When you think about South by Southwest Interactive, your memory may serve up warm recollections of open bars, awesome booth swag, and the occasional keynote worth remembering. But amid the festival atmosphere, thousands of would-be entrepreneurs, web developers, and VCs mill around looking for (or pitching) the Next Big Thing.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the SxSW Panel Picker is replete with startup-related panels. Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration (and votes and comments), here are ten could-be-awesome proposed SxSW panels all about the space we love best. Look closely, and you just might see some themes, such as bootstrapping, revenue models, and life outside the Valley.
How Startups Can Create Buzz Without Selling Out
Organizer: David Berkowitz, 360i
David Berkowitz will lead panelists (whose identities are as yet a mystery) in a discussion about how start-ups can pitch to brands with the credibility, funds, and marketing power to create buzz - and all while retaining their integrity.
"Seed Combinators': Startup Incubators 2.0
Organizer: Mark Nathan, Houston Technology Center
Boy, do we love the Y Combinators, SproutBoxes, and TechStars of this world. This panel is all about that unique mashup of seed funding, mentoring, and coworking that is the modern incubator/accelerator for high tech startups.
Lessons From the Long Trenches: Bootstrapping 301
Organizer: Gareth Knight, Technovated
Bootstrapping is a worthwhile endeavor for many entrepreneurs, but oh, the mistakes you can make. As Mom liked to say, "You don't have to get hit by a bus to know it hurts." Attendees of this panel will hear about the obstacles inherent in this process and will hopefully pick up a few practical tips on formulating strategies, finding funds, and managing resources.
Startups Without Funding - Forget the VC's!
Organizer: Brad Wayland, BlueCotton.com
Although the thought of loads of venture capital is intriguing/relieving, this panel contends, "Having your own idea and starting from scratch can be much more rewarding." By starting small and working smart, entrepreneurs can see a lot more profit and personal benefit in the long run.
Creating The Next Hot Startup... For Free
Organizer: Brian Gorbett, Microsoft
Disclosure: Microsoft BizSpark sponsors this channel. And no, we didn't get a DM reading, "Vote for my SXSW panel! Thx! Plz RT!!!" Brian Gorbett is a MSFT software architect, and in this solo discussion, he will explore some of the main technology platforms available and share resources and personal experiences that can help startups succeed both from a software architecture perspective and by tapping into a vast network of many tools and services available.
Web Startups: Rely On Advertising And You'll Die
Organizer: Joe Stepniewski, Skimlinks
Monetization is a tricky beast, and reliance on advertising as the main source of your site or app's revenue can be dangerous. So, who's got a better idea? Vote for this panel, and we all might learn something new and interesting.
Cha-Ching!: How to Make Different Revenue Models Work
Organizer: Brad Jefferson, Animoto
On a related note, this panel also delves into monetization, allegedly from "a panel of CEOs at booming startups." Questions for the panel will center around finding the revenue model that best fits your product, vertical, and users.
Student Startups: Entrepreneurship in the University
Organizer: Hung Truong, Troubadour Mobile
Maybe it was something to do with Facebook, but we've noticed more and more support for student entrepreneurs, both from educational institutions as well as VCs. This panel of still-wet-behind-the-ears startup wunderkinds will discuss the challenges and benefits of starting early.
Coding for Pleasure: Developing Killer Spare-Time Apps
Organizer: Adam Pash, Lifehacker
Ah, the revered spare-time microapp. Is it not every coder's dream that his side-project web app just might turn into the Next Big Thing? If you've ever daydreamed your picture onto the cover of Wired or Fast Company - or if your goals are a bit less lofty, like creating a useful, working application that users enjoy - this is the panel for you.
Don't Move! Build a Startup Community Where You Live
Organizer: Jeff Slobotski, Silicon Prairie News
Disclosure: RWW was a media sponsor for BIG Omaha, a Midwest-focused event organized by Slobotski and his Silicon Prairie News cohort, Dusty Davidson. It's no secret that we at RWW love hearing about startup communities and solo innovators in the Midwest, the Pacific Northeast, and other areas outside the obligatory metropolitan centers. This panel will highlight the startup scenes in Portland, Boulder, Omaha, and New Orleans. This is one panel that definitely gets our vote.