The Definitive Guide to Faking It as a Tech Entrepreneur at SXSW

How to win food and influence barmen

In the past, pretending to be a musician was all it took for non-musical folks to maximize their SXSW experience. You could drink for free and go to all the coolest parties. Now that musicians are as common as grackles in this town, "I'm with the band" doesn't cut it anymore. So take it to the next level and fake being a local Austin tech entrepreneur at SXSW Interactive 2017. It's easier than you think.

OK, it might not be as sexy as rock & roll. You may not rub shoulders with Spoon or Capyac, but trust me, for the food and booze alone, it's worth it. At SXSW music functions, you'll be lucky if there are even any Frito pies or Keystone Light left by the time you arrive. Food is never a concern at tech functions. Why? Because tech parties are hosted by wealthy entrepreneurs who frequently see themselves as enlightened shaman types. You see, after exploiting an unfair capitalist system for their own personal gain, tech gurus like to use their own wealth and power to buy the freedom necessary to smell their own ethically sourced, organic farts all day while simultaneously telling everyone else who cannot afford "Zen" on tap what they're doing wrong. There would be no Whole Foods without the rich coders who shop there in order to validate their decision to do such a boring job for such an undeservedly high salary.

Cynicism aside, the food is always fucking awesome. If kale could talk, it would say, "Please send me to a techie function. They serve me with braised pork belly, wild-caught organic salmon, and other rich-ass shit my caste were never meant to mix with." The beer will have been specially brewed by Belgian artisanal micro-dwarves and flavored with things that don't go together like dark chocolate, charred rosemary, and virgin European monks' tears. Delicious. I may have talked about food for too long. So, whether just for your own amusement, or if you're deluded enough to think some good might come out of dishonest behavior for your own nonexistent career, here are The Austin Chronicle's Top Tips:

Step 1: Tell everyone you own your own tech start-up.

Step 2: And that's it! Congratulations, you're a tech entrepreneur. There's nothing more to it. Everyone you tell will believe you but will be too scared to ask for more details for fear of looking stupid if you get too technical.

These two steps are, ostensibly, enough to get you on track. However, if you're truly passionate about having a fake tech start-up, here are some more ideas:

Step 3: Get three of your best brahs together and set up a company with a name like "Techtstrata" or "Digifuck." It doesn't matter. Just make sure it's generic enough that no one asks/cares what your company does.

Step 4: Start referring to people you know who are good at computers as "ninjas" and "gurus" in order to disguise the fact that coders live a desperately lonely and isolating existence.

Step 5: Stop using human phrases like "too busy" or "no free time." From now on, you don't have the "bandwidth" to do anything with anyone who isn't directly involved in your enterprise. Any phrase that can be an acronym – even if it's more cumbersome to say (World Wide Web being the most painfully obvious example) – should be. So for example, my all-knowing, all-seeing editor here at the Chronicle described SXSW Interactive as one of the world's largest "buzzword-infused maelstroms of bullshittery." In the absence of any more succinct, yet economical, definition, we're going to shorten that to BIMOB. Why? Because tech entrepreneurs don't have the bandwidth for long phrases. Are we starting to get it?

Step 6: Ignore your fat neck and other symptoms of goiter that seem to be developing and continue attending as many tech start-up community networking events as you can over the two-week Festival. If you follow these rules but still somehow fail to fill your belly and get drunk pro bono every night, The Austin Chronicle guarantees it will refund you the difference. Not a guarantee.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at For scheduling on the go, here's a SXSW Film Pocket Guide, which includes the handy Film Grid. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

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