Taking Advantage of South By Southwest: An Interview with Ewan Spence From Forbes

Over the years, South By Southwest has continued to grow and evolve from its original arts, film, and music festival format, to a massive conference where artists, musicians, film makers, techies, startups, and fans alike gather for a week of sharing their art and ideas. For many startups, it’s a great opportunity to network with other companies, meet users, talk to reporters, and get the exposure that’s necessary for success. But despite the undeniable networking opportunities, having a good showing at South By Southwest doesn’t guarantee success, however, if you go to the festival with an open mind and ready to meet new people and collaborate, SXSW can be an invaluable asset to your business.

Ewan Spence

In a recent interview at SXSW, Murray Newlands talks to Ewan Spence from Forbes about the ways startups can take advantage of the show and use it to make new connections, interact with users, and grow their fan base.

To find out more, watch the full interview below:

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These are the key takeaways from the video:

  • Ewan describes SXSW as a melting pot, but despite the diverse crowd that it brings, he says that it’s difficult for a company to really get a big win out of the festival because of the size of it and the amount of competition. However, Ewan says that startups can get “small wins” from the festival by meeting new people, sharing business ideas, interacting with real users, and taking business connections and new information home at the end of it all. He says that the networking and free flow of information that comes with SXSW is truly what makes it valuable for startups.
  • Ewan says that another advantage of attending SXSW is that everybody who is in the tech ecosystem is all in the same place for that short amount of time, and that that’s when great ideas are shared and manifest into true business opportunities. As long as you are collecting contact information and taking notes while you’re there, SXSW can be an invaluable experience for the growth of your startup.
  • Towards the end of the interview, Ewan stresses the importance of treating SXSW as a learning opportunity and to soak everything up like a sponge. He says to go to presentations that you’re unsure about, to learn from people or companies that aren’t necessarily related to your business, and to take the information and ideas from the show and apply them to your business later after you’ve had some time to think critically about them.
If you have any questions after watching the video, please leave them in the comments below!
To find out more about Ewan and connect with him, visit his website at

About the author

Murray Newlands is YourStory’s US Correspondent and Deputy Editor of Search Engine Journal. Murray founded The Mail in 2013, an angel-funded startup publication covering performance marketing and mobile marketing. Murray is an advisor to a number of bay area startups and has authored several books.

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