SXSWi: When Austin Isn’t About The Music

Although this post is now, in some respects, old news we’ve been a bit traveled-out lately. After an action packed month and a half on the road we took a little time off from traveling and from posting on this site. So although I’ll be writing about events that happened more than a month ago (gasp old news on the internet!), there’s still posts to be published and new posts that remain to be written. So…onward! 🙂

Prior to going to SXSW we had many excellent suggestions of places to go and music to hear. We talked to our friend who used to live in Austin and found out all about the area while getting the inside scoop on the hot spots. We also received plenty of unsolicited advice from friends who’ve previously experienced the amazingness that is Austin, TX. Although we were extremely grateful for all of the advice, most of the “don’t miss this” suggestions were never put to use. Austin was a non-stop party.

SXSWi Is All About People (and we loved it)

One day we’ll have to visit Austin outside of SXSWi to really get to know the true nature of the city, but for 5 days every Spring Austin is where the Internet goes to hang out. It’s spring break for entrepreneurs, bloggers and every other person who does cool things online. And a relative few of them actually go to the conference. (approximately 20,000 people attended SXSWi this year and I read that the population increase was upwards of 80,000, although that number sounds quite high even to me)

Meeting people whom I’ve followed and respected for many years was wonderful. There were several people who I’ve known for a long time in 2-D space (the internet) that, funny enough, required a double take to recognize them in 3-D. Twitter avatars and Gravatars are great, but there’s still something to be said for finally meeting face to face. 2-D’s got nothin’ on 3-D 🙂

Men with Pens Meetup Teamup

There was so much that went on at SXSW that I could go on and on about the great time that we had, the people that we met and the events that we went to. But the shining moment for me wasn’t a moment at all, it was the fact that the Men with Pens team was finally together for in-person face time.

Our meetup on Friday was a total success with a little over 200 people showing up, but the team coming together and converging in one central location? That was absolutely priceless. Of course hindsight is always 20/20, but I would have pushed for a meetup a long time ago if I had any idea how great it would actually be, not only from a personal standpoint, but from a business standpoint as well.

The wild part is that I didn’t think that we could be any tighter knit than we already were. I didn’t imagine that we would become so much closer because we were/are already known for the solidarity of our team. It’s just a given that collectively we produce a killer product and it’s what we’ve built our reputation upon. But the thing that astonished me most was that the simple act of bringing us together in the same physical space made us a group that’s closer then ever.

I could go on and on about SXSW and the great time that we had, but I’ll keep this post brief and just say that I’m ecstatic for the magic that’s been happening behind the scenes at MwP and I’m happy to say that many of the advances are a direct result of finally meeting face to face. It’s amazing what transitioning from digital friends to IRL friends did for us 🙂

Have you been to any form of SXSW? (not only SXSWi) Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

4 responses to “SXSWi: When Austin Isn’t About The Music”

  1. Rafal Tomal Avatar

    Jeff, it was great to meet you all. I could finally see the faces behind e-mail addresses. I’m looking forward to seeing you at Starbucks from time to time 🙂

    1. Jeff Sarris Avatar

      Ya man, it was great to finally meet all of you guys too! And for sure, we’ll definitely be hanging out at “StudioPress HQ” more in the coming months 🙂

  2. Dave LaTulippe Avatar

    This is great man, so glad you posted about the experience.

    For me it was a truly eye opening week that got me thinking in entirely new ways about business, friendship, collaboration…just awesome and cant wait to do it again.

    And to have met so many impressive people who I now talk to on a regular basis and call friends is absolutely priceless.

    I also definitely agree that what was already a solid team is now working and thinking and collaborating in a whole new badass way as a single unit and THAT’s Killer. Gonna make dominating the universe go so much smoother. 😛

    Here’s to many more late nights of laughing ourselves in to oblivion. 🙂


    1. Jeff Sarris Avatar

      Definitely, MANY more late nights of laughing into oblivion! 😀