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October 17, 2017

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Joe Downtown: South By Southwest conference offers more than tech tips

Tech information and life skills tips flew fast and furious at the first South By Southwest tech conference at the Cosmopolitan today.

Called SXSW V2V, the conference was expected to draw about 1,500 attendees.

By 10:30 a.m., Congressman Joe Heck and Bluefields founder Andrew Crump, who moved to Las Vegas from England, talked about the need for immigration reform to ensure more efficient gateways for tech workers and startups.

Another speaker talked about the importance of increasing productivity 2 percent and how this would “two ex” (which means “double”) the return on investment. To do that, one idea Paul Gu, co-founder of Upstart, said people might consider is getting clothing tailored to save the hours it might take to find clothing at a store.

Another speaker laid out in rapid-fire a litany of websites startup founders can turn to, each costing less than $100, to test their websites on a variety of fronts.

Mark Daniel titled his talk “Silicon Valley: The New Hollywood.” Having lived in Silicon Valley for about a year, he likened Silicon Valley to Hollywood not because it’s becoming a movie studio haven. Hollywood, though, draws people who think they’re going to get there and make it big in the movies. The same is true in Silicon Valley in relation to startup founders.

“Retweets, launch parties …  private events press, invites, connections” are what many newbies think are necessary for making it, he said. “What I found is: None of this matters. … What I found is: There are so many people with this idea that the next day you’ll wake up leading this great company and being a multibillionaire, and that’s probably the furthest thing from the truth.”

Daniel’s 12-minute talk wasn’t the exception but the rule of some presenters early on in the conference.

It’s not just being smart, having integrity and resiliency that helps people make it, Daniels added.

“It’s (still) difficult to build something decent that people want to use every day,” he said.

Daniels found the secret, hard as it might be to do.

“Look at your time as an investment and … put as much time as possible toward what it is you want to be doing, then eliminate everything that is extraneous,” he said.

Commuting, he added, and wasting time in a car “are things taking money out of your pocket.”

“If I could give one bit of advice, it would be to be unbelievably selfish for those people you choose to spend time with, then unbelievably selfless with those people,” he said.

Dozens more speakers are scheduled to speak today through Wednesday.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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