Austin TC Meetup + Pitch-Off


Spotted on TechCrunch.

Who’s ready to party, ya’ll?

That’s right. It’s finally happening. The TechCrunch Meetup + Pitch-Off series is officially underway, starting with the beautiful, historical and sometimes rowdy city of Austin. We want to see who has the chops to represent the great state of Texas in our 60-second pitch-off competition.


Tickets are $5, and are available here. The event will be held at Stage on Sixth, and begins at 6pm on May 30.

Even if you don’t have a startup to launch in the pitch-off, come on over and have a beer, talk tech with myself and John Biggs, East Coast Editor and Matt Burns, Senior editor and watch entrepreneurs fight against the clock to impress the likes of us and some local tech big wigs and VCs.

But perhaps this is the big break you’ve been waiting for? Entrepreneurs, dreamers, visionaries, and founders, we beseech thee. Apply to present in the pitch-off, wow us with your wares, and maybe take home one of our amazing prizes. First place will receive a table in Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013. Second Place will receive two tickets to the upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt, and Third Place will receive one ticket to TechCrunch Disrupt SF.

Plus, all those startups who are selected to pitch at the meetup will get 15-minute one-on-one meetings with TechCrunch writers and editors to discuss your pitch, product, and get feedback.

More mature startups who wish to present their wares to the attendees rather than be judged by us TechCrunch folk can also purchase a demo table here.

Our past meetups have been a huge success, and when we added in a 60-second pitch-off competition, where entrepreneurs have one minute to pitch the judges with just words and mic, the TechCrunch meetup series really found its stride. The New York Pitch-Off led to a few startups getting into the Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt, and the pitch-off winner found itself launching on-stage in the Disrupt Battlefield.

But New York was only the beginning.

Austin, you’re up next. So make this Texas girl proud, and show the world how the stars at night are big and bright (clap, clap, clap, clap) deep in the heart of Texas.

Our sponsors help make Disrupt happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our sponsorship team here:

Written by Jordan Crook.


Google Glass: How it Works


If you’re like me, you’ve seen the videos for Google Glass and have been wondering “How does the damn thing work??” It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have something that close to your face being able to be read without constantly shifting your field of focus and being either a complete strain on your eyes or worse, a danger to everyone around you. (I slightly exaggerate here for effect – see what I did there?)

Well – thanks to this clever infographic it all makes sense now. It projects an image on the back of your RETINA. No focusing needed after all. I now know what I want for my birthday…


Google Fiber Coming to Austin


America’s weirdest city is about to get wired.

From TIME Magazine:

Google Fiber is coming to Austin, Texas, according to multiple reports. If true, Austin, home of the South By Southwest festival, will become the largest city to receive Google’s super-fast, one gigabit Internet and TV service after Google Fiber’s initial launch in Kansas City last fall. In a tantalizing clue, Google Fiber’s news website briefly flashed a message over the weekend reading: “Google Fiber’s Next Stop: Austin, Texas.” Google may have inadvertently managed to scoop its own announcement, because the message was quickly removed.

“It’s no longer a question,” Austin-based blogger and telecom expert Stacey Higginbotham wrote on Saturday. “Google is bringing its Google Fiber network to Austin. I’ve confirmed it with sources and the brief publication of a post in the middle of the night by Google should assuage anyone else’s doubts.”

Google Fiber’s arrival in Austin would be the clearest signal yet that the tech giant is serious about becoming an Internet service provider — and isn’t merely out to shame the existing broadband giants with its lightning-fast service. In Austin, Google Fiber would compete with the nation’s second largest cable company, Time Warner Cable, which dominates the Austin market. (TIME parent Time Warner spun off the cable giant in 2009.) Last month, Google announced that it is expanding the service to the Kansas City suburb of Olathe.

“I don’t think this should surprise anyone because Google’s leadership has been saying that this is not just a science experiment,” says Blair Levin, a former senior Federal Communications Commission official who led the U.S. National Broadband Plan. “It’s looking more and more like they want to make this a real business, and that should excite everyone.”


Mobile Local Advertising to Spike


Mobile local media advertising is poised to soar in the next four years.

Chantilly, Va.-based media consultant BIA/Kelsey says there will be a sevenfold rise by 2017 — getting to $9.1 billion in 2017, from $1.2 billion in 2012. That’s an annual compound growth rate of nearly 50%.

This will represent a 6.1% share of all local media ad revenues, up from a 0.9% share in 2012. BIA/Kelsey says large brand advertisers will increasingly come to using mobile campaigns with premiums for location-targeted advertising.

BIA/Kelsey says mobile local ad revenues will grow to 54% of overall U.S. mobile advertising — up from 38% in 2012. Total U.S. mobile ad spending, is estimated to climb from $3.2 billion in 2012 to $16.8 billion in 2017.

Local media search advertising will continue to garner the most dollars — hitting $5.7 billion in 2017 from $704 million in 2012. This will be followed by display advertising, estimated to land at $2.7 billion in 2017 from $379 million in 2012.

Local mobile video will also climb quickly — reaching $515 million in 2017, from $38 million in 2012. SMS (commercial SMS messaging) will climb from $101 million in 2012 to $162 million in 2017.

Read more:

iPad Rumors – Coming April 2013?


It’s been almost six months since Apple released its iPad 4 with Retina display, but rumors sourced from people close to Apple indicate the company may release its fifth-generation iPad, the so-called “iPad 5,” by the end of this month.

In a Branch chat between several prominent Apple reporters, the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer reportedly has a special event planned for April said to center completely on iPad.

“I’ve been hearing rumblings of an April event for sometime now, as I’m sure we all have,” said FOX anchor Clayton Morris. “But so many factors could be in play. The Spring has traditionally been iPad season and we’re hearing about cutbacks in larger iPad supply.”

“I’ve heard from several sources that there was/is an event planned for April, new 9.7 inch iPad if it’s ready,” said iMore editor-in-chief Rene Ritchie.

“I’ve also heard April, but never in conjunction with iPhone, only iPad,” said Matthew Panzarino, managing editor for The Next Web.

“I’ve heard nothing, but I’d think Apple would like to introduce the new Mini-style full-size iPad in April,” said Daring Fireball’s John Gruber. “If we don’t see it in April, I’d guess that it’s late. And if it’s late, I think they’d do a standalone event in May rather than hold it until WWDC in (I presume) June.”

Many believe the iPad 5 will look and feel like the first-generation iPad Mini, with its anodized aluminum enclosure, diamond-cut chamfered edges, altered speaker design, and most notably, its smaller side bezels, which reduce the tablet’s heft while maintaining the same screen size. Furthermore, most reliable sources, including KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, said the iPad 5 would be “significantly lighter and slimmer” than last year’s 9.7-inch Apple tablets.

via Apple iPad 5 Rumors: Release Date Coming In April With Redesigned Features And Specs?.

A Look Back at …


To pick just one example of a truly revolutionary model that reshaped the industry, let’s look at the Nokia 1100. This phone debuted in 2003 and went on to sell more than 200 million units. It was a landmark model because it packed a remarkable combination of functionality into a 93-gram phone that cost around $80. The 1100 featured 400 hours of standby time despite its tiny size, a hugely important factor for households with spotty access to electricity. It offered advanced messaging features, ringtone composing and games. This was a device that helped turn the mobile phone into the most important consumer electronics product in the world by making it affordable, extremely durable and useful beyond voice calls.

A Look Back at the Global Mobile Phone Revolution

Unlike with the personal computer or the video game console, you simply cannot review the history of the mobile phone without a global perspective. There are 6 billion mobile subscribers in the world.

via American mobile phone history revision criticism | BGR.

Crash Course in Coding Over Four Days at SXSW


Pay special attention to the following quotes:

“One of the biggest challenges in marketing is that the people responsible for decisions don’t know what it takes to implement certain solutions,”

“As Huge showed at SXSW, the most successful digital shops are, at their core, tech companies.”

Exactly. Work with marketers who know what they’re doing. They’re few and far between.


On Tuesday night — the last night of SXSW Interactive — a crowd of newly minted software developers were drinking in the back patio of Midnight Cowboy, a speakeasy on Austin’s famous 6th Street. These people weren’t celebrating the end of the festivities, however; they were celebrating the new set of skills they learned over the past four days.

While others were attending panels and parties, this group was busy learning computer-programming skills in the Frost Tower in downtown Austin, courtesy of a class hosted by Brooklyn-based digital agency Huge.

“One of the biggest challenges in marketing is that the people responsible for decisions don’t know what it takes to implement certain solutions,” Huge’s director of marketing, Sam Weston, said. “It’s a priority for us to teach our own employees and others the language that the world is written in now.”

HUGE code session at SXSW

The class — taught by Huge software developers — attracted students from as far away as South Dakota who were so eager to learn how to code that they came to Austin on their own dime to participate in the class. (The class itself was free.) Students ran the gamut from documentary filmmakers to former rocket scientists, all of whom recognized that even the most rudimentary coding knowledge is essential to success in today’s digital world.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years,” Greg Whitescarver, director of technology at Huge’s Los Angeles office. “The number of open coding jobs being greater than the number of unemployed shows a huge talent gap in the economy.”

One of the students was Amy Lam, a mechanical-engineer graduate from MIT who used to build satellites for Boeing. Now, she works with startups out of startup incubator Launchpad LA. She and two friends — 25-year-old documentarian Jamie Thalman and 28-year-old digital-agency entrepreneur Michael Sueoka – -drove 21 hours nonstop from Los Angeles to make it to the class in time.

For Mr. Thalman, the class is important because it will allow him to better serve Tatge Lasseur–the production company he works for–video on the litany of devices consumers watch video on now.

Drew McWhorter, an advertising graduate student at the University of Texas, decided to attend the class instead of skipping out Austin early for spring break like nearly every other Longhorn student.

“Advertising is attractive of the variety of things you can do. You have to know a little bit of everything to do your job well,” he said. “I’ve tried to design websites in the past, but I just used quick fixes. I’m looking forward to building a website from the ground up.”

Also helping instruct the class was Huge software developer Katie Sexton. She happily shared her knowledge with the class and echoed Huge’s philosophy of empowering everyone with technical knowledge.

“I truly believe that the more knowledge you share, the more skills the world will have,” she said. “And I don’t think that will close the door on us [pro developers] having jobs.”

As Huge showed at SXSW, the most successful digital shops are, at their core, tech companies.

via Huge Hosts Crash Course in Coding Over Four Days at SXSW | Special: SXSW – Advertising Age.