Ten SXSW Interactive Events Highlighting the Austin Tech Community

Systema Solar at SXSW Music 2016 photo by Tim Strauss, courtesy photo

A lot of locals have left town and rented out their homes on HomeAway and AirBnB to pay for their vacations.

This is an early indicator that it’s time for Austin’s largest, and one of the world’s largest, technology, music and film conferences: South by Southwest.

This year, Hugh Forrest, director of programming at SXSW, is writing several curtain raiser posts on Medium. Check them out to stay in the loop. He even did three posts highlighting Austin speakers: part one, part two and part three. He also wrote 15 Geekiest Geeks including William Hurley, known as Whurley, co-founder of Honest Dollar and Chaotic Moon. And I don’t think he even hit them all. (Austinite and Gaming Pioneer Richard Garriott de Cayeux will do a session on explore/create and has a new book out.) That just goes to show how many innovators Austin has speaking this year.

It’s also that time of year when you look at your online calendar and realize you have to be at five places at the same time. So in this post, Silicon Hills News attempts to make life easier by highlighting ten events of interest to the Austin technology community and those outside of Austin that want to get a taste of the local tech scene. (Some require badges, most don’t – but check with the host to make sure you’re good to go.)

1. Austin Tech Happy Hour– Bryan Menell hosts this long-standing tech happy hour at the Dogwood at 715 West 6th Street starting at 5:30 p.m. tonight. This is the 10th year in a row for the pre-SXSW Austin Tech Happy Hour. It is an unofficial event so no badge is required.

2. The Austin Technology Council kicks SXSW off right with its annual party tonight at the Belmont at 305 West Belmont. The party kicks off at 6 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. and bring your dancing shoes to kick up your heels to the band: Encore.

3. Austin Open Coffee hosts a special SXSW edition at Atlassian Austin on Tuesday, March 14 from 9 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. (Bonus: The view from the Atlassian office is spectacular and they have good coffee too!) Argh! Looks like it’s sold out. Maybe you can bum a ticket off someone if you know someone in the know.

4. One of our favorite parties of the year is an invite-only gathering called the Entrepreneur’s Lounge that takes place nightly starting Friday at Fogo de Chao, right next to the convention center. Laura Beck and Bart Bohn put on this soiree that attracts the who’s who in the Austin community and beyond. It’s a great place to grab a drink, talk about the day’s events and rub elbows with the best and the brightest in the Austin tech community. And it’s turning 10 years old this year! The only problem is there is a LIST. You have to be on the LIST to get in.

5. And that brings us to another local gathering of top VCs, startups and other distinguished guests at the Rattle Inn called Hometown Hangover Cure, put on by Austin Ventures. It takes place on Sunday starting at noon and features an awesome Bloody Mary bar and hand printed (on the spot) T-shirts and a selection of great bands. This is also an invite only affair with a LIST. So make sure to get on the LIST and RSVP.

6. New this year is the SXSW Startup Crawl, put on by Joshua Baer and his team at Capital Factory in the heart of downtown Austin, is an official event. The fun kicks off Monday night at 5 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. at various tech offices around town. The main event is at Capital Factory and features startup showcasing their companies at tables at Capital Factory. The event even has its own App with a detailed map on all the companies participating. It’s a great way to see inside some of these fabulous offices and meet the people behind some of Austin’s most enterprising companies.

7. WeWork is offering SXSW attendees a quiet place to catch their breath and work from Friday, March 10 – March 19. It is hosting “Recharge Oasis” for $25 FOR THE WHOLE WEEK. That also allows temporary members to attend an innovation panel, and participate in daily fitness classes, lunches, cocktail experiences and several parties. Of note, on March 15th at 4 p.m. WeWork is hosting an Investor Cocktail Hour featuring Bulleit Bourbon Cocktails.

8. General Assembly and SXSW are putting on a special series of workshops on everything from how to code to data science at General Assembly Austin kicking off at 11 a.m. on Saturday and running through Sunday at 4:30 p.m. And this might be one of the greatest bargains at SXSW because all of the workshops are FREE!

9. For SXSW badgeholders, the University of Texas at Austin is hosting two days of panels, parties and exhibits at UT Live. Of note is “Transforming Ideas Into Ventures” on Saturday at noon at 3TEN ACL Live for a panel discussion on innovation. The panel features “George Georgiou, startup co-founder and named one of the top 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), Nanshu Lu, startup co-founder and named one of 35 Innovators Under 35 (MIT Technology Review), Clint Bybee, co-founder and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners and Melissa Repko, tech, innovation and entrepreneurship reporter for The Dallas Morning News.”

10. In the 2nd Street District at Galvanize Austin, the focus is on diversity and tech inclusion with the Tech Inclusion Austin event on Wednesday, March 15th starting at 5:30 p.m. and featuring talks and panels on “jobs, access and opportunity, empathy and ally ship, inclusive and accessible design, creating inclusive teams and more.”

And for your listening pleasure while you fly or drive into Austin or walk around the beautiful city, tune into hear the stories of successful entrepreneurs who have built companies in Austin with Silicon Hills News’ Ideas to Invoices podcast which just launched for South by Southwest. Download the first few episodes on iTunes and be among the first to hear it.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect the $25 cost for WeWork’s program is for the whole week, not the day.

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