Ribl is heading to SXSW next week — what we’re going to do there and how we’re preparing

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This post was originally published on ribl.co.

Ribl will be at South by Southwest Interactive next week!

I’ve never been to the conference before, nor have I ever promoted my own startup at an event like this, so I’m both really excited and extremely nervous. Here’s a quick rundown of the opportunity in front of us, the presence we’ll have at SXSW, and how we’ve prepared for it.

A Brief History of SXSW

SXSW began as a music festival way back in 1987 as an extension of New York based New Music Seminar. A film and media component was added in 1994, and a year later these were split into two separate events, “SXSW Film” and “SXSW Multimedia,” which was renamed “SXSW Interactive” in 1999.

All of the SXSW events have been breeding grounds for up-and-coming acts and projects. Popular musical artists like John Mayer and Katy Perry were discovered at SXSW Music, and box-office blockbusters such as Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street premiered at SXSW Film.

SXSW Interactive has been just as impactful to the tech world. The popular event has provided a launching pad for startups to promote their products, obtain publicity, and acquire thousands of users.

This has been especially true for social networking startups due to the sheer density of technophiles. In 2007, Twitterleveraged SXSW to gain a ton of popularity and traction. SXSW 2009 saw the launch of Foursquare, which was named “Breakout Mobile App” of the conference by Mashable. In 2012, ambient location social discovery apps Highlight, Glancee, and Sonar, which allowed you to discover other users in your vicinity, were a hit.

Will there be another breakout social technology this year?

Ribl’s Presence at SXSW

Demos and Showcases

We’re excited to unleash ribl to the world (we are launching our public beta on Android next week!), and we’ll be demoing the app at a number of SXSW events including:

  1. Austin TechBreakfast Spectacular, where we’ll be doing a 4-minute speed demo at 10:40AM on Saturday, 3/14 at the WeDC house at Crave.
  2. WeDC Startup Showcase, where we’ll have an exhibit table at Crave from 3–5PM on Saturday.
  3. Up Global’s Startup Oasis Party on Saturday night from 10PM-2AM at Old School Bar and Grill, where we’ll have a showcase table.

If you’re attending SXSW, please stop by!

Marketing and Promotion

We’ll be handing out lots of goodies at our demos and throughout the conference.

We designed and purchased ribl logo stickers from Sticker Giant, which we’ll plaster all over Austin and hand out to attendees. Check out these sweet things:

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I also just discovered a site called Frog Store that sells nothing but frog toys and paraphernalia. I can’t wait to blanket SXSW with frog gadgets!

We’re also planning contests and scavenger hunts where clues will be delivered via the ribl app and attendees can win prizes. These contests should be fun and hopefully they’ll show how ribl can be used to discover cool things happening around you.

And there’s one more surprise that we have planned for the event, which I can’t disclose right now. I’ll be sure to take some pictures and post it to this blog, so check back in a couple of weeks!

How I’m Getting Organized for SXSW

This is my first time going to SXSW so I have no idea what I’m getting into and I’m not really sure how well I’ve prepared. Nonetheless, here are some tools and services that I’ve been using to plan my trip and will utilize on-site to make sure I’m on top of things.


The first question on my mind while planning for SXSW was “Where the party at?” RSVPster had the answer. For a small fee of $30, the service automatically RSVP’s me to every free party it finds online. I know I won’t attend all of these parties, and there are others that I’d like to attend that RSVPster won’t find, but the $30 is well worth it in time saved searching online for events to attend.

Google Calendar

There are so many panels, Meetups, and parties, it’s overwhelming. And I need to be on time for the events where I’ll be demoing ribl, so I’ll be using Google Calendar religiously to keep track of everywhere I need to be. Check out my schedule for Friday, Saturday and Sunday below. Yikes.

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SXSWGo is the official app of the conference and lets me access everything I need to know about the event.

I can view info on all the panels and set reminders for the ones I want to attend. I can see all of the locations where events are being held on a map to make sure I know where I’m going. I can search and network with people whom I know, are in my industry, or are close to me.

SXSWGo is a well-designed app that will be indispensable during the conference.


There will be plenty of chatter on Twitter about panels, parties, and people. There’s a lot of noise on the social network, but it’ll definitely be an important tool to keep my finger on the pulse of the conference.

I’m also going to use Twitter to help promote ribl to SXSW attendees and deliver some clues for the contests we’ll run.


I’ve never been to Austin, but I’ve heard it isn’t quite built to move the over 70,000 extra people who descend on the city. So while I’ll try to use public transportation as much as possible to get around, I’ll probably spend a ton of money on Lyft, who is the official ridesharing partner of the conference.


Of course, I’m going to be all over ribl during SXSW! If we acquire a bunch of riblers at the conference and they’re actively posting and commenting about the parties and events they’re attending, I think the app will be really helpful for attendees to discover where to go and what to do.


We’ve been working hard to prepare for SXSW and promoting ribl is going to be a lot of work, but we’re really excited to attend the event. Hopefully the app will be a hit and we’ll pick up a bunch of users and create lots of buzz. Check back here in two weeks for my recap of the conference!

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Photo courtesy of SXSW

Written by

Dad and husband! Growing @meter_io and @utu_trust. #crypto, #startup, ex-marketer @capitals, power napper

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