#iowahour: The unofficial, official gathering of Iowans at SXSW

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Last night was the #iowahour*, the unofficial, official gathering of Iowans, former Iowans and those who are Iowa-curious at SXSW. And, it was awesome.

This is my fourth trip to the annual interactive festival that literally takes over all of downtown Austin and I think events like the #iowahour are a great way maintain connections with our extended Iowa tech community.

SXSW has grown so big and there are so many brands involved (and in your face) that a party probably isn’t going to make news. However, a party can make an impact with a focused audience and I think that’s just what the #iowahour did last night.

It gave attendees from Iowa a dedicated time and place to meet in person. I was introduced to several people from Des Moines and around the state that I’d never met before. I also had the chance and catch up with others I hadn’t seen in a long time (some since my last SXSW in 2012).

It also gave Iowa Expats a chance to connect with the community in their home state:

Perhaps my favorite part was that it gave people another reason to be excited about Iowa. More than once I heard someone with Iowa ties who had no idea about the #iowahour tell a story about being out somewhere else in Austin and getting a text or call from a friend talking about this awesome “Iowa bacon party” they were missing. Of course, they dropped whatever else they were doing to come join us. 

Thanks to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for organizing, to the Greater Des Moines Partnership, City of West Des Moines and John Deere ISG for funding, to the Kauffman Foundation & UP Global for providing the space and to all the Iowa startups who helped to co-host.

Oh, and as soon as the official #iowahour was over, we were invaded by the State of Georgia and their lantern parade (no joke):

*If you read this blog, you probably know, the #iowahour has been a sponsor of the Welch Avenue Show for the past few weeks. Thanks for the support!

Photo Credit: @laughingkatie on Twitter