will also share some of the things that make The Brandery unique, especially our thematic approach around design and marketing, as well as our corporate partnerships with leading marketers like Procter & Gamble.

We hope to see you there.

  • WHO:  Startup Founders & Entrepreneurs who want to apply to The Brandery
  • WHEN: Sunday, March 11 from 2 – 4 PM CST
  • WHERE: #SxCincyHaus at 711 San Antonio St, Austin TX
  • WHAT: Register at

Blogging SXSW at

While down at South by Southwest this year, I’m going to have the chance to put on my “journalist” hat for the first time. The good folks at the Cincinnati Enquirer and have invited me to be a guest blogger during this year’s conference. Joining me as contributors to the group blog will be:

Laura Baverman
Laura is a business reporter covering commercial development, retail, innovation and entrepreneurship for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Follow her on Twitter @laurabaverman.

Joe Long
Joe Long is the social media & mobile coordinator for and a music blogger at Follow him @eachnotesecure.

Kevin Dugan
Kevin Dugan is director of marketing at Empower MediaMarketing and a co-founder of Cincinnati Social Media. He blogs on everything public relations and social media at Follow him @prblog.

You will be able to read the posts at

SXSW has become a must attend event for marketers

Next weekend, tens of thousands of people are going to descend on Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW).   Started in 1987, SXSW consists of three different festivals – film, interactive and music.  Historically the music festival has been the largest draw, though that has been changing in recent years as the interactive festival has gained prominence.

The recent popularity of the interactive festival has come thanks to a series of buzz worthy events that have taken place at the festival:

  • 2007 – Twitter first gained buzz and traction at the show
  • 2008 – The infamous Mark Zuckerberg interview with Sarah Lacy that gained a remarkable amount of press coverage (largely from folks calling the interview a “train wreck”)
  • 2009 – Foursquare officially launches in Austin at SXSW

As a result, 2011 is set to be one of the largest interactive festivals ever.  And in many ways, I think the show has emerged as a must attend for marketers for several reasons:

You won’t find a better place to experience digital first-hand: Thanks to the success of Twitter and Foursquare, you will find dozens of startups trying to “launch” at SXSW.  While few will ever breakthrough, its a great learning opportunity to experience the start-up world first hand.  Its also a great opportunity to see the true potential of companies like Hashable, Bump, etc that work best in a concentrated, tech-friendly environment.

You never know who you’ll meet or where you’ll end up: SXSW is one of those events where just about everyone has traveled into town for the event (ie, no one is a local).  As a result, people generally arent traveling in cliques or holing up at their favorite hang-out like you see in NYC or San Fran.   This creates a ton of serendipitous moments where you run into remarkably interesting people when you are least expecting it.

You won’t find a more eclectic collection of presentation and panel discussions: The official festival presentations are some of the more diverse that you’ll find at any conference and generally there are pretty frank discussions.  But they get even more interesting when you check out the presentations that are happening away from the Convention Center.  For instance, this year you can go see the Future of Mobile by PSFK at the Driskill Hotel or The Lean Startup at the AT&T Conference Center

Now with that said, some people are rumbling that 2011 will be “the end of SXSW” as those that made it “cool” now abandon it for being too popular. While this prediction may come true, it makes me think of Mark Twain’s infamous words – “”The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  For now, I’ll be enjoying an event that has become a must attend in my book.  See you in Austin.