Here at SXSW, smart companies know that the way to win is to offer free food, rain ponchos and row boats to get around Austin. This morning I snapped the below photo of the Salesforce offering. Salesforce has a mini Taco truck with free tacos and the slogan, “grab a free taco and a spicy new #dreamjob”. If you look closely, the back compartment is filled with tacos. When I passed the truck one hour later in the same location, the truck was empty.
I’ve got lots of CloudContacts pens to give out so find me and ask me – they are perfect for signing the job offer letters from Salesforce.
Below is a recap of the March 9, 2012 episode of the ABC show Shark Tank (episode 306). If you are unfamiliar with Shark Tank, the concept is simple – entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors and the investors have to provide at least the amount the entrepreneur is seeking for a deal to be completed.
The sharks appearing on tonight’s episode are: Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Damond John and Robert Herjavec.
Don’t forget to check out our previous Shark Tank recaps.
Pitch #1 – The Original Profender
Tony Devin brought his creation into the Shark Tank seeking $75k/15% of the company. The Original Profender is basically a mock human that can be raised up or down/left to right by a basketball coach to help players learn how to shoot over a defender. The price of the Original Profender is $499.95.
Unfortunately Tony left the tank without a deal.
Pitch #2 – Nardo’s Naturals
The Mastranardo Brothers were up next with their line of organic skincare products under the brand name Nardo’s Naturals. The brothers were seeking $75k/12% of Nardo’s Naturals. When asked about sales, they explained that they have $30k in sales since 2009. Kevin O’Leary said there is nothing proprietary about the products and he didn’t care for the packaging.
Barbara Corcoran offered $75k for 50% of the business with the contingency that the brothers change the company name. The brothers accepted the deal – oddly, the company still uses the same name today so maybe the deal never came to fruition or Barbara backed down from her contingency requirement.
Update – Pork Barrel BBQ
Pork Barrel BBQ was on season 1 and signed a deal with Barbara for $50k. In the update they opened their full service restaurant in Arlington, VA. The 2 founders noted that they are sold in many stores nationwide and have had over $1 million in sales since their Shark Tank appearance.
Pitch #3 – Rent-a-Grandma
Todd was the third entrepreneur to enter the tank with his concept, “Rent-A-Grandma”. He was seeking %150k for 20% of the service. The concept is that instead of hiring a teenager to babysit, you can rent a grandmother. Todd noted that he has had $25k in sales YTD. Unfortunately Todd left with no deal from the sharks.
Pitch #4 – Litter Body Jewelry
Last up were sisters Rachel Mann and Mackenzie Burdick with their homemade jewelry business, Litter. They were seeking $80k for 51% of their business. They sold $78k last year and are on track for $150k this year.
Damond offers $80k for 70% of Litter and he will allow the two women to buy back to their original requested amount listed above and he will also pay them salaries. Mark Cuban joins into Damond’s offer and says he will handle the website and Damond will handle the production.
Kevin O’Leary offers exactly what Rachel and Mackenzie wanted with $80k for 51%.
Rachel and Mackenzie shake hands with Damond and Mark for the deal above but at 70% of the company.
Since I am currently living in Austin, I figured I would be early for the first day of SXSW registration and badge pickup since the line usually resembles the TSA airport security lines. I was there so early that the process had not even begun. There were a lot more people on line when SXSW registration opened at 11am local time than last year — probably because it seems there are more events this year on Thursday than last year.
I noticed something odd on all of the laptops being used for registration – from afar they looked like Apple Macbook laptops but the logo was covered up? Sure enough, when I made it to a check-in booth, the laptop was an Apple Macbook and the logo was covered with a post-it! See the image below as confirmation. The same thing appeared over the Apple logo at the press check-in.
Why would SXSW cover up the Apple logo? Generally the only time a logo is covered up is on television or in media when a brand hasn’t paid for the “product placement”. On the drive home I assumed that perhaps Dell or Microsoft are SXSW sponsors and that’s why the Apple logo is covered up – but neither company show up in the sponsor list. SXSW has become the Nascar of tech conferences so perhaps any brand that doesn’t pay gets no love?
Anyway – if you are attending SXSW this year, welcome. Remember to relax, and have a backup plan in case the events and sessions you want to attend are full or crappy. Should you need any local Austin tips or tricks, send me an email.
If you are anything like me, you find it hard to go more than a few days without pizza. And if you are a NY’er, that becomes very hard when you travel since real pizza is only found in NYC (sorry Chicago!).
I’ve attended SXSW for many years now and have come up with a short list of great pizza places in Austin that will make any NY’er proud. These three pizzerias are very close to the Austin Convention Center and the middle of all of the SXSW 2012 action. If you want more pizza places to try, check out Worst Pizza and Yelp. And if you run a pizzeria in Austin and want to make the list, send me an email and I will come give test you – do you got the pepperonis?
SXSW Pizzeria #1 – Hoboken Pie
For all my years coming to Austin, the now number 2 was my favorite. But just like when Hogan slammed Andre at WMIII, a new contender has moved into the #1 slot. Hoboken Pie (718 Red River Street) has some very tasty pies and very good garlic knots. If you close your eyes while eating their pizza, you would think you are in Manhattan. Hoboken Pie is walkable from the convention center and right around the corner from the Hilton Garden Inn. They also deliver to the local area for a fee. The only downside to Hoboken Pie is that they have a very small seating area with about 6 tables.
SXSW Pizzeria #2 – Home Slice Pizza
I’ve always enjoyed the pizza at Home Slice Pizza and it was always a stop for me and friends during SXSW. Home Slice Pizza is a bit too far to walk from the convention center so you will need a cab or a friend – no delivery here. Home Slice offers a pinch thinner crust than Hoboken Pie but is still top quality NYC pizza. They have a large dining room, big outdoor space and a take-out location next door. You should note that sometimes the wait can be up to two hours so plan accordingly. The garlic knots are great here as well. The owners of HSP take their whole staff to NYC each year to learn more about pizza and new styles of NYC pizza – that’s dedication to the art. This location is also on the next block from a large number of food carts. And if you want the best freaking burger I have ever had, try Hopdoddy across the street.
SXSW Pizzeria #3 – Whole Foods
I know you are thinking I took one too many sausages to the head but trust me Whole Foods has really good pizza. I would certainly pick either of the two above over WF but they have a full brick oven and make a nice pie. Whole Foods also offers a number of calzones and other italian sandwiches. They offer 2 slices for $5 and obviously offer all of the fresh fruits and salad bar that all of the Whole Foods locations offer so you can go healthy. There is seating and a very large parking deck. It might be a bit of a long walk from the convention center but it is not that far from the hotels along Congress Ave. I suggest stopping at WF to stock the hotel room with healthy goodies so why not pick up a couple slices at the same time?
I look forward to meeting all of the awesome CN readers and CloudContacts customers during SXSW – say hi and grab some groovy stickers and pens!
Check out some of the latest web technology and business jobs posted for March 7, 2012 on the CenterNetworks Job Board. Subscribe to the CN Jobs feed and get all of the latest Web industry jobs delivered directly to you.
- Senior Developer at Calamos Investments
- Information Systems Developer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Employers – Join other top companies on the CN Job Board. Post your jobs today – only $10!
Below is a recap of the March 2, 2012 episode of the ABC show Shark Tank (episode 305). If you are unfamiliar with Shark Tank, the concept is simple – entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors and the investors have to provide at least the amount the entrepreneur is seeking for a deal to be completed.
The sharks appearing on tonight’s episode are: Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Damond John and Robert Herjavec.
Pitch #1 – Kisstixx
The first pitch of the evening came from Dallas Robinson and Mike Buonomo seeking $200k for 20% of their company. Kisstixx is a line of lip balms. The only offer came from Mark Cuban at $200k for 40% and the pair of entrepreneurs took the deal.
Last Season Update – Daisy Cakes
Kimberly Nelson pitched her Daisy Cakes and signed a deal with Barbara Corcoran. Since the show aired, Daisy Cakes has gone from 2000 total cakes in a year to $100k/month in sales. And Kimberly had to move the business to a much larger location.
Pitch #2 – The Smart Baker
Stephanie and Daniel Rensic came into the tank to pitch their kitchen product line called, The Smart Baker. They were seeking $75k/25%. The Smart Baker includes products like an apron with measurements on it to help when you need to cutup a recipe for smaller servings. Also included are their newest products — cupcake and tree towers.
Damond offered $75k/40%, Barbara offered the same but in addition she wants a 5% royalty on all sales until the $75k is paid back. Stephanie and Daniel countered at $100k/40% with 5% royalty but Barbara declined. After some discussion, The Smart Baker accepted Barbara’s original offer for $75k/40% with a 5% royalty.
Pitch #3 – Heat Helper
Lyle Chutey was up next with the Heat Helper. He was seeking $100k for 50% of his product. The Heat Helper is a unit that goes below an electric clothes dryer to recycle the hot air that comes out of the dryer to heat the laundry room. Unfortunately none of the sharks made Lyle an offer and he left the Shark Tank without an offer.
Pitch #4 – TEC
Last up into the tank was Scott Jordan with his product line TEC which stands for Technology Enabled Clothing. Scott was seeking $500k for 15% of TEC. You may have heard the name Scott Jordan before. Scott runs the company Scottevest which I believe is a line of vests that have compartments for gadgets. The deal Scott is seeking in the Shark Tank is for the technology/patents only, not a part of Scottevest. It’s interesting to note that the sharks talk about the products from Scottevest but never mention the name. Scott noted that the other business has $5.1 million in sales and is on track to hit $12 million in sales for “this year” (remember the show taped last year.
Mark Cuban went off about “dumbass patents” regarding “putting a wire through a piece of clothing”. The same offer came from both Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary – $500k for 15% of the “other” business. Scott left the tank to call Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Scott turned down the offers and left the tank saying, “I don’t need you”.
At SXSW 2011, the biggest mini-event seemed like it wasn’t the conference or the parties at the bars, but the pop-up store Apple setup to sell the brand-new iPad 2. Many of the tech blogs covering SXSW were trying to get all of the details and photos of the Apple Pop-up store before its opening. Lots of blogs covered the line of geeks waiting for the latest tablet.
With lots of chatter that the iPad 3 will be announced on March 7, will we see another pop-up store arriving in downtown Austin at SXSW 2012? SXSW interactive runs from March 9-13 and SXSW music and film run through the 18th. There are two stores in Austin but both are not within walking distance or a reasonable cab fare from downtown. The 2011 pop-up store was just a few steps from the convention center and I heard the chats on line were some of the best conversations during the entire event.
Google has setup an “interactive village” near the Austin Convention Center to offer lots of developer events (including Android) throughout SXSW. Apple’s potential offering to SXSW attendees might be the latest version of the iPad. Something tells me that if Apple does offer the iPad 3 at SXSW, the Google Village will be running a bit light for a few hours while a caravan of developers head to Congress Avenue to get their iPad fix. Since the Google village is to far to walk to the potential pop-up store, maybe Google should offer a shuttle to help developers get their crack and then back to Google.