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On April 26, ten startups that are part of the “1 Semester Startup” program at the University of Texas will show off their new concepts to the world. The event is free for all to attend and will be held at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium in Austin.
Here’s the event overview:
Undergraduate students experienced entrepreneurship first-hand, learning from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Austin. University of Texas students from many different departments including Computer Science, Engineering and Management started companies and were assisted with a semester-long program of startup acceleration: speakers, mentors, and supervised project work. Mentors are exceptional people who have successfully started one or more companies.
Each startup will get 6 minutes on stage and then you can go and talk to them afterwards. There will be numerous other leaders from the Austin entrepreneurial community in attendance as well.
In addition to the startup presentations, Dr. James Truchard will provide the keynote discussion. Dr. Truchard is the president, CEO and co-founder of National Instruments.
Course instructor and founder/angel investor Joshua Baer has also requested help for next semester. He notes:
1. We need more mentors. Stop organizing your wine collection and get a better hobby — help young entrepreneurs!
2. We need 2 TA’s to help us run the class.
3. We need the best student entrepreneurs at UT Austin who want to get credit for working on their startup and mentored by Bob Metcalfe, myself, and many others.
I am not sure what the requirements to be a mentor are as I applied last semester but never heard back. If you are in Austin, this is a great opportunity to help students become the next great entrepreneurs!
If you are looking for a job at a startup located in Dallas, you should check out the RoundUp for Startups event later this month. The free startup recruiting event will be held on April 21, 2012 from 4-8 pm at Deep Ellum Brewing Company in Dallas, Texas. The evening is broken up into two segments:
- 4-6 pm: social recruiting and networking
- 6-8 pm: a band will jam while attendees network over food and drinks
Over forty startups located in the Dallas area will be attending the event recruiting for over 100 positions. The organizers describe the event as, “…open to everyone that is interested in joining growing and young technology and startup companies, from recent graduates to seasoned professionals. If you are a software/hardware/network/equipment/test/QA engineer, software programmers/developer, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) specialist, web/mobile designer, system administrator, project manager, or technical designer, this is your chance for a great career move. If your speciality is sales and marketing or business development, and you want to work with the next great North Texas startup, this is your chance to get involved. If you have a passion for what you do and are looking for a fulfilling position at an exciting young company, don’t miss this event!”
As a Giants fan, I’ve been told I am banned from entering the city limits of Dallas. But for the few of you out there that aren’t Giants fans, this looks like a great opportunity to network and potentially grab a job at a Texas-based startup.
Now that SXSW is over and after you have spent a few days in Austin, you may want to continue to follow the tech startup happenings around the Austin area. Here are several resources that are worth checking out:
Update April 2012 – Check out the new Austin Startup List – it has a ranked list of Austin-based companies based on web traffic and other SEO and social media factors.
Silicon Hills – a blog covering technology news in Austin and San Antonio. The articles aren’t organized by date so you need to scroll to find other stories that might be newer than the first article.
Austin Startup – their tagline is, “Ditch the Valley. Run for the Hills.” Of all of the Austin resources I follow, theirs is the most regularly updated (nearly daily).
RISE has a full week of sessions next week – the sessions are located all around the city and are almost all free. Check out the sessions list and make sure you check out the sessions for each day (I’d guess there are 150-200 sessions).
Startup Weekend is coming back to Austin from March 30-April 1. The events will be held at HubAustin Coworking and costs $75-99. The final startup demos on Sunday evening are free to attend.
Whenever I meet with startups to review their services and/or apps, I generally always stress the importance of usability. It’s so critical that a service be useable – both to keep current users and to have those same users recommend the service.
Since my first visit to Austin for SXSW many years ago, there was one thing I noticed that bugged me regarding usability at the Austin Convention Center. Lots of panels during SXSW are on the 3rd floor at the convention center but this floor and area is the hardest to get to. It’s obviously easy to get into the building on the first floor and there are lots of options to get to the 4th floor, but getting to this mysterious third floor was always odd. I am sure that if you have been to SXSW, you know what I am talking about.
To get to the third floor, there was just an escalator at the far end of the convention center or an elevator down that same hall. If you were coming into the building at the top end, it was just poor usability in the method needed to get to the third floor.
But there was always a simple fix – the huge double escalator from the first-to-fourth floors has a landing on the third floor but there is no path from the escalator to the third level. Why was it built like this? To torture people as they can see the third floor and it would be just a short hop across but yet there is no way to get across without fear of falling and a certain death?
Continue reading “The Austin Convention Center Realizes the Importance of Usability” »
The interactive portion of SXSW 2012 is now signed, sealed and delivered. Based on foot and car traffic downtown, this was the largest attendance since I started coming to Austin 6 years ago. As always it was great to meet so many people I only speak with via email or social media. For the last two years, I’ve provided photos of the expo hall, and this year I bring you fresh photos in case you weren’t able to attend the conference. You can check out my 2011 and 2010 photos for comparison.
The expo hall continues to grow – my first year the expo hall was tiny and this year it was as large as most “trade show” conferences. The expo hall was heavy on the interactive side but is open for days that cross all three SXSW sections: film, music and interactive. I was disappointed not to see Izea with a booth – I think they have been here every year I’ve attended.
We begin our photo tour with a woman dressed up like an angry bird?
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!