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Social Media Club

F1 at SXSW 2012

The first day of SXSW Interactive Festival included a presentation by Geoff Moore, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Circuit of The Americas. You may remember our chat with him at Innotech technology conference last year (if not, here's the video). Geoff was back to talk about the science behind F1 racing.

If NASCAR is about speed and power and drivers, then F1 is about precision, engineering and difficulty.

He went past the COTA venue presentation to get into some neat technical details of the sport. The Austin Chronicle was in attendance and posted a great recap of his preso, so check it out if you missed the live event. Geoff also shared some great photos from a recent visit to the McLaren Technology Centre in Surrey, England, and you could tell he really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes visit.

It was an honor to host the first official F1 Meet Up at SXSW this year. SXSW chooses current issues and topics that are relevant to conference goers and offers a casual networking meet up to foster the conversations. This is another example of how Austin embraces innovation & pop culture on a global scale, particularly during this time in March. The Hilton Hotel & Conference center was the venue, and kudos to them for providing a class act conference setting for not only our F1 Meet Up, but hundreds of official panels, keynotes, presentations and more. It was exciting to meet F1 fans & newbies from Turkey, Spain, the UK, Australia, San Francisco and more. Excitement filled the room as ideas & business cards were exchanged! Thank you to everyone for coming out.

It was also a pleasure to join Social Media Club again this year at SXSW. We spoke with Caitlin Muir, who knows a thing or two about Formula 1 (BTW, 3 cheers for female F1 fans!). Enjoy this video:

Already looking forward to doing it all again in 2013!

Austin Transforms Into "The Pop Culture Mecca" This Week for SXSW

In less than 48 hours, all trend-setting eyes will be on Austin for the 26th annual South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festival. Comprised of three varying components, the series offers the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.

Here, take a look:

Last year Austin welcomed 49,126 registrants from 76 countries and an additional 49,681 single admission tickets to film and music events, showcased 2,098 music acts across 92 stages and screened  140 feature films with 1,116 screening filmmakers in attendance, and that's not the half of it. These numbers cover the official registrant stats; countless attendees participate in Austin's largest discovery event without a SXSW badge.

This time last year we were pulling together the final touches to help sell out both showings of the award-winning SENNA movie at Austin's gorgeous Paramount Theatre and welcome Asif Kapadia to Austin.

This year we're also doing our part to keep the F1 buzz growing in Austin. On Monday, March 12 from 5:00-6:00PM I'll host the official SXSW "F1 Meet Up" at the Hilton Austin Downtown. If you're a registered attendee of the SXSW Interactive festival, join us for an hour of networking, brainstorming and idea-building as we discuss the next big thing to transform Austin later this year.

On Sunday, March 11, Kevin and I will again join Social Media Clubhouse as they broadcast live from the IBM Social Lounge in the Austin Convention Center via their Ustream channel at noon. Social Media Club is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing social media education to more than 300,000 members across 52 countries. Last year we had the amazing opportunity to discuss how social media played a role in the distribution of the SENNA movie with director Asif Kapadia. This year, Kevin and I will share our thoughts on the role of social media in the sport of Formula One, especially in the United States in anticipation of our inaugural race this November.

There are countless sources to learn more about the SXSW experience. CNN News broadcast live from the event last year and will be back again at the CNN Grill, apparently with a US presidential candidate in attendance this Friday. There are numerous SXSW-themed information boards on Pinterest. Austin-based advertising agency GSD&M has a fun online "SXSurvival" guide.

The ultimate resource, however, continues to be the official website, which is

Here are a few quotes about SXSW that capture its essence:

Every March, thousands of young, jeans-wearing techies, filmmakers and musicians descend upon Austin, Texas, harboring dreams of getting noticed and hitting it big. They come not just for the balmy weather or the Tex-Mex food but for South by Southwest ("SXSW"), a collection of conferences and festivals that's considered one of the most influential happenings on the annual cultural calendar ...

... It's a massive crystal ball for pop culture. Whatever people are talking about at SXSW - the movies, the bands, the apps - are the things that will really hit it big in mainstream pop culture in six months to a year down the line."

CNN, March 10, 2011


What SXSW has always been about is people. It is the single best place in the creative innovation world to build relationships and get to know people. I have friends from all over the world that I've met over the last five years thta I can't wiat to see in Austin every year.



SXSW's creators never conceived of the festival as the massive, three-pronged assault by the latest in music, film and technology that it is today when they launched the original, music-only event in 1986, with 170 bands in 12 clubs to an attendance of about 700. But they've been smart enough to keep an eye to the future all along - first in the music programming, then in the bringing togeterh of music with film and computer-age "interactive" components in 1994 and, this year, by combining all three trade shows into one giant mass that recognizes that all three sides of SXSW now feed and feed off each otehr."

The Toronto Star, March 15, 2011


Twenty-five years after the South by Southwest Music festival emerged as a showcase for new bands, it has become as big and eclectic as pop culture itself with spotlights on movies and, increasingly, high-tech.

Reuters, March 22, 2011


After the festival we'll share our discoveries with you and reflect upon what we learn in anticipation for our November race, which is slated to be three times the size of this production. Until then, enjoy the show.


Exclusive: Interview with Senna Director Asif Kapadia - #SENNAxSW

On Sunday I got the chance to sit down with Kevin and Asif to talk about how social media has affected the release of the movie, our growth of The Austin Grand Prix, and the Formula One community. The Social Media Club House at SXSW in Austin, Texas was the venue, as Social Media Club hosted a full four days of live Ustream broadcasts from the house. We had hoped to patch in the film's writer, Manish Pandey, to join us in the discussion but were unable to do so. Enjoy...

Exclusive: Interview with SENNA Director Asif Kapadia from The Austin Grand Prix on Vimeo.


Behind The Scenes Gallery


SENNA By Southwest (aka #SENNAxSW)

"SENNA Wins at Sundance," Courtesy of Working Title Films   "We were told that no one in the US knew who Ayrton Senna was, that there was no interest in Formula One, that we should forget about releasing the film here, so to win the Audience Award at Sundance is just fantastic, it makes us feel so proud. We hope this shows that there is an audience for SENNA in the US, both fans and people who have never heard of him before and I hope this is just the beginning of a long journey for SENNA in 2011.”-Asif Kapadia, Director of SENNA, upon collecting the World Cinema Audience Award for Documentary at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival


Hopefully you've heard the awesome news that the SENNA film will be screened at SXSW on two occassions. We've got a few more tricks up our sleeve for anyone in Austin this week for SXSW AND for our worldwide fans who are saving their pennies for the inaugural Grand Prix race in 2012. Let me simplify for you:

SENNA film posterSENNA premiere #1 at The Paramount Theatre on Saturday, 12 March, 11:00AM:

  • Doors open at 10:30AM.
  • If you have a SXSW Platinum or Film Badge, you are guaranteed entry to the film.* I would still get there by 10AM.
  • Next are SXSW Film Passes. I would get there by 9:45AM to get a earlier spot in line.*
  • Last are the Advance Single Tickets. These are what you bought online from The Paramount Theatre for $12 and congrats, you helped sell out the SENNA film first :) You should line up early, I'm thinking REALLY EARLY. Like 7AM. Call me crazy but if this is the first screening to completely sell out 100 these Advance tickets (which don't even insure your entry) wouldn't you want to be in line first?? The good news is that The Paramount is the largest screening in Austin (I think, however Vimeo may be larger) and if you don't get in, you can get your $12 refunded but you have to be at the box office "within 30 minutes of the film" (not sure if this means before or after; double check.)*
  • Bring tissues and waterproof mascara so you can continue your SXSW schedule after viewing this film as I am sure you will be touched and inspired.
  • RSVP ON OUR FACEBOOK INVITE so we know you're coming. Heck, the Director and Austin Mayor Pro Tem did; are you too cool? 
  • Please wear your COME AND RACE IT© shirt to the movie premiere!!
  • I purchased a few extra Advance Single Tickets so if you're looking for one please tweet me @AustinGrandPrix ASAP.

Post-Premiere Reception by the Formula 1 United States team at the Long Center.

  • Press & Media event including a discussion with Tavo and Asif on the SENNA film and the future Grand Prix in Austin and the appearance of the AT&T Williams F1 car (interesting choice); here's a preview:

    From AT&T Williams website.

  • Kevin and I will be sharing as much information as we can with you LIVE from the Long Center.
  • Watch our Facebook page and Twitter Feed for the latest.
  • I will also use the hashtag #SENNAxSW all weekend so watch for that.
  • If you want to interact with us and ask us questions about SENNA, Asif Kapadia or SXSW just use the hashtag #SENNAxSW or tweet it to us @AustinGrandPrix.

Social Media Club Panel broadcast live on Ustream

If you can't join us in Austin, On Sunday afternoon I'm conducting a discussion on how social media is affecting the Formula One world live from the Social Media Clubhouse 6 at SXSW. This year they've partnered with Ustream to broadcast the interviews LIVE on the interwebs!

  • The broadcast is at 1:30PM CST on Sunday, March 13.
  • You can join us at the Social Media Clubhouse 6 but you must have Social Media Club credentials.*
  • The panel will include me, Kevin and SENNA Director, Asif Kapadia. We're also still working on technology to include the SENNA writer, Manish Pandey, from London. We really wanted him to be here for SXSW but since he can't join us, we're still working to include him.
  • Again, use the hashtag #SENNAxSW to tweet us your questions and feedback. We'll do our best to participate with y'all live while on the air.
  • I'm embedding the Ustream channel below but in the event it does not work, watch it live from the SMCH6 Ustream channel.

Live Videos by Ustream

SENNA premiere #2 at The Paramount Theatre on Thursday, 17 March, 7:15PM

  • Same details as above but there are 56 Advance Single Tickets still available from The Paramount Theatre here.
  • Asif will also be in attendance at the second screening.
  • More details early next week.
  • RSVP on our Facebook invite for this event as well.
  • Please wear your COME AND RACE IT© shirt to the movie premiere!!

Kevin and I are extremely excited that we've been able to help bring the SENNA film and Asif to Austin and SXSW. Thank you to those of you who reached out and helped us for this amazing project! We'll definitely have a lot more to write about in the coming days including how this all came to be.

Please wear your COME AND RACE IT© shirt at SXSW and continue to spread the word about The Austin Grand Prix!

Thank you for your support. Without you, our amazing fans, we wouldn't have grown so incredibly these past 9 months.


Kerri Olsen
The Austin Grand Prix

*All suggestions in this post, especially regarding SXSW film viewings and entry, are solely my personal recommendation and are not to be taken as a guarantee for entry into any event. Ultimately SXSW is the gatekeeper and you should check for official directions and guidelines.