SXSW season in Austin, TX. The time of year when thousands of people flock to (hopefully) sunny Texas to experience films, rub shoulders with occasional celebrities, be the first to see new tech in person, and rock out to some of the best bands in the world. Needless to say, the stakes are high when you’re trying to stand out during this nearly three weeks of madness.
For the last couple of years though, that’s exactly what Spredfast has done. They’ve managed to create a sanctuary that is every bit as cool, interesting, Instagrammable, and worthy of your time to experience as most anything SXSW has to offer. From cool tech to savory food, queue-worthy swag (yep, we lined up to get it) to local booze, every experience feels catered to making visitors and locals feel like they’re home.
They’re doing it again this year with the #SmartSocialSuite, an exclusive event celebrating current customers, potential customers, and partners.
I sat down with Spredfast CMO Jim Rudden and Director of Events Grace Gittinger to talk about how they ended up where they are, their approach to SXSW and their flagship event Spredfast Summit, and how they manage to outdo themselves consistently year after year.
The TL;DL (too long; didn’t listen) highlights:
- 1:06 How Jim traversed through the tech industry to Spredfast
- 2:05 Grace’s path from agency events to Spredfast events
- 2:35 So…why Austin?
- 6:40 Where does the inspiration for these great events come from?
- 13:10 Don’t forget about your vendors.
- 15:45 The next step in a successful event⏤branching out.
- 17:50 “It’s a people business, and we believe in it.”
- 19:20 How do you prove the ROI of creating an awesome event?
- 23:50 Jim discusses how the Austin tech scene has changed over the years.
- 24:40 Jim and Grace’s favorite breakfast tacos in Austin