Stumptown Startups Blog

A Portlander's take on Austin's SXSW Interactive

As Portland startup mentors, hopefuls and success stories return home from a busy, and I would imagine pretty fun, few days in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW), I find myself intrigued and a little jealous that I wasn’t there. 

But thankfully, my co-worker got to go.

He’s the web guy, so he dropped in on some tech startup events.  Here’s his take:

Guest blog post by John Tierney, KATU.com Executive Producer

Somewhere out there is an investor with deep pockets who is thinking “the world needs more apps.” After a week at South by Southwest Interactive, it might be more accurate to say lots of investors think the world needs more apps.

And it seems they all have really weird names. As a lawyer friend explained to me, it’s quite difficult to trademark a new name for an app while still being at least somewhat descriptive. (link “really” “weird” and “names” to these three apps: http://www.gravidi.com/  http://yappem.com/ http://www.glympse.com/) 

SXSW is a chance for tech start-ups to connect with thousands of potential customers and, importantly, investors.

Some are ready for the big-time, but some clearly aren’t. For instance, I was talking with the creator of a website that pulls in videos from other sources on the web. It seemed like a clever idea, but a few minutes into his pitch it became clear the guy had a poor grasp of copyright law.

I started asking questions about how his software worked within copyright laws and it quickly became clear he had never considered this simple legal question. My lawyer friend quickly concluded his entire business model was based on something that was illegal.

I doubt he found a lot of customers or investors. He should probably focus on finding a good lawyer.

That being said, maybe I saw the “next big thing” at SXSW this year. After all, it was the 2007 SXSW Interactive conference that saw Twitter gain the traction that would ultimately make it the social media behemoth it currently is.

In the meantime, I’ll be sorting through the pile of business cards I got and figuring out what to download next.

Comment here or email me with your experience at SXSW!