So after a much longer flight back from Austin than I ever imagined possible, I’m finally sitting down this morning to put out some of the experiences from the evening. I had a great time, and as a native of Texas, am extremely proud of the impressive turnout to the event. Austin, of course, plays home to the SXSW conference every year; that event is something of a requisite to attend for anyone in tech these days, and most of Silicon Valley ends up being there.
Taking a look around at the hundreds of native Austin-ite folks that were there showed me that we have a similar burgeoning Web 2.0 community here in Texas that could potentially give California and New York a run for its money.
That’s really the theme of the evening from the event that I picked up. I’ve found a few videos already starting to show up across the web talking about that from Austin natives as well as a number of visitors. I’ll show you those, but I wanted to lead off with today’s Mashable Conversations video, which I shot just before running to the airport to catch my plane back home.
I round up a few of the interesting folks I met and spoke with there, what it is they’re doing, and talk a tiny bit about Yoono, a SummerMash sponsor as well as the subject of today’s SummerMash interview.
You can check that out through the embed below or by downloading today’s MP4.
There were a number of great videos that were shot and have been thrown out there to the web, as well as a literal mountain of images taken of the evening. One that doesn’t go to illustrate any particular point but of the sheer size of the event is one I found by “A Yankee in Texas.” It’s a short couple minute piece consisting mostly of crowd shots.
More to the point of the momentum shifting for Austin away from being a city with some techno-geeks in it towards a city that actually likes to geek out over technology like they did at the event, I’m not the only one who seems to be noticing it, and my distance from Austin seems to be providing me a bit of the perspective to make that judgement call.
I was speaking with Josh Dilworth early on in the evening, and he wondered aloud whether or not Austin was becoming another Silicon Valley, if it was something he imagined since he wanted it so much, or whether it was just something that happened once a year because of the massive SXSW conference. As someone who’s much closer to the Dallas tech scene, I was able to shed some light – SXSW did provide a bump in the Web 2.0, social media and general tech awareness for the entire state, and it is something that continues to resonate and ripple around the various tech centers here.
About a month after SXSW is when WordCamp Dallas occurred here, an event I attended. From all over the country folks came to speak, talk and listen about WordPress and blogging, but most of them came from Austin and the DFW area. Unsurprisingly, most of them were still buzzing heavily about that years SXSW event, and that energy and enthusiasm seemed to carry over into the Dallas social media and tech community still.
Will Pate, of Net@Nite and CommandN fame, was on hand for the night and was interviewed by the folks over at Spring.net. Pete, who seemed to have a radar last night that drew him inexplicably towards all cameras, came in and hijacked the interview, and observed that Austinites, unlike some startups elsewhere in the country, really have no regrets about not being in the Valley.
Will later noted that he met his Net@Nite co-host Amber MacArthur at SXSW, and during his repeat visits he’s seen a significant growth in the tech community, with more web-savvy faces of companies showing up from Houston, Austin and Dallas, something that “gives [him] a lot of hope that these startups are really pulling together and are building these communities that are going to bring forth these great next companies.”
The bottom line is that there are a lot of great efforts an truly interesting things evolving here in my corner of the country, something that not only excites as a Texan, but as a geek.
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