If Your [Startup|Company|Firm|Team] is Actually Good…

Scott Francis
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Business Insider posits that if your startup is actually “good”, you don’t have time for SXSW.  The basic message is that SXSW is essentially a low-return investment in partying, and that focusing on the startup is the right thing to do if you have traction.  The example:
James tells us he came last year when Lot18 was new, but he found himself partying and hanging out with the same people he hangs out with in New York.  This year he stayed back to be productive.
Nothing against James from Lot18, but this sounds more like his own issue than an issue with SXSW.  Having attended several times now, I’m entitled to a different opinion.  First, hanging out with the same people is a choice.  Every year I’ve hung out with different people – but not people I normally get to spend a lot of time with.  And so each year it has been a completely different experience. The one constant is Thom Singer – this guy is *everywhere* and I guess we just have a tendency to pick the same sessions, because we ran into each other multiple times per day (which isn’t a bad thing!). If you have a good startup, it can afford for you to step away a few days a year to decompress, have some fun, and let some ideas from other people get into your matrix.  If you have a good startup, your team will enjoy having a few days to knock a few ideas around and surprise you when you get back.  If you have a good startup – you might stay home and work on it and send others down to SXSW to broaden their horizons. But if you’re startup can’t survive without your constant care and feeding, you’ll definitely not attend a conference that requires a few days of your time.  And there are definitely other opportunities in the world to get this decompression and experiencing other ideas.  SXSW isn’t the best place for every startup to make its mark, but it is a good place to get exposed to what else is going on, to get some inspiration, to network with friends and colleagues, and give your business a rest for a few days.