My son’s first grade class took a field trip to the San Francisco Symphony yesterday. But, like most of the kids on the trip, he was much more excited to ride the BART train into the city than he was to sit through an hour of classical music.
As we boarded the train, he wanted me to tell him all about the things we’d see- the Berkley hills, the Oakland street art, the ship yards. He was especially excited about the fact that the train went under the ocean en route to the city. He was certain this would be the most amazing part of the trip. How could it not be. We were going to be on a train, UNDER THE OCEAN!
As we began our descent into the tunnel, I let him know what was happening. When the light vanished and we were fully enveloped in the tunnel I excitedly told him that we were now under water. He looked puzzled, then turned to me with disappointment in his voice and asked, “but where was the splash?”
Clearly his expectations for a train ride under the ocean were more Disneyland, less Oakland. He anticipated a thrilling adventure filled with sea creatures and marine life but got a dark hole at the edge of a ship yard instead.
As SXSWi begins to wind down I can’t help but think of all the startups who pinned their hopes to breaking out at the show. Months of anticipation and countless sleepless nights with the promise of a Twitter-like launch or, perhaps, getting the mayor to name a day after your company.
The reality is, most launches are more like the tunnel under the bay than they are like the Finding Nemo ride. More dimly lit hole, less splash. Even the triumphant launch of companies in years past have become overblown and sensationalized by the media.
So, if you’re leaving SXSW without a crown, an official day or a Techcrunch article declaring you’re the next big thing, don’t fret. Like my son’s train ride, there was a lot of exciting scenery before the tunnel and some dark moments before we reached our destination. Over dinner last night he talked about the fun train ride, the friends he met and the way the symphony played Star Wars. The “going under the ocean” thing may have disappointed, but the adventure as a whole was his “best day ever”.
It was more about the journey, less about the splash.
If you launched a product at SXSW or updated your service for the show, I’d love to see what you’ve built. My contact information is on our website. Send me a link and I’ll take a look, if I’m into it I’ll suggest a few times for us to talk. And, good luck on your collective journeys!
PS- The picture is of the lunches my son packed for our field trip. You’ve now had your daily dose of adorable.
Bryce has been on fire with his blogging lately and this is just one more great example of his awesome posts.
The growing popularity of SXSW is directly related to the rise of lottery ticket entrepreneurs. Those that think they will be able to hack some feature together and be the next Foursquare, Twitter, etc.
While that does happen, it is about the same frequency as winning the lottery. If you are going to start your own business you better do it realizing that you will not be the lottery winner and for you like me, will have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty for a few years before seeing the hopes of some sort of positive outcome.