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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Lee

How the SXSW Was Won

Yee-haw! This past weekend, I was invited to work at the Tankee booth at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, Texas. I was brought in as a photographer to assist them with a meet-n-greet with my YouTuber friend Abdallah Smash.

For those who aren’t familiar with Tankee, it’s a new app designed to be a safe place for kids to watch Let’s Play videos of their favorite gamers and influencers. Unlike Youtube Kids, which relies on an algorithm to filter out the bad stuff, Tankee uses a novel concept called “Human Intelligence”, meaning that they literally screen every single video that they host on their platform. In addition to feeling safer that your kids are watching quality gaming content free of adult words and concepts, there are other parent friendly features such as a timer and kid-friendly interaction using digital stickers instead of written comments.

As a proud auntie of a few little gamers myself, I was very excited to learn about their app and I hope you will download it too. It’s free on iOS right now, and available as a beta in the Google Play Store for Android.

As far as SXSW goes, since I was working at the booth I didn't have a chance to check out much of the festival outside of the Gaming Expo. The show floor was expansive and filled with vendors, but it was pretty much the same as the other geeky conventions that I attend.

One major difference between SXSW Gaming and other conventions were the panels. Instead of catering to fan-focused content, the panels were on various industry related tracks: eSports, Game Development, and Game Marketing. As a marketing professional, I thought this was really interesting! I sat in on a panel about how influencers and Let’s Play streamers affect young kids, and there was a big discussion on the lack of quality female streamers on most networks. I felt inspired to start working on my Twitch channel!

Of course, I didn’t limit my entire trip to just the expo center. I made sure to fit in some sight-seeing while I was in Austin! I visited the Texas State Capitol building and the Zilker Botanical Gardens. It was a lot of fun… I only wish it was a little closer to spring so the foliage would have been blooming.

Texas State Capitol Building

I made an album on Flickr for my SXSW photos, as well as an Instagram highlight story so feel free to peruse if you’d like to see more pics!

Now for the nitty gritty. Not to be too judge-y, but having visited TWO whole cities in Texas, I must say that I prefer San Antonio. Austin is definitely a cool place, and there are lots of bars and nightclubs – a party town for sure. And I enjoy a good party as much as the next person, but San Antonio does it better. The San Antonio Riverwalk is home to a wide variety of bars and restaurants directly on the water. Austin has a riverwalk, but it’s not a home to nightlife – it’s part of a huge park and isn’t as pretty.

As far as food goes, both cities have a lot of tacos and BBQ. I’ll say that Austin gets a slight advantage in the BBQ department, but San Antonio had far better tacos.

Factor in just how much I personally love tacos… San Antonio is my fave!

San Antonio also has more of that old-world charm, since the Alamo is the centerpiece of the city. Austin, being the capitol of the state, is more modern and filled with corporate buildings. I noticed more homeless people in Austin too, for whatever reason.

But that’s my only complaints about Austin. I had a wonderful time overall, and I love exploring new places. It was wonderful working with the Tankee folks and I met lots of really nice people. I would entertain the idea of coming to another SXSW in the future… if I had a full festival pass.

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