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SxSW Tips from Dave Knox and Mike Sarow

Dave Knox Cincinnati Startup Pow Wow
Dave Knox speaks to #StartupCincy at Rhinegeist

#StartupCincy got the ins and outs of SxSW from two veterans on Tuesday, February 24th. Dave Knox spoke first and talked about the lessons he’s learned since his first SxSW experience. Mike Sarow followed and spoke about his experiences and some mistakes he made last year as a SxSW virgin.

Dave Knox, CMO of Rockfish Interactive and Co-Founder of The Brandery, started going SxSW in 2009. Over the years, he witnessed the transformation of SxSW from an event attended solely by startups to a massive festival with large brands and big-name VCs. Dave advised first-timers to leave some of their experience up to chance.

“Overall you should plan half your day and leave the other half to serendipity.” he said, “Just find one speaker you really want to see and structure your day around that.”

He also had some useful advice when it comes to the SxSW nightlife. “Avoid 6th Street.” he said, “The best places to go are Grady Street and high end hotels. Especially high end hotels because that’s where the VCs and startup founders congregate.”

Mike Sarow Cincinnati Startup Pow Wow
Mike Sarow shares his first SxSW experience

Mike Sarow, co-founder of Kapture, spoke next and shared his experiences as a SxSW newbie. Mike and the Kapture team went to SxSW for the first time 2 years ago.

“We drove the whole way to Austin. We had no badges and little to no plans.” he said, “Our only goal for the trip was to network as much as possible.”

Even without badges or plans, Mike and the Kapture team saw the speakers they wanted to and got into the parties they wanted to. All through networking. Not bad for their first time. But there were some things he would have done different.

“There’s going to be a lot of people you already know at SxSW. People from Cincinnati and people from your own personal network.” he said, “We wished we would have taken advantage of that. The people you know will make your networking efforts easier and more effective.”

SxSW runs from March 13th to March 22nd in Austin, TX. Let the #StartupCincy community know you’re going so we can all make the best of the experience!

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