SXSW - just give it a shot

We had the great pleasure to participate at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas and to win the German Startup Pitch! Below we report what we have experienced and what we can copy from the Americans.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of the largest and most important annual meetings for Startups and established companies in the tech sector. Nevertheless, it is still not very well known in Germany. Unfortunately. The combination of the latest technology, daring business models as well as film and music is unparalleled worldwide. The venue is Austin - a small town in the heart of Texas and on the edge of America's Bible Belt.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of the largest and most important annual meetings for Startups and established companies in the tech sector. Nevertheless, it is still not very well known in Germany. Unfortunately. The combination of the latest technology, daring business models as well as film and music is unparalleled worldwide. The venue is Austin - a small town in the heart of Texas and on the edge of America's Bible Belt.

Elon Musk Q&A | Bild: Jonas Steeger

But also beside the main acts the SXSW has a lot to offer. In the 5 days of our participation nothing was more difficult than to decide every day which session to take part in. A small excerpt: We listened to MIT Professor Hugh Herr connect mechanical prostheses with the human brain. We listened to Amy Webb as she delivered a comprehensive report on the new tech trends. And indeed, we also participated in interactive sessions that no longer had a human speaker - but were led by Google Assistant.

All the more we were happy to win the German Startup Pitch at such a progressive conference (more here)!

JJonas Steeger with prices of T3N, Heise and German Startup Spot | Picture: Hamburg Startups

With all these experiences it is of course not easy to write even one Top 10 list. Nevertheless, we asked ourselves what was probably the most impressive thing. Elon Musks vision of a re-civilization of the earth by human inhabitants of Mars after a third world war fought with nuclear missiles? Self-propelled shuttles without steering wheel and brake? The flysuit for everyone? Or to meet Fogo de Chao, one of Dell's first employees, at Austin's probably best steak house, who invites us dinner. But actually it was something completely different. Even in the craziest presentations, we haven't even heard the following sentence once: "That won't work."

Austin Rodeo | Picture: Hamburg Startups

Of course there was criticism. But never this premature funeral of an idea. The conference topics had more of a "Just-Give-It-A-Shot" mentality. It remains to be seen whether this is always the case. But in our opinion it promotes innovation and a spirit of discovery. Perhaps it's also because we quickly wondered about virtually nothing. Not even when, in the middle of nowhere at the Austin rodeo, we could of course buy our giant burger from the food truck contactless with a credit card. In Hamburg we had to look for an office with a bearable internet right now... just as a comparison. We are inspired - to put it bluntly - have made incredibly exciting acquaintances and are now trying to bring a little bit of this zest for action back to us.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hamburg Startups Team around Sanja Stankovic, the sponsors Deutsche Bank, Hamburg Invest, Sutor Bank and Vast Forward and of course the crowd of like-minded young German Startups, which we first had to get to know in Texas to realize that we are partly neighbours (more about this here). We would also like to thank the German Haus and all those involved in the Reeperbahn Hamburgers! It was a blast!

Fogo de Chao over the roofs of Austin with Qualitize, Inspirient, NDR and Hamburg Startups

If you want to know more about the SXSW and the German startups represented there, we recommend the diary of Hamburg Startups.