Remember when Austin’s SXSW celebration of music and digital innovation was a small, intimate affair where a few hundred attendees gathered to listen to cool bands and network with tech thought leaders like Robert Scoble? Portland’s Rick Turoczy does.
But with SXSW turning into a major conference that boasts 40,000 attendees, tech-founders-turned-celebrities and every major digital brand vying to promote their latest products, Turoczy sought to bring back the original spirit of the festival right here in Portland.
The Portland Digital eXperience, Sept. 5-8, is a smaller-scale celebration of music, startups and creativity, according to Turoczy, who in addition to putting together the event also manages the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) and is the creator of the Silicon Florist blog.
“The caliber of talent and access to experience is absolutely amazing,” said Turoczy, who helped recruit speakers like former Tumblr exec Andrew McLaughlin and Aaron Draplin of FieldNotes. “Portland Digital eXperience is a more cost-effective way of experiencing what happens at SXSW – but right here in our backyard.”
In addition to two full days of panel discussions by national and local tech entrepreneurs, the event includes a PDX Startup Crawl on Thursday, Sept. 6, giving attendees a first-hand peek at many of the city’s burgeoning tech companies. The festival concludes Sept. 8 with a music hack day.
At the end of the day, said Turoczy, the festival is really all about creativity. “Even though much of the event is focused on technology, technology is really just a creative pursuit and a way to express yourself,” he explained. “A tech entrepreneur’s creative motivations are no different than an artist or a musician; their insights into the creative process are applicable to any business entrepreneur.”
Portland Digital eXperience is offering OEN members a $25 discount off the regularly priced conference registration. To register, go to Portland Digital eXperience and use the code: MFNWffPDXcode.