Two years ago, South By Southwest was sparsely attended by only a handful of Canadians. Even worse there was only a mere three attendees from Calgary and the Southern Alberta region. This year there was an encouraging boost in the number of Canadians at the conference. Even more encouraging was the dramatic increase in the number of Calgarians and viable Calgary centric corporations. Companies like “istockphoto”:, “veer”:, “DigitalArts Alberta”:, and “Cambrian House”: had a strong presence at the conference.

One of the most explosive and interesting panels from Monday’s SXSW session was the “Blame Canada Panel”: which explored the 7 reasons Canada is ahead in New Media Development. Containing five, top new media experts in Canada, the panel spoke to the largely Canadian audience about the advantages and disadvantages of startups in Canada. It explored the dynamics of a small population base, spread out over a large landmass. It also explored the many benefits of our strong government supported initiatives. Including the important S.R.E.D fund.

But the real fireworks came at the end of the session, when a challenge regarding Canada’s _actual industry presence_ was brought fourth. Which brought up some valid points on Canada’s percentile representation at SXSW and our representation in the Industry as a success. Many valid points were presented on both sides. By the end of the session a strong sense of accomplishment and _we can do more_ was really explored.

As a company based in Southern Alberta, it was very interesting to connect and see some of the strong activity occurring in Calgary. It was a great opportunity to meet with the people from “Digital Alberta”: and see the strong work they are doing to promote the industry in Southern Alberta.