SXSW kicks off on March 9th, and I’m excited to be heading down to Austin for one of the most amazing events IN THE UNIVERSE. The conference has served as a fantastic platform for Philadelphia the past few years through an initiative called Amplify Philly.
The idea for AP started in 2015 after a group of us came together via the Philly Startup Leaders listserv. I had started scheming on how to get a bigger Philly presence for SXSW Interactive with Danielle Cohn and Rick Nucci. They encouraged me to pitch it to Philly Startup Leaders, where I had pitched something similar for SXSW several years earlier. As it turned out, Dave Silver had just put on a Philly music showcase at SXSW Music (which happens right after Interactive), and lots of other people and organizations expressed strong interest. There seemed to be magic from the first planning meeting.
Since then, we’ve had two really great years. We’ve had shows featuring awesome acts like Lil’ Dicky and DJ Jazzy Jeff as well as a “Philly alley” in the exposition hall.
Well, this year we’re Amplifying it even more with an #AmplifyPhillyHouse #jawn on Sunday, March 11th and Monday, March 12th.
This year, the awesome folks at Witty Gritty joined our team. They’ve arranged two days of daytime programing and sessions to go along with Rec Philly’s awesome nighttime activities (yes, Jazzy Jeff is back again this year). Oh, and did I mention that we’ll have free food and drinks and La Colombe coffee and tasty cakes and, well, you’ll have to sign up and see!
If you’re attending, don’t forget to RSVP for your VIP tickets to the special music events!
Amplify Philly Official House Party with DJ Jazzy Jeff
March 11th from 9:30PM - 2:00AM
Amplify Philly House
Pour Choices: 401 E 6th St
Amplify Philly Official SXSW Music Showcase
March 12th from 8PM - 2AM
Amplify Philly House
Pour Choices: 401 E 6th St
And since you’ve made it this far, here are the top 9 reasons why I love this effort, and why you should too!
- ...with a bullet. It’s a testament to the amazing Philadelphia “innovation” community that I’m blessed to be a part of. There aren’t any other cities that I know of where leaders from small startups, Fortune 500 companies, different types of nonprofits, and local government can collaborate in a way that would make something like AP possible.
- We did it without initial support from any of the agencies who support local/regional tourism, conventions, and visitors - something totally unique to Philly. While we have 2+ tourism agencies, they weren’t involved in the initial stages of this. Thankfully, they’ve been involved for the past two years, but the fact that we were able to do this on our own is a great testament to the Philly community.
- It shows our government is serious about innovation and the innovation communities. While we haven't had consistent support from the local tourism groups, we've had a ton of support, in many different forms, from our local government. StartUpPHL and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce have been key by giving some financial support, but more importantly, serving on the leadership team, and of course getting Mayor Kenney to attend last year.
- It’s an amazing way to form stronger bonds with the local startup, business, nonprofit, and government industries that comprise our vibrant community. There’s something about going away on a trip together that lends itself to creating strong, long-lasting bonds.
- It’s a great place to connect with current and future customers. From the moment I picked up my badge at my first SX, the event has seemed to provide an amazing amount of connections to both current and former customers. Amplify Philly makes this even moar awesomer by giving the sponsors “SXSW currency” (i.e. wristbands to hawt parties), as well as providing a space where the sponsors can meet with their customers/prospects.
- The Amplify Philly effort itself is more diverse, and will help to make SX more so as well. After attending last year, Mayor Kenney talked about utilizing "Philadelphia as a way of attracting a more diverse tech community" to SXSW, and while we didn't have a huge budget this year, I still think we were able to help fulfill that mission (a bit). Take a look at the diverse and amazing speakers we have lined up on the Amplify Philly Facebook Page.
- It’s a great space to showcase your innovations. SX is like the world’s fair for web design, marketing, tech, and advertising. If you have something innovative and want to get it in front of tastemakers across an amazing array of industries, this is the place for you!
- Oh, there are a lot of amazing concerts and parties and activations, so you can also prove how much stamina you have. PRO TIP: if you’re approaching 40, it’s probably not as much stamina as you used to have, and you may pay dearly if you fail to take this into consideration.
- THERE WILL BE LA COLOMBE COFFEE!!! BY THE GALLON!