As some of you may know, I have had the privilege to attend South By Southwest in Austin, Texas for the last several years and there is really nothing else like it anywhere. With that background, I thought a post about “South by Southwest 2015 and Military Veterans” would be a great area for me to cover personally and professionally. So this year, I am focusing on military veterans and some key events at Southby (called by locals) for this community of current and former soldiers. First let me give you a brief overview of what South by Southwest is in all it glory. The event started out in 1987 as a music festival, but has grown now to become something altogether different. In 2015, South By Southwest encompasses interactive (technology), education, music, movies, games and so much more. The event brings collaboration in these areas forward – and quite frankly is a good excuse for people to come to Austin and party. For ten days in March (mostly coinciding spring break) Austin transforms into a land of techies, musicians, gamers, corporate sponsors and so much more than was ever envisioned back in the mid 80’s. As an Austinite since 1997, with SXSW you get what you want out of it and sometimes more. Most locals stay away, some flock to it, while others cautiously dip their toes in certain areas of the event. I have done a bit of all three and now firmly reside in the camp of strategically going to events and panels that are relevant to me. Of course, I usually dedicate a day or two of nothing but music, which can be alot of fun. If you try to do the entire 10 day SXSW (as I did in 2012), you will probably be overwhelmed with the chaos and fun, but you will be exhausted in the end. With this blog post, I wanted to focus on a few key happenings at South By Southwest 2015 that focus on our military veterans. As over 2.5 million post 9-11 military veterans return from the battlefield, they are looking for new careers, have ambitions and are even starting companies as entrepreneurs at a higher rate than the general public. Below are a few events at South by Southwest 2015 and military veterans focused events being held in Austin this year. Be sure to check them out if you can.
Vets in Tech and Silicon Valley Bank Event at Parkside
This event takes place on both March 13th and 16th at Parkside on East 6th Street in Austin. This is an invite only event geared towards military veterans and is hosted by Silicon Valley Bank. The goal of this event is to provide veterans a client lounge for them to relax, recharge, network, and take office hours. SVB has offered space during their “office hours” to veterans interested in entrepreneurship. SVB is leveraging their network to bring together some of the most experienced professionals in the industry to offer advice and guidance to our early stage veteran entrepreneurs. Veteran entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to book office hours with VCs, angel investors and seasoned entrepreneurs. In you are an military veteran and interested in this event, reach out to me via private message on Twitter.
Veterans in Tech, Entrepreneur & Innovation Breakfast
This event is really cool and attempts to bridge together how government policy can help further military entrepreneurship across the tech industry. Dell and the Austin Technology Council are hosting this tech networking breakfast at Chavez located at the base of the Radisson in downtown Austin on March 14th from 9:ooam to 10:30am. For this event, you will have the opportunity to engage with industry leaders and policy stakeholders (elected officials will be in attendance) on various tech and entrepreneur priorities impacting veterans. The conversation will address how policies can support increased veterans sustain long term participation in the tech industry. Here are some of the questions that will be discussed:
- Do veterans have access to social networks and capital to pursue entrepreneur goals that support innovation?
- How can a lawmaker efforts compliment ongoing goals in the tech industry to support veterans in technology?
- What policies should be considered that support tech entrepreneurs impacting veterans?
Military Veterans First Feature Film Selected for SXSW
This is just a great story about two former military officers who wrapped up their first feature film called “Ktown Cowboys” which was selected for SXSW 2015. Check out this link to find out the dates where it will play next week in Austin during the movie portion of SouthBy. Its a coming of age movie that most guys can relate to no matter the ethnicity and have to check this out soon. In looking at the trailer and out takes, it certain reminds me of my youth. Congrats to these veterans for making this happen and putting out what looks to be a great movie.
In summary, as you embark on all that is South by Southwest this year, be sure to check out these events if you are a veteran or interested in the betterment of our military veterans. Lastly, I wanted to also share if you are interested in connecting with Salesforce at SouthBy as they have four different events you might be interested in. Have fun this year at Southby and hope to perhaps run into some of you.
Hector Perez Jr.