Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

March conferences – SXSWi & Web 2.0 Expo SF

Posted by shannonclark on March 10, 2009

I will be attending two major conferences this month – SXSWi in Austin and then at the end of the month Web 2.0 Expo here in San Francisco. I almost decided not to attend SXSWi this year, due to the current economic situation, but I am attending because, as I noted in a conversation just this week, nearly 100% of ALL my business opportunities come from in person networking

Occasionally this is immediate – I attended a one day conference years ago in NYC where I met a future client during a lunch roundtable, spoke with him briefly during a break, then met with him after the conference and closed a 5 figure consulting project to start nearly immediately the next day. 


More typically conversations and interactions at a conference lead to follow meetings and emails, to discussions, to introductions and in turn these turn into very real business. What makes SXSWi so valuable is that it is long, it is insanely social, and as a result it offers a nearly endless opportunity to network – dozens of chances to grab coffee, brunch, lunch, dinner, or to get pulled into a hallway conversation. Not to mention some of the best parties of any tech conference (especially if, as I do, you know most of the party organizers and can get into them with VIP passes).  

But I don’t drink very much – so for me these parties are mostly an excuse to get to know people in a casual, laid back manner, to engage socially with people whom I may later work with (or more likely refer others to and occasionally get referrals from). 

For me this year at SXSWi I will be focusing on two main things. 

  1. Promoting tbnl. I will have a basic web presense for tbnl before SXSWi and at SXSWi I will be looking for subscribers, advertisers, supporters/sponsors, and most importantly great writers and content sources. I’ll be following up with the dozens of writer friends whom I will see at SXSWi and will be asking them to submit a story (fiction or non-fiction) to tbnl. 
  2. Expanding my consulting practice. In 2009 I am looking to do more significent consulting engagements, especially paid work helping startups (or large more established companies) explore their business strategy and opportunities – especially focused on how technology & social media can help. I am one part McKinsey and one part a tech system integrator/custom architect sprinkled with more than a bit of social media expertise (since 1991). 

I will be arriving in Austin on Friday March 13th in the afternoon and will be in town until the evening of Thursday March 19th. If you are in Austin and want to meet up and grab coffee follow me on Twitter (@rycaut) and feel free to dm me or call me directly. 

Web 2.0 Expo

This will be my third year attending the Web 2.0 Expo which will be held March 31st to April 3rd at the Moscone Center West here in San Francisco. I’m one of the official blog partners for Web 2.0 Expo and will be covering the conference both here and at my other blog on Branding – Slow Brand

As a blog partner I can offer you my readers a discount – Use code websf09trt12 at online registration for 30% off any registration package.

I am really looking forward to Web 2.0 Expo this year, in part because the “buzz” about Web 2.0 is muted at the moment due to the economy, what I’m looking forward to seeing is who is still standing, what they are working on and launching, and how the general audiance is approaching the current changes in the economy. I am a huge believer in the transformative power of the web and especially the revoluation represented by Web 2.0. 

I am also a believer that downturns, such as right now, are some of the best times to start a company. All of the necessary parts are cheaper and more available – from office space to employees to partners and service providers. All are more willing to negotiate and more willing to devote themselves to helping you succeed. In turn it is a great time to build relationships – helping people make money in the current economy will result in very real and significent rewards in the future. 

For myself I am looking at a lot of opportunities at the moment – advising startups as well as dusting off technologies and ideas I have had in the past and seeing if there are ways to implement and launch them in today’s economy to be positioned strongly for the future.

So I hope you can join me at Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco at the end of the month – I will probably be organizing a dinner or two during the conference as well as other meetups and like SXSWi I’m always happy to grab coffee and meet up with readers.

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