SXSW 2014 RECAP
Prepared by Mike WeissPresident, PersonalWeb
Design by Kamren ScottPersonalWeb
This recap report is being provided to everyone who donated, participated or otherwise supported and contributed to the Tyler4Tech (T4T) initiative and to potential new supporters and sponsors. The report covers the activities of Tyler4Tech at this years South By Southwest Festival held in Austin, TX from March 6-15, which was comprised of the Film, Music and Interactive Festivals and the Trade Show (www.SXSW.com). Tyler4Techs presence was at the SXSW Trade Show held March 9-12 at the Austin Convention Center.
WHY SXSW TRADE SHOW? The first South by Southwest Mu-sic Conference and Festival (SXSW) was held in 1987 in Austin, Texas. In 1994, SXSW added a film and interac-tive component to accommodate these growth industries. SXSW has evolved as an event to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas in the interactive, film and music industries and attracts approximately 50,000 reg-istrants to Austin every March. SXSW has been the launching pad for many of todays popular technology companies, such as Twitter. SXSW attendees pay a significant fee to attend and are squarely in our target market and demographics. At this years SXSW trade show, other municipalities besides Tyler exhibited also attempting to lure business back to their cities, states or countries, in-cluding Austin, Chicago, Montgomery County Virginia, Michigan, Quebec, France, UK, Brazil, Singapore, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland, Germa-ny and Chile.
GOALSThe goal for the Tyler4Tech is to bring together all the stakeholders of our city who share a common goal of bring-ing more tech-oriented business to our community. Specifically our goal was to increase awareness of Tyler as a des-tination for new and existing technol-ogy companies, tech entrepreneurs and qualified tech workers. To accomplish
this, we selected SXSW to premiere our efforts along with developing a perma-nent website that could serve as a re-source to tech-related companies po-tentially interested in locating to Tyler.
KEY SELLING POINTSWe identified 4 main selling points that Tyler offers our target market: 1) Infrastructure, 2) Lifestyle, 3) Finan-cial Incentives, 4) IP Friendly. You can read details of these at www.Tyler4Tech.com. This represented the theme of our exhibit booth at SXSW.
BUDGETThe groups goal was to raise $50,000 to be used for exhibiting at SXSW and to build the T4T website. Between Octo-ber 2013 and February 2014, we raised and collected $45,000, just shy of our goal, so we downsized our exhibit space slightly and had to forego some of the planned social media marketing. We came in slightly under budget spend-ing $44,500. We were able to do this because the 22 volunteers who traveled to Austin to help work the booth did so on their own expense, saving tens of thousands of dollars in hotel, food and travel expenses for the group. The $45K budget, which was held and man-aged by the Chamber, was used to rent the SXSW exhibit hall space and requi-site services, build a permanent exhibit booth (which can be re-used at future events or repurposed with new graph-
T4t @ SXSW
ics for use by other Tyler groups), rented and stocked a Money Booth to draw attention to our exhibit and developed and launched the T4T website.
THE T4T EXHIBIT BOOTHThe 400 sq ft Tyler4Tech booth was lo-cated near the center of trade show floor, adjacent to the SXSW Meet-Up Pavilion & Bar. Considering T4T was a first-time exhibitor, we had an excellent location, perhaps helped by the fact that the SXSW Director of Sales is a former Tylerite. The booth has four 8 pillars and a 12 center tower, each equipped with a flat screen moni-tor displaying a slide show showing images representing each of Tylers four key selling points with the center tower showing a promotional video of Tyler prepared by the Conven-tion & Visitors Bureau. It was one of the better-looking booths at SXSW.
Each year SXSW promotes a special 2-hour long Block Party where par-ticipating exhibitors offer free food and drinks, along with passport stamps that attendees collect for prizes. This years event was held on Tuesday, March 11. Tyler4Tech participated by not only of-fering free food and drinks, but also had a DJ (from Tyler) perform and the Money Booth where show goers were given 20 seconds to grab as many $1 bills as they could capture, along with a few gift certificates donated from our local hotels and restaurants. This was a huge hit and during the Block Party, T4T had the biggest crowds swarming around the booth, along with filming by HBO and Bloomberg News.
RESULTSFor a first time exhibitor trying some-thing that has never been done previous-ly, the results were promising with over a dozen solid leads being generated and lots of people knowing that Tyler exists and where we are located. These ranged from several new tech companies look-ing to relocate to Tyler, interest in Tyler from the Northeast Film Commission and from a private subscription-only airlines, venture and angel groups look-ing to syndicate deals with Tylers Angel
Network and have their portfolio com-panies consider locat-ing in Tyler. One of the prospects recently visited Tyler and de-
cided to relocate his tech start-up from San Francisco to Tyler in the near future.
WHATS NEXTFor the near-term, we want to consider organizing T4T more formally. We also want to continue exploring the viability of starting a Tyler Chapter of the Found-er Institute or similar tech incubator that could be a feeder to our local Tyler Texas Angel Network for deal-flow and attract a lot more tech entrepreneurs and jobs to our community.
Tyler4Tech is not only about exhibit-ing at SXSW; however, the experience was good enough that we want to begin planning for next years SXSW event and by having a bigger presence (although not necessarily a bigger booth). Some ideas being considered are to submit a proposal for a panel at next years SXSW; submissions are open in July. A Battle of the Cities panel where all exhibiting cities could face-off against each other
in discussing the virtues that each has to offer would probably generate a lot of in-terest and be approved by SXSW, along with generating a large attendance. Is Tyler ready to take on the rest of the world?
Another idea being floated for next years SXSW is to co-sponsor an offi-cial SXSW sanctioned Tyler Tuesday Throwdownconcert featuring some East Texas talent that have gone on to have major careers, such as Miranda Lambert, Kasey Musgrave and LeAnn Womack. It is not inconceivable that the talent may be willing to perform for a nominal fee, as SXSW is a sought after venue by ma-jor recording artists. We would need to get a corporate co-sponsor (such as Samsung) to help cover the majority of costs. This would be a big, bold move, and bound to increase Tylers visibility and attract the attention of all the news media and bloggers that attend, perhaps taking Tyler viral next year.Other areas that we need to address in-
clude how and who will maintain the T4T website and continue to have it evolve as a single point of reference for exploring Tyler as a tech center destina-tion. We need to determine how and who will maintain and grow the T4T pres-ence on the social media sites (primarily Facebook and Twitter for now) that were established for the T4T @SXSW event.
Lastly, we need to determine who can volunteer their time for T4T for the rest of this year and in 2015.
FUNDRAISINGSince many organizations we approached for financial contributions in Q4 2013 stated they have their next years budget in place by Q2, we are going to need to start our fundraising campaign almost immediately. Now that we have a better idea of what can be accomplished, we will attempt to raise twice the amount for 2015 as we did for 2014, with a fund-raising goal of $100,000.
Without our sponsors, we would have not been able to execute on our plan. These local companies, organiza-tions and individuals (including the Chamber and the City) contributed from $250 to $5,000 each to help us reach our goal. They include (alphabetically):
Blue SpikeBuonacorsi FoundationBurns Commercial Chamber of Commerce City of Tyler - City Manager Computer Business SystemsEDC EolasExpress Personnel Garteiser Honea Law FirmGenesis/Corporate GreenGollob Morgan Peddy CPAGreater Tyler Area Realtors Keen SolutionsMartin Heines PropertiesPeoples Petroleum BuildingPersonalWeb TechnologiesSolocron
Southside BankSuddenlinkTJCTraff Assett ManagementTrinity Mother FrancisTyler Convention BureauTyler Vault UT Tyler
Beth Womack ...............ABS TelecomCharles Hill ....................OncorCraig Wheeler ...............Pico TechnologyDan Alee .......................City of Tyler Dr Lee Griffith ................Tyler Spine & Joint InstituteDrew Camps .................Chamber ITHolli Conley ...................Tyler Conv & Vis BureauJ Bennett White ............JBW Law FirmJohn David Carrasco .....John David MediaJosh Ebright ..................SolocronMichael Shear ...............Strategic Office NetworksMike Andrews ...............City of Tyler Mike Weiss ....................PersonalWebOlivia Hardt ...................Tyler Spine & Joint InstitutePhil Burks ......................Corporate Green Randy Gartner ...............Garteiser Honea Law FirmRegina Swearington......SuddenlinkRoya Stanley .................Strategic Office NetworksScott Moscowitz ...........Blue SpikeShari Rickman ...............Tyler Conv & Vis BureauTom Mullins ...................TEDCTommy Martin ..............Tyler Vault
This is a most amazing group of people who know how to get things done! While many of us knew each other from local organizations, others had never met be-fore the SXSW trip. The 22 T4T volunteers epitomized teamwork, in everything from assembling and dissembling the booth to working the crowds and supporting each other throughout the hectic event. They in-clude (alphabetically):
Send an email to info@Tyler4Tech.com
Well be sending out more specific emails and setting up the next T4T Committee Meeting soon so check you INBOX. If you want to be deleted from receiving future T4T emails, then please respond with Cancel.