We’re back and finally somewhat recovered from the madness that is SXSW. This year, Michelle, Pam and Matt attended (Michelle’s usual partner in social media crime, Adam, was out having a baby – congrads, Adam!)
Like last year, the event was blur of meet-ups, panels, interviews, intense hallway conversations and non-stop activity. Sadly, the BatchBlue team didn’t get to attend too many panels, but as a networking event, it was great. And a lot of cool stuff came out of it.
In the days (okay, more like hours) leading up to SXSW, we put the finishing touches on the beta of BatchBook sync, which was hugely exciting for us as it brings us one step closer to the idea of true data portability. Our plan was to soft launch BatchBook sync at SXSW, then return home to do some tweaking and de-bugging before really getting the word out. But like many well-intentioned plans (especially as they pertain to SXSW), this got tossed out the window and instead we found ourselves buckling our virtual seatbelts for a wild web app ride. Lots of new traffic and an ill-fated server move resulted in some growing pains for BatchBook, but thanks largely to the superhuman, nocturnal efforts of Sean and Matt, we’ve made it through and are better than ever. We also give a huge thanks to our customers both old and new for bearing with us through that rocky week.
T-Shirts and a Texas-sized small business brunch
Since we knew how much people depend on Twitter in Austin to help them plan, we brought a bunch of “BatchBook Social CRM” t-shirts with us that had a space for people’s Twitter handles on the front. The t-shirts were a big hit: we literally had people chasing us down to get one! Thanks to our friend and unofficial BatchBlue mascot TJ Sondermann for the concept.
On Sunday, we planned on hosting a Small Business Brunch with our friend Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions. We expected maybe twenty or so folks to come by the delicious Moonshine Cafe to meet up, network and talk small business. We were pleasantly surprised when more than double that number showed up, thanks in large part ot Shashi’s mad Twitter skills. The restaurant was extremely accommodating and graciously set up extra tables so everyone could enjoy their delicious Sunday brunch. We hung out with social media man Jeff Pulver, Lisa Rodwell from Moo cards, Saul Colt from Freshbooks, Becky McCray from Small Biz Survival, and many many others. Perhaps the most important connection made that morning was when Matt learned chicken-fried steak is best eaten with gravy.
The Small Business Web
We were also happy about how much excitement the concept of the Small Business Web generated, both with our new sync partners and the press we spoke with. Grant Robertson from the Download Squad shot a really fun video (see above) of us and some of the folks from Freshbooks, Outright and Shoeboxed talking about the Small Business Web. It was definitely our most rock star moment, as people crowded up to us after the interview wanting to know more about our products and how they worked with each other. Cool! We’re still sorting out the details of what the Small Business Web will look like as we partner with other folks, but we did put together a sort of mission statement:
The Small Business Web is a movement to bring together like-minded, customer-obsessed software companies to integrate our respective products and make life easier for small businesses. While there are many products available for small business owners on the Web, the approach we’re taking is to use each others APIs to provide a high-level of integration between these applications and create a more seamless experience for our customers.
Our goal is to refine and better define the Small Business Web over the upcoming months. We’ll be updating here as we do.
We also got some other great press coverage coming out of SXSW, which you can read on our Press page. One of the coolest things was that Chris Brogan called us his “favorite web app” (well, after Twitter), which is a huge compliment coming from the King of All Social Media (though he would tell you he was but its humble servant).
In all, it was once again a worthwhile conference filled with interesting people doing exciting things and we were very glad to be a part of it. Thanks to everyone we met and we hope to see you again in Texas next year (you too, Adam!)