Ann's News

Never Doing SXSW Again…

…By Bus or in a Group!!

I returned home from Austin at 9pm Tuesday night, after a 12 hour bus ride that required I take six Dramamine pills to keep from getting sick. The majority of the trip I was kicking myself for signing up to go to SXSW Interactive with a group.

SXSWi is a huge event well attended by geeks and social media types. It’s a fabulous opportunity to network and meet people. There are a plethora of panels to attend during the day and parties to attend at night. In order to satisfy the requirements of having to go to multiple places…you need to be able to make fast decisions and move from one location to the next quickly. Groups just aren’t conducive to that.

As much as I love being social, I’m also quite a loner and I need time alone to recharge. I can’t be around people 24/7. I’ll be flying next year and living large in my own room in a downtown hotel.

Highlights of the Trip – The best part of any conference is the people

Catching up with People: It was extremely nice to catch up with all the people from DC. I really missed those guys (and gals). The Cakoge after party was like a big DC tech community reunion. The DC tech community started coming together about three years ago and now it’s vibrant, strong and well represented at tech events across the country. I’m proud to see how far everyone has come within the community and how far the community has come together.

Meeting New People: I got acquainted with a few people from the New Orleans Net2NO group; people I really look forward to collaborating with in the future. I also got to connect in real life with some of my twitter friends.

Another person I met was Nan Palmero at the Mashable Party…thanks to Nan I will soon have video capabilities on my BlackBerry. I’m pretty stoked about that; he’s been a big help and it’s great having someone to turn to for assistance since I know I’ve been under utilizing my BB.

The Sessions: Sessions at conferences in my opinion are hit or miss. You never know if they’ll be any good. I made it to a handful of sessions, the best one was Building Your Web Startup After Hours: Aruni Gunasegaram – moderator (Babble Soft), David Altounian (, Jeremy Bencken (, Gretchen Heber (, Elisa Camahort Page (

Since returning to having a full time job back in the Marine Corps, I’ve been beating myself up about the progress I’ve made and wondering if my startup will ever get off the ground. Listening to a panel of entrepreneurs who have built their startups after hours made me realize what I’m experiencing is normal, others have been there as well and made it happen. I walked away re-energized and with the willingness to accept that it’s okay if it takes awhile to make things happen.

Next Year

I plan on returning to SXSW next year, to include attending the Music portion. I’ve also been brainstorming some sessions that I might submit for next year. A conference like SXSW is something you have to experience, live and learn from.