Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Digital Shoreditch Festival – the Upside Opportunity


I’ve previously shared a summary of observations during my attendance at the 2012 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive events earlier this year. What I didn’t mention was that I had the opportunity to briefly meet Kam Star, while he was in Austin, Texas attending SXSW.

As the founder, Kam explained his aspirations for the Digital Shoreditch Festival -- to replicate some of the success of the SXSWi legacy within the London marketplace. Why should this bold goal matter to the British public. For starters, it’s about the potential economic impact.

Case in point: for the second straight year, in 2011 the SXSW Interactive attendance fueled the impressive increase in event attendance -- although SXSW Film and SXSW Music also enjoyed banner years as well.

The City of Austin’s hospitality industry benefitted from the outside visitors with two very profitable weeks. SXSW’s direct booking of more than 10,500 individual reservations totaling 47,500+ room nights -- that was an increase of more than 20 percent over the previous year.

In 2011, it’s estimated that SXSW in total (interactive, music and film events combined) was directly and indirectly responsible for injecting about $167 million into the Austin economy.

In addition to the economic impact benefits, there are clearly other advantages derived from SXSW by the local tech-related clusters and the extended creative community. As an example, I often meet old business friends and make some new ones during the Interactive panels, the press briefings and the numerous parties.

That being said, I also believe that London, England has some things in common with the emerging tech and digital creative clusters in Austin, Texas. In particular, London already has established gaming, music and film/video sectors that’s represented by accomplished entrepreneurs with a proven track record.

In summary, I’m very optimistic about the upside opportunity for market development in East London, and I look forward to learning more about the evolving community during my upcoming visit.

See the depth and breadth of all the sessions at Digtal Shoreditch that span across two weeks. You can choose from a couple different attendee ticket types, and then there’s the mobile hackathon -- with a £10,000 prize.

If you’re planning to attend the event, perhaps I’ll see you there. I’ll be the gentleman following the event buzz, taking notes at sessions, snapping some photos and shooting video – all in preparation for a follow-on story, to be published upon my return.

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