SXSW: Cashing In Or Selling Out: The Future of the Independent Web

Cashing in or selling out? Great title for a panel, but it was the last one on the final day so my notes are understandably shorter than the others. The summary from SXSW on this panel was:

You slave independently to build great things, so great that everyone wants to buy your creations. What approach do you take when big money comes calling?

The panel included Jane Wells (Info Designer, Superdecent), Mike Tatum (VP Strategy & Dev, CNET), Chris Messina (Dir of Experience & Open Source Ambassador, Flock) and Jesse Sanchez (co-founder, YouAreTV).

Here are the notes:

– acquirers donâ??t look at companies, they look at people (Tatum)

– you need to be passionate about the business youâ??re building and the customers you are serving (Tatum)

– itâ??s a great time to start a small business or image business (Tatum)

– Messina stated that the smaller, organically grown businesses have been more successful in his experience; you only grow as needed

– it’s a great climate for collaboration

– itâ??s about finding the right fit, the right partner who can help extend your vision (Sanchez)

– VCs allow access to contacts (Messina )

– thereâ??s more interest in the team over the IT; if the business has no cash loan, and itâ??s all about the team (Tatum)

– there are no real benchmarks for the number of users and application needs before it is acquired

Tom currently works in developer relations for IBM Watson. A serial entrepreneur, he's been the founder of numerous startups including Investify and StatsMix, a Techstars alumni company. Tom lives outside Boulder, Colorado and in his free time he's an avid rock climber, skier, and trail runner.

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