Accelerator Centre Client Plasticity: "Why don't more Canadians attend South by Southwest?"

‍“Where are all my fellow Canadians?” It’s a question I asked myself as I wandered the trade show floor; as I collided with entrepreneurs from around the world, as I listened to a keynote by Edward Snowden, and attended a session comparing UX design to fly-fishing.

March 26, 2014

By: Jennifer Moss

Source: Globe and Mail

“Where are all my fellow Canadians?” It’s a question I asked myself as I wandered the trade show floor; as I collided with entrepreneurs from around the world, as I listened to a keynote by Edward Snowden, and attended a session comparing UX design to fly-fishing.

I couldn’t understand why more Canadians didn’t attend or speak at South by Southwest, (SXSW) arguably one of the world’s most important interactive festivals.

When my partner Jim Moss, co-founder and CEO of Plasticity, announced that we would be speaking at SXSW for the third time, we received an onslaught of responses on Facebook. Many people wondered how we managed to land such an opportunity. When I asked startups why they weren’t attending, the two biggest reasons were the cost of attending and the difficulty of being accepted.

I agree. SX is expensive. Flights cost a ridiculous amount and the gouging doesn’t end there: festival passes and accommodations are also pricey, especially in the city core. However, booking months ahead can reduce costs, and this year, an extended shuttle service made it cheaper to get in and out of the conference. As a budget-conscious startup, we took advantage of this new mode of transport and opted to stay on the outskirts of the city.

It also isn’t easy to get accepted as a speaker. In fact, it’s actually incredibly difficult. You have to apply a year out and be ready to deliver a story that is impactful, innovative, thought-provoking and valuable. Oh, and you also compete against 3,600 others, with the understanding that fewer than 10 per cent of applicants will make the cut.

Read the rest of Jennifer's post - including her guiding principles for the application process - on the globeandmail.com.

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