SXSW: Making Sense of it All

Looking back at SXSW, I found the most success in the least expected places. The panels that I was least excited about ended up impressing me the most. They were not the most highly attended or flashy, but they were spoken from one start-up to another.

The panelists and speakers in my favorite sessions were people that grew companies like InspiringApps a few years ago and weren’t afraid of taking risks to innovate. That’s a point that struck home, don’t be afraid to take risks. They spoke about real issues and weren’t making grand statements about marketing theory. I always value advice from someone who has lived through the experiences I am going through.

I was told once about a badge of honor that start-ups and entrepreneurs wear. There are battle wounds from building a business that those who have made it can talk to you about, and that’s what SXSW has been about these past few days. Sharing insights and getting advice from other small companies that have found success or are working hard to pursue that success.

I felt like I was wearing my badge today (or the making of my badge). I began to understand the importance of product integrations. Small companies working together to better serve their customers. One panelists discussing startup survival tactics said, “Integrations and strategic partnerships are not about the money. They are about executing the vision for your company or your product.”

He is right. Don’t get me wrong, you have to make money to survive, but it’s that type of mentality that builds great companies. And this thinking is why companies like Twitter and Foursquare (and now GroupeMe) have launched successfully at SXSW.

When you bring together these hard working successful companies, everyone is #winning.

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