The Lobby Scene: At SXSWi NYC's Silicon Alley went to the Driskill Hotel
Parties, may they be promotional events, drunken revelries or simply a group of people wandering down 6th Street, are an essential component of the SxSWi experience. If you want to try to keep up with the plentiful choices of nightly events, get an app; if you want a good after-party meet-up with SXSWi's impressive tech scene, head to the Driskill.
To help navigate the surfeit of SXSWi parties, apps such as Leetto or Ditto are essential. A Fousquare-like meet-up app, Ditto enables mobile users to share their future check-ins enabling friends to share their own feedback for a particular venue you all may be heading to.
Ditto actually picked last night's cowboy-themed steampunk party at Emo's to officially launch. The show was still the talk at breakfast at the Hilton's Executive Lounge and in the aisles of the convention center. An agency guy's eyes lit up as he recollected last night's "artful" burlesque performance.
But between the Ignite party (a social media agency), a mobile music party at the Phoenix (that wasn't nearly as interesting as advertised), and a mobile meet-up at Ginger Man, the Driskill Hotel was, as usual, the place to be.
Meeting up at the 19th century hotel has become something of a SXSW tradition turning the bar there into an informal party lounge. After the other industry gatherings fade, people who are not yet ready to call it a night can turn-off their favorite location-based app and head to the grandiose Driskill.
The lobby on the opening night of SXSW Interactive felt like NYC's Silicon Alley with a preponderance of the Big Apple entrepreneurial tech crowd. There was a pod from Hashable (a networking app), a co-founder of HowABoutWe.com (an online dating site) and Greg Galant from Sawhorse Media (the company behind the infamous Twitter-based Shorty Awards). The scene there seemed, ironically enough, to rotate around Foursquare founders Naveen and Dens (Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley) and their team, like flies around a light source - who seemed the actual personification of their well-known social meet-up app.
Driskill Lobby Insider: Fergus Hurley, CEO of Clixtr, a location-aware photo sharing app, shows off his cassette-tape-like iPhone cover.
Upstairs was still completely packed at midnight with excited dot-comers, who could have been from anywhere between California or Philly, colliding into each other.
Later, the hotel manager welcomed in a few police officers and bouncers who fiercely guarded the doors to prevent late-night interlopers who didn't have a room from entering the hotel's premises.
On the way out, one could bump into high-energy "buspreneurs" eagerly promoting their Lemonade Stand, a neighborly mobile classifieds app with calling features. The startup was among many created in 48 hours on board of 6 buses -- each filled with 30 people -- from cities such as San Francisco, New York or Cleveland to Austin, TX traveling to SXSW Interactive -- crowd sourcing in real time.
Greg Galant, of Sawhorse Media and the Shorty Awards, plays with his brand new iPad2