Long Drive From Carrollwood to Austin Could Pay Off for Local Entrepreneur
A Carrollwood resident will join more than 20 others from Tampa on the StartUp Bus and travel to SXSW in Austin, TX.
Michael La Plante is just the type of guy you might run into at a technology conference or a weekend celebrating innovative entrepreneurs. Locally, those conferences are things like StartUp Weekend or BarCamp Tampa. On a national level, many say the best such gathering is South by Southwest, or SXSW, in Austin, TX. It's not just for techies, it's an interactive conference that brings together the worlds of music, film and technology. This year's event starts on March 7.
La Plante will make his first trip to SXSW on Sunday. And he won't be leaving the Tampa area alone. He'll be traveling with 20-25 others on the StartUp Bus. The concept for the bus is to allow the group to formulate pitches for business plans and ventures as they travel to Austin.
Once teams get to Austin, the pitching of those ideas gets real. "When the teams pitch, it's to a panel of highly esteemed startup investors," said Susie Steiner, the organizer of the Tampa StartUp Bus. "The opportunity to pitch to these investors is once in a lifetime."
La Plante lives in Carrollwood and has found the new Lee Roy Selmon's to be one of his favorite spots. When he's at work, you'll find him with Wolters Kluwer as a User Interface Developer. That's "basically a fancy word for web designer," he jokes. He also has his own computer consulting business.
Here's some more info about La Plante. Look for info, photos and maybe even a blog post on Patch while he's at SXSW. When he returns, we'll be sure to catch up with him about the adventure.
Have you been to SXSW before?
"This will be my first year attending, I have tried a few years before and something has always come up that has prevented me from attending."
Why do you want to got to SXSW this year?
"This year was the year I told myself no excuse would stop me from going, I am not getting any younger and the amount of other people I know going is only growing which helps with encouragement."
What do you hope to get out of attending SXSW?
"Honestly, I really just hope to make some more great networking connections, anything more will just be a bonus. I know I am going to always learn something amazing, it's just the nature of the beast."