With a full night’s sleep under my belt, taco in hand, a grab my badge the morning of Friday, March 9th, Day 1 of SXSW. My name is Micco and I’m the ringleader of The Domination Team, or “DomTeam”, a collection of veteran SXSW attendees and mid-level volunteers, staff, artists, speakers, the film crew with even a healthy sprinkling of newbies each year to keep things fresh and growing. People in the domination team have different goals for their SXSW experience, but they share a fierce “make it happen” hustle spirit and the finesse skills in charisma, social awareness, and street etiquette to execute this mantra. These collection of SXSW stories each day are all the true, sometimes incredible, often ridiculous, and always entertaining stories of the Domination Team at SXSW.
Day 1 of SXSW is a ramp up day, not only for attendees getting registered and getting a feel for their surroundings (SXSW encompasses a good square mile of downtown Austin). SXSW and event sponsors are also still setting up at their various venues across downtown Austin. The first event on my list is the Fast Company Grill located at Cedar Door, a bar complete rebranded by Fast Company just for SXSW. Free food, free drinks, and panels commence as a few of the domination team sit down for food and drinks. Fast Company tends to be a meeting hub for breakfast/lunch during the 1st weekend of SXSW.
The first SXSW keynote attended by the Domination Team was for Jake Tapper, CNN News Anchor, interviewing Senator Bernie Sanders, who came out to raucous applause, as apparently SXSW has many attendees feeling the Bern. Bernie talked politics and policy our the financial regulation bill (Dodd/Frank) from nearly 10 years ago. Taper led Bernie through a range of topics from Guns, DACA, the Democratic party, and even a funny moment on Stormy Daniels. Tapper tried to nail Bernie on his interest for a 2020 presidential bid, but Bernie, expectant of any politician at this early point in the game, dodge the questions.
The Domination Team closed out the day events at Spectrum (formerly known as Time Warner Cable) and Vox, both who had open bars and were done presenting content/sessions for the day.
The semi-annual Capital Factory ATX startup crawl kicked off the nighttime festivities. The startup crawl is multiple downtown startups opening their doors and hosting parties to the SXSW attendees, hosting drinks, food, DJ’s, live music, and other activities/events showcasing their company for marketing and even recruitment. The domination team hopped a few spots, including the main hub of Capital Factory where hundreds of people mingled. Unfortunately, the startup crawl, once one of the more enjoyable events of SXSW, just didn’t have the strength it’s had in the past, with fewer companies participating and those participating putting out less effort in their own startup crawl office party.
After the crawl, most members of the Domination team met up at Land O Lakes venue at Trinity Hall, yes, the butter company. Open bar and open space made this an ideal meetup spot.
The Domination Team began deciding the final plans for the night; most were considering a Fat Joe show sponsored by the Hooch app or a Lizzo show sponsored by Vox. Lines were crazy for both, but everyone got into one or the other, with a few strong veterans managing to do BOTH!