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Six Lounge

SXSW 2012 Recap

//Interactive

This was my first year to truly embrace the Interactive portion of Austin's annual South By Southwest Film, Music and Interactive Festival. It was quite a change for me as the past 7 years I've attended the music portion only, while venturing into a couple Interactive panels last year and participating in the Film portion for our work with SENNA Movie's two screenings in 2011.

For some reason I thought Interactive would be, well, easier - afterall, how much energy would it require to sit in conference rooms all day listening to the game changers of technology and innovation? WRONG! Four straight days of 9AM - 6PM conferences is appealing at first glance, but the work that goes alongside it is what got me: perusing the 112-page "Pocket" Guide to plan (and revise; and revise again) my schedule, coordinating with prospective contacts, Tweeting, fielding emails, scheduling outside meetings, networking, status updating, re-charging (mind, body and devices), and most importantly, transporting, with only 15 minutes between sessions (if you want to insure you have a seat in that session) took it's toll on me. Throw in three straight days of rain and voila - you have SXSW 2012. It was all worth it for the content and connections.

//Transformation

Nokia Lab at SXSW 2012What I really enjoy the most about SXSW is how our city transforms to welcome the world. I extended my evening runs down Congress Avenue and into the heart of the Warehouse and Convention Center districts to see the transformations taking place. On Tuesday night, Nokia was transforming a vacant parking lot across from The Cedar Door into a 3 part inflatable igloo - aka "Nokia Lab." The winter wonderland housed a mix of gadgets, games, good music and fun in the middle of a 70' "Austin winter" day (the rain helped).

Last year, GE built a solar-powered carousel, aka "Carousolar," in the vacant lot across from SIX Lounge. This year, Nike took over the space and hosted a "hackathon" tied into their newest product, the Nike Fuel Band, by changing our iconic Frost Bank Tower into a larger-than-life Nike Fuel Band display, changing it from it's normal blue and white tones into hyperactive red, orange and green tones.

Niek Fuel at SXSW 2012While we realize it may take a few years for our Formula 1 race to transform the downtown Austin area on this scale, these are perfect examples of how Austin embraces social and technological change and showcases it so well in our city.

//Festival Fever

"Festival Fever" Presented by Leadership Austin, KXAN News and 44 Doors

Back in February, Leadership Austin put on a panel entitled "Festival Fever," featuring Geoff Moore of COTA, Hugh Forrest of SXSW Interactive, Jon Roberts of TIP STrategies and Lisa Hickey of C3 Presents. It was neat to hear different perspectives from these community business leaders and their thoughts on how large-scale events impact Austin. More importantly, their comments on planning for future expansion did not fall on a deaf ear. You can read more about the event recap here.

SXSW 2012 Interactive Campus Shuttle Map

 

 

One final note on the success of SXSW: the transportaion logistics utilized during the Interactive portion made it possible to navigate between 14 different campuses in a grid-locked downtown Austin. The shuttle was provided free of charge to Interactive registrants and ran every 5-10 minutes at each stop on the route. There were four different routes and the shuttle drivers were friendly, courteous, and provided clean and classy shuttle service. Hats off to SXSW on pulling this off. Another logistic they have completely nailed down and we hope, for your sake, will be emulated during F1 week in November.

 

 

 

 

Circuit of The Americas Ready to Deliver $25 Million

Special Delivery for Mr. EcclestoneCircuit of The Americas has issued a bold statement on this Thanksgiving holiday: we have the cash to pay Formula One Management's 2012 race sanctioning fee and we've met the contractual requirements to proceed with our race. Now, it appears that the ball is in Bernie's court to countersign the contract. Here is the release:

Circuit of The Americas Ready to Pay Sanctioning Fee and Offering More
Proposal Satisfies 2012 Request, Accelerates Payments for Subsequent Years


AUSTIN, Texas - November 24, 2011 - Circuit of The Americas has responded to Formula One Management's contract requirements by agreeing to an immediate cash payment of the sanctioning fee for the 2012 United States Grand Prix (USGP). In addition, Circuit of The Americas has offered to establish an advance payment schedule for USGP races beyond 2012. The offer comes after several weeks of talks, and once accepted, will secure the USGP on the Formula 1 race calendar.

 "We have been ready to send Mr. Ecclestone a sanctioning fee check for some time now," said Bobby Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas. "He hasn't received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands. We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving. This race should be a reality, but if we are going to make the 2012 race date, we must receive a countersignature in the coming few days. We believe the teams, fans, sponsors and local business share our enthusiasm and hope that their voices will be heard."

We have been anticipating Bernie to make an announcement about our Austin Grand Prix this weekend, during the last race of the 2011 season from the Brazilian Grand Prix.

What is most interesting to us is that COTA has confirmed the viability to pay the 2012 race sanctioning fee immediately with $25 million in cash. You will recall, that the Comptroller of the State of Texas, Susan Combs, recently retracted her offer to pay Formula One Management its $25 million sanctioning fee in advance of the race. She explains the change of events in an interview with local Austin news channel KVUE; you can watch the unedited version of the video by clicking here.

How will Bernie respond? What role is Tavo playing going forward? With the recent halt in construction, is it feasible for us to finish the track in time for our slated November 18, 2012 race date? These are still real questions that will be answered in due time, but we feel reassured that our investors have answered Bernie's recent demands by committing the payment and contract.

As Will Buxton told us all back in June, we all want the 2012 race to happen, so let's MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Don't forget, we have our last downtown watch party of the 2011 season back at Six Lounge this Sunday. We'll kick things off at 1:30 PM with food from Pluckers Wing Bar and drink specials from Red Bull and Pepe Z Tequila. Come ready to race because Robert DeGroff will have his ever popular iRacing simulator on hand for guests to take for a spin.

Sunday, November 27, 1:30 PM
Six Lounge, 117 W. 4th Street, Austin
Free and open to adults over the age of 21
Facebook Event Invitation here

Hope to see you all this Sunday, and Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!

What in the [Dell] World?

What comes to mind when thinking about Austin as a tourist destination? Most would recite our mantra as "The Live Music Capital of the World" with a proud, Texas-sized smile.

But recently, Austin has been referred to as high tech's "Silicon Hills," or the southern answer to San Jose, California's Silicon Valley of the high tech industry.

We'd have to agree. Just look at the companies located and headquartered here. When the F1 US announcement was made last year, we quickly defended the decision, citing Austin's ability to absorb hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year and serve as a great place to live and work throughout the year, due in large part to the numerous technology companies in our backyard.

Another Sunday Funday at Six Lounge

It figures. We go boasting about how construction at Circuit of the Americas is soooo ahead of schedule because of our drought, and then BAM! Rain, rain, rain. Some speculate that it is a result of the University of Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma University Sooners football game. Moving on...

Jenson Button and his Mini-Me!

Our fans still braved the rain and joined us once again at Six Lounge where we had more seating, more food and better audio setup to enjoy the Japanese Grand Prix.

And enjoy the race, we did! WOW, Suzuka, you did not disappoint! Congratulations to Jenson Button! We bet these F1 plush dolls are worth a pretty penny now! Check out Jenson's mini-me below:

And, we had a little fun with Sebastian Vettel's double World Championship win which was secured at Suzuka. Have you seen the viral Double Rainbow YouTube video? I have heard the term used over the past year, but didn't realize there was a video to match. I finally watched it last week and couldn't stop laughing.

Video Update: Construction Ramping Up

There have been some concerns lately about work at the circuit "slowing down" - we understand this to have been a timing issue. The groundwork progressed amazingly quickly because of the lack of rain during the Texas summer, so they were able to exceed normal construction deadlines & speed up the timeline. We've been told vertical construction would start in October, and our friends at Friends of Circuit of the Americas updated us on Tuesday, confirming new equipment arrived at the circuit.

We decided to head out to the circuit on this lovely Texas October afternoon (albeit still HOT!) and share it with you.

Downtown Austin Watch Parties Take Pole Position

Is there any doubt that Austin and Central Texan Formula One race fans rock? We don't think so! In response to our fans and friends wanting to gather in downtown Austin and watch the races, we've been trying out different venues: Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill on South Congress, Icenhauer's on Rainey Street, Fado Irish Pub near 6th Street and now, Six Lounge, also blocks away from 6th Street. Each venue has offered something different while welcoming our fans and friends a comfortable place to mingle while watching the races.

Doc's had spectacular service and great food in a motorworks theme; it was formerly a filling station, but now it houses one of the best eateries and patios on the famous South Congress Avenue. Doc's served as our first meetup spot on August 20, 2011, after the Red Bull Racing F1 Show Car filming on Congress Avenue. Most of us were still giddy with excitement after being feet away from an F1 car just moments ago, and that energy continued as we met other fans over the course of a hot Saturday afternoon! Thank goodness Doc's kept us cool with cool drinks and even cooler A/C.

Fans chat at Doc's Motorworks after the Red Bull Running F1 Show Car demonstration in Austin