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SXSW with Joy Schoffler

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

It's almost time for SXSW and we are putting on a special event alongside the Conference this year.

Tim and Joy Schoffler are here to tell you all about it.


SXSW, referred to as "South By" is an essential destination for global professionals, the annual March event features sessions, music and comedy showcases, film screenings, exhibitions, professional development, and a variety of networking opportunities.

SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.






More about Joy:

Joy Schoffler founder and principal of Distinctive Edge Partners, is an award-winning global communications and investor relations strategist, with decades of experience building, scaling, and protecting global public and private brands.

Joy takes a data-driven approach to marketing and communications. Clients she has worked with have raised billions in capital, scaled from start-up to nine-figure exits, built and scaled cutting edge technologies, executed profitable M&As, built and scaled international sales and distribution channels, closed major customers, and, most importantly, created massive share-holder value.









Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Tim Chrisman: Hi and welcome to another edition of Podcast for the Future. I'm your host, Tim Chrisman. I'm joined today by Joy Schoffler the founder and principal of Distinctive Edge Partners. This is, if you haven't heard of Distinctive Edge, they are a global communications and investor relations strategist company that has decades of experience building, scaling and protecting global public and private brands.

[00:00:46] They've won a ton of awards for the work that they've done Joy, specifically. It's exciting to have here because she is incredibly driven around. Her approach [00:01:00] to marketing and communications. She is extremely good at taking that data and helping inform what needs to happen when for a lot of high pressure and frankly, exciting clients.

[00:01:17] Um, The people she's worked with have gone on to, you know, whether it's while working or as a result of the working with her raised billions in capitol scaling startups to nine figure exits you know, built the bleeding edge technologies, conducted mergers and acquisitions. You name it. Her clients have done it with the help of her and her PR team.

[00:01:43] So it's really exciting to have Joy here today to talk about an event that her and I are volunteering to put on at uh, south by southwest, along with a team of others who are volunteering their time to put on a defense and space innovation [00:02:00] network networking event uh, on the sidelines of south, by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

[00:02:05] So let's uh, let's get joy in here and we will um, hear more about that.

[00:02:13] Alrighty. Thanks for being here. Yeah, it's exciting to bring you in here for this special podcast for the future to chat about exciting event coming up at South by Southwest. Before we get into that, I wanted to first talk a little bit about, what is south by Southwest.

[00:02:35] I've heard about this for probably 10 years. And really until this year, I didn't have a good grasp on what South by Southwest was in relation to burning man, which one involved the wild hippies and which one didn't. Yeah. Can you talk a little more about that

[00:02:53] Joy Schoffler: 100%? So many people equate South by Southwest with just the music [00:03:00] festival or.

[00:03:00] They're like, oh, it does have some technology or, programming to it, or, but, we're not really sure isn't that for, the Bitcoin crowd or the the social media crowd, what most people until you've been there don't understand is south by Southwest has the same economic impact as the bowl.

[00:03:22] So the economic impact of south by Southwest and the city of the Austin pre COVID not sure how it is post COVID was the same as the Superbowl. So at any given time, yes. There's film. Yes. There's music. But there is a huge amount of people who come into town. Oftentimes it can be 75,000 plus who come into town for south by Southwest, just for the technology portion.

[00:03:50] So what does that look like? There's you have basically March 11th. The 15th, 16th [00:04:00] is just technology panels, programs. Some of it, I think some of the film and music start, but honestly I've never even paid attention to that. End of it. That interactive panels I'm so tired. Like I couldn't even dream to a concert.

[00:04:15] I'm like, I don't want to see people anymore. But what happens is you have all of this phenomenal programming and then you also have. Events like people host houses, people host lunches, receptions. And so all of this stuff together at any given time pre COVID, there could have been 400 things happening at one, like in a given block of time, like within a day.

[00:04:40] All of these different economic ministries have houses that showcase technology innovation happening within a sphere. All of these different like professional organizations, like the defense innovation community, like the space community the blockchain community, all of these things have [00:05:00] different houses or parties or events or panels.

[00:05:03] That they're putting on in addition to the official south by program. So it is, there is so much going on and

[00:05:12] Tim Chrisman: separate from the main programming, right?

[00:05:14] Joy Schoffler: So there's the main programming, which is fantastic. And I definitely recommend attending by a badge, like there's deadlines coming up there, people. But we also have the south by Southwest like the networking events like that are dominant official.

[00:05:29] So there's little programming. Would you definitely want to go to. And then all of these industry groups get together and hold like exclusive more targeted stuff. And there's the more targeted stuff. That's also south by official stuff too. But there's just a host of different steps.

[00:05:46] So you have to, for example, in the space industry, you would want to go and search around and say, okay, You know what I want to connect with other leaders who are also selling into, or [00:06:00] want to connect with these other innovative groups, for talent. You can have talent that crosses over so many different spirits.

[00:06:06] You can have there's tons of venture, capitalists and investors there. They typically go just to be able to scout out like new, innovative Technologies to invest so great place to meet investors. And Austin, as is becoming like another space. Center of gravity. So it's just a phenomenal place to be able to connect with those in the industry.

[00:06:32] Meet people there's over 25 events, panels, parties, and different things that have been plans within that March 11th through the March 15th window, Jesper like space and defense innovation alone.

[00:06:47] Tim Chrisman: That's impressive that it has seemed like over the last couple of years a lot of these major events are starting to do that more.

[00:06:53] So I'm assuming this is the highest that has been probably ever.

[00:06:58] Joy Schoffler: Oh, definitely. I [00:07:00] think one, you're just seeing so much interest in space then. Of course, because there is no bigger technology than space. Like it is the pinnacle of, of man's achievement with them, within the tech and within technology, being able to make it make it to other planets and there's all sorts of technologies. You need to achieve that. As all your listeners know better than.

[00:07:29] Tim Chrisman: Cool to see a lot of that starting to be represented. And I'm I'm still hung up on the fact that south by brings $500 million to Austin a year. Which if I remember right, is the average impact from super bowl. It's amazing. Yeah,

[00:07:46] Joy Schoffler: we were, as it made a huge economic impact with south by not.

[00:07:51] Not being well and things of that nature. Cause you've got just so many people who come into town for for it. It's. [00:08:00]

[00:08:02] Tim Chrisman: Then that becomes a lot more believable and understandable when you realize, as you're saying there's 400 events going simultaneously. That's you know, you gotta pay for each one of those.

[00:08:12] How do people even find these is on event break? How do you sort through

[00:08:15] Joy Schoffler: this? Yeah, absolutely. There is if you follow me on LinkedIn joy Shofler and I'm sorry, you can put it in the show notes there, or a link to. I have a Roundup of all of the space and technology space tech space, as well as defense innovation programming, all in one place to make it super easy.

[00:08:36] Yeah. But then there is also there's also like event bright stuff that pops up. So lots of creative giggling for the walk by events and one of the one of the best ways to is it's a phenomenal way to. I have like on the ground, face-to-face time with leaders throughout these communities because you're you're able to, [00:09:00] people are always looking to connect with other leaders and it's not a conference of all of the same type of people.

[00:09:07] So you can, set those meetings. You can meet the right people. It's just a phenomenal place for that.

[00:09:13] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, that sounds like it. And it sounds like it's almost a matter of knowing who to talk to, to find the events that you want to get to.

[00:09:24] Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. So we ran Southwest, we were my old firm that I built and sold with south by Southwest agency record for four years.

[00:09:33] And then I've been on their advisory board for many years. But we've run. Events with economic ministries of Japan and Burnsville and Germany, and like countless VIP parties and different things throughout south by over the years and have helped dozens of companies get exposure there. And it's really there's definitely a formula to it.

[00:09:56] And the formula is really like identifying [00:10:00] the right. Pick the people who you want, pick the types of content and like your community's content that you want to be exposed to you. And then pre you know, it's all the pre-work that makes the conference work. Just like any conference, like the ROI of it.

[00:10:19] You want to set a meetings beforehand. You want to book those appointments. You want to make sure that your. Seen and exposed to the right people at the right events too. That brings us Tim, I think perfectly to a VIP party that a foundation for the future and distinctive venture partners and expeditionary VC that we're all putting on together as well.

[00:10:43] We're all, co-hosting the the space and defense innovation, VIP reception there. And with that, it's, it's those heavily curated you, don't the very heavily curated events that You only, the people within your [00:11:00] particular industry are at people apply to attend. You make sure that not just somebody walking off the street is coming up, but not the guest list.

[00:11:08] You have the right people in the room. You have those leaders within defense innovation, and you're able to really work and space and really bring all the right people together in one room. Yeah,

[00:11:20] Tim Chrisman: no, it sounds like, you used to. Own the agency of record for south by that you have a lot of experience doing this officially and none of it.

[00:11:32] Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. Yeah, we doing it for many years. So when we did south by accelerators PR getting to we ran the media room there for I would not recommend launching itself by it because we're so much noise going on. There is, there's so many ways that you can. Just meet phenomenal people there.

[00:11:52] And there's so many different investors who show up there. There's, leaders within the DOD incubators, [00:12:00] VCs, like you name it, it's such a meeting place for people within the community. And just the speakers are absolutely phenomenal. While listening to the presentations and gaining their knowledge is invaluable.

[00:12:12] Also making appointments with people beforehand. It's just, and then being at the right places and connecting the people in the right rooms is just ex phenomenal things happen.

[00:12:25] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Yeah, no, it definitely sounds like south by is one of those. A really impressive and awesome events.

[00:12:31] But now that they're adding too much space programming, that it sounds like it's going to start being one of those sort of space events to go to as we start going forward. And, it's nice to see. Those more mainstream events starting to bring that space flavor. And I went to salt, the investor conference last fall, and they had a whole panel on space, which realistically, since most of it was Bitcoin, there's seven other things other than Bitcoin that got [00:13:00] an hour block over four days.

[00:13:01] The fact that space was featured was pretty cool. And so now south by is doing this. That's cool. Yeah. Talk a little bit more about this the event that is coming up here.

[00:13:13] Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. So you know, that the purpose of it is to really gather. Leaders within the space community, as well as the defense innovation.

[00:13:22] And we very purposely put those two communities together because there's a lot of technology crossover and dual use potential within, within companies that are developing hardware within their software, within their to be able to also sell into the broader DOD. Yeah, we were both former military officers.

[00:13:41] I think that we both see the applicability there and like how it's synergistic and how important a national security, both of those are as well. And so bringing the people together in the same room or connected there and very curated, right? So [00:14:00] the, like our sponsors get codes to give out to their guests who they want to attend.

[00:14:04] So it's like their event, but then we're also sending out a very broad kind of. We're putting up a website and doing a qualification form for those people who want to apply to attend as well, so that they can have not only get the people who, want to partner and sponsor, but also get the leaders who want to apply and connect with those those other leaders there.

[00:14:29] Where if we're building it to be just an influencer event there.

[00:14:33] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, it definitely sounds like it. It, and it sounds like this is a sort of event that has a broad audience, but because of the, almost application process, like I said, is an application process. It then is able to narrow that down to the important people that can actually make decisions and change things.

[00:14:58] Is that

[00:14:58] Joy Schoffler: right? Absolutely. As [00:15:00] they mentioned, there's, there are over 25 panels. Going on just in this space in defense innovation alone that we know of that have already announced. And with that being the case we, we're connected with the different groups who were running those events and have reached out there and, are also connecting into the broader communities foundation for the future here.

[00:15:22] You're an event partner and we're able to really just make sure that the best people from all around are coming in one place, but having it within that bigger, broader atmosphere of innovation, the other real benefit is that you also have, in years past, there's been over 1100 reporters that come to south buy from all over the world.

[00:15:47] It is a huge opportunity and to be able to see and be seen to buy interesting publications, like every major publication is there that has an attacked all the tech trades, [00:16:00] we're we're in the process. We've got several media partners on board already. From national defense magazine and aerospace and defense news.

[00:16:08] And we've got lots of others that we're talking to as well. And I think that really broad reach as well as the industry trade pubs there, it really like you get exposure to this industry trades, which are typically at the conference. There's also all of these other media who were there, all of these investors all of this huge ecosystem.

[00:16:28] Tim Chrisman: Yeah.

[00:16:31] It has been fun, partnering with you from the foundation side on, looking at what kind of companies, what kind of people would be the ones that benefit from this. And, the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people, when they hear a defense innovation perception is, oh, Lockheed Raytheon, Boeing stuff like that.

[00:16:52] I think that's, that may be partially the case, but can you talk more about how. The, this is [00:17:00] going to benefit a lot more than just that.

[00:17:02] Joy Schoffler: Oh, absolutely. So you know when we're looking and Tim I'd love it. If you could go through the list of some of the sponsors that are already on board to because we've got some phenomenal.

[00:17:14] Phenomenal partners for this event already. And it's actually surprisingly not any of the big primes. There's a lot of like phenomenal people like MGM works and They're effects. For example, who's developed an technology to basically combat misinformation and to be able to help governments fight this huge disinformation campaign that's being targeted, this major PSYOPs campaign being targeted to the U S and lots of other countries, frankly, right now.

[00:17:46] And, election disinformation and all kinds of other craziness information. We've got some great cyber security companies and technologies that have partnered for sponsorship. And Tim I'd love for you to go over some of the.[00:18:00]

[00:18:03] Tim Chrisman: Know you mentioned, Verifax you mentioned a pair of Santee. Concentric is another one of the smaller companies that, maybe people haven't really heard of as much, but they're If I'm remembering, this is a cybersecurity intelligence services corporation, a relatively small you've got quantum interface, which is another it heavy organization.

[00:18:30] And so a lot of these are all. Small ish businesses. And then we've got MGM works, which is part of the defense innovation network that partners with the different defense schools. So this MGM works is air university. And so it, it's an interesting, not what you would expect mix of companies so far that have joined as sponsors.

[00:18:56] And. No doubt, or then also attracting [00:19:00] others like them.

[00:19:02] Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. And, in addition to you I think that there are so many. Everybody talks about the bigger companies, but a lot of the change is going on in these like smaller companies that are able to move quickly that are able to really innovate like boutique services companies that are just moving the needle for, for their clients within this space and just.

[00:19:27] Makes such an impact. And it's hard as a smaller company to, to be in the room with all of these bigger people, because a lot of the larger companies do take up a lot of the air if you will. And and one of the things that we've purposely done here with this event is to create an atmosphere where There can be meaningful impact with company like for executives at smaller companies, to be able to connect with these innovators within the government who are looking at new technologies or, just Connect with [00:20:00] each other and be able to figure out how to solve these problems, connect with the investors, to give them the lifeblood of their firm and the capital it's we're really trying to bring the community together in a purposeful way

[00:20:12] Tim Chrisman: here.

[00:20:12] You mentioned there that, it's a chance to bring a lot of these organizations that may not catch the eye of. Decision-makers there at the Pentagon and that's an increasingly hot issue here in DC that, and the Pentagon has started taking notice that like, how are we supposed to get outside our bubble?

[00:20:33] How are we supposed to know there's more? And so that's encouraging to see those signals coming from the top here. And it's exciting for these companies that may get to start benefiting. From that new attention at events like this.

[00:20:49] Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. And in Austin, we've got army futures command here.

[00:20:53] We have, representatives within both of the branches of the military here, former [00:21:00] space force and current space force people. We just have a very wide mix of talent here. And then we have, Tesla and all of the big gorillas. And then I want to have like really cool the space technology companies here too.

[00:21:15] Our goal is we've got this ecosystem here in Austin, people may just it may not be on their radar. To come attend south by south west. It may not be on their radar that this is something that can be a value, but honestly, that's a that's a benefit to the companies you do go to, because what that means is that there's less fighting for attention, right?

[00:21:40] Because you're, you get to be in a smaller, basically you're not. 5,000 person conference where you're trying to, you'll never reach those people, but if you're in a small intimate 200 person, 150 person event where you're able to really talk to these decision makers and it's just the right people in the [00:22:00] room, that's huge.

[00:22:00] Tim Chrisman: Oh yeah, for sure. No. I mean that really is, worth a lot, to be able to have the opportunity to be in the room where you more or less have to talk to everybody. So that's pretty cool. Yeah. And is there anything else about the event?

[00:22:21] Joy Schoffler: Great brand exposure course as well. Like the people who are sponsoring, they got their logo on the website.

[00:22:29] There's going to be a cool photo backdrop where people with a step and repeat. little photo booth that sends it to your phone and then you can post in real time for the people who haven't taken all their social media channels down yet. And just be able to really like, Gosh, we're doing obviously your podcasts where we've got a lot of media partnerships that were, that are in the works here as well.

[00:22:54] So we're just really looking to make it a phenomenal event where we are able to [00:23:00] bring the industry together, are able to promote the innovation going on to connect the people who need to be connected so that The right. People can come together and get more capital behind this more attention.

[00:23:12] There's nothing more important to really like our security, our like anything than space. More than anybody.

[00:23:21] Tim Chrisman: I hope not. I hope there's no more than me. Oh God.

[00:23:27] Yeah, but no, I think your point with this is an opportunity for people and companies that, you get a chance to, the higher, the sponsorship levels, the more people you get in the room to help deliver your message and, the more exposure with the other marketing materials.

[00:23:44] And so there, there is a wide range of sponsorship opportunities that you've laid out that really ensure. Even the smallest companies can protect.

[00:23:54] Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. We've have a sponsorship that's, starting at [00:24:00] $850 for, for companies to participate. And then it can go up to where, if there's people who want to, who have been thinking about doing something at south by or want to tap into the talent market here and want a place to bring almost created as like part of their event, we even have.

[00:24:16] Sponsorship package that gives 20 invites where they can use that as their co-branded events. And then we just roll out. Like we make it their event practically.

[00:24:29] Tim Chrisman: No, that's cool. And so who can, who should people reach out to for more info on this websites, LinkedIn? Yeah,

[00:24:37] Joy Schoffler: absolutely.

[00:24:37] I'm going to put the email address of Morgan for my team. Who's running point here. Morgan@distinctiveedge.partners is the best person to reach out to you are distinctive edge partners. We're a media and marketing firm and And as mentioned, we specialize in technology and defense PR.

[00:24:58] So a lot of our work [00:25:00] is making sure to maximize value for companies and where we're donating our time. I know you're donating your time. If there's any money that is raised outside of the sponsorship that actually goes to pay for another event in DC. With Foundation for the Future here and a defense intelligence networks.

[00:25:18] So we're really like the goal of this is to build community and build community together. Nobody's trying to make money out of it. It's literally just let's bring the community together. And then if we raise more great, we'll do another event.

[00:25:34] Tim Chrisman: Exactly. No, and I think that's important to note that this is a, not a non-profit event run by volunteers.

[00:25:41] We're obviously paying for the food. But otherwise you're not paying for, the planners and organizers of this and. That means you're going to get a better event, so that's a pretty cool, but yeah, we'll put the contact info for Morgan in the description. And yeah, it was it was great chatting with you [00:26:00] about this exciting event.

[00:26:01] Joy, always lovely to chat with you as well,

[00:26:04] Joy Schoffler: Tim, thanks for having me.

[00:26:06] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Gladly looking forward to seeing it. Yeah, me too. All right. Take care.

[00:26:11] Joy Schoffler: All of you guys at south by to come on back.

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