A recap of ribl's presence at SXSW Interactive.

Ribl at SXSW – Launching Our App, Wearing a Frog Suit, and More

Wow, what a blur!

I attended SXSW Interactive to promote the launch of ribl. It was a crazy, tiring, exciting, stressful and productive week full of lots of work and play all rolled into one. Here’s a recap of what happened in Austin.

Preparation for SXSW

I was already on the road in New Orleans, so I flew straight to Austin and arrived on the Sunday before SXSW started. My week was filled with preparing for the launch, demos and promotion of ribl at the conference. I wrote about some of the things we’d be doing here, and I was busy prepping for the big week ahead.

The frog toys arrived, I printed a bunch of posters for my demos, and checked out the schedule for the event.

I also worked with a couple of DC journalists to get some press about ribl’s impending launch. You can read the articles written about ribl in DC and DC Inno.

Friday Launch

Friday was the day we went live on Google Play (click here to download the app now)!

We were hoping to launch earlier in the day, but we found a bug that needed to be fixed. Then we wanted to test the changes, so we had to wait until the latest test version got updated. After testing the bug fix, we published the public version and had to wait until the app went live. It felt like forever but ribl was finally published on Google Play around 4:30PM on Friday.

Now it was time to get the word out there. I started posting ribl stickers and dropping frogs all over Austin. SXSW attendees saw a lot of this: 

frog by pool frog  






Saturday – Demos, Demos, Demos

Saturday was a really long day full of ribl promotion. And it all started with the unveiling of the frog suit!

ribl frog suit

Austin TechBreakfast

The first demo event was the Austin TechBreakfast, where I showed ribl to the crowd.

Unfortunately the demo didn’t go very well. I ran into some technical issues with the building’s WiFi connectivity and my laptop, which didn’t allow me to show the app’s features to the event attendees. It sucked, but I couldn’t do much about it.

WeDC Startup Showcase

The next event I attended was the WeDC Startup Showcase, where 30 DC-based startups had tables where we can demo our products and chat with potential users. I had this table setup and gave out stickers and frogs to attendees:

ribl WeDC table

I spoke with a bunch of attendees and received some great feedback on the product, and some downloaded ribl right in front of me.

Up Global Startup Oasis Party

Because I’m an organizer for Startup Weekend DC, I was able to secure a demo table at the Up Global (Startup Weekend’s parent company) Startup Oasis Party.

While the format was similar to the WeDC Startup Showcase, the environment was very different. The demo event started at 10PM and was part of a party, so the music was louder and alcohol was flowing more freely. Also, I already had a connection with many of the attendees of the party, as we were part of the Up Global family.

Because of these reasons, the conversation really flowed. I had in-depth discussions about ribl, its features, and how the idea came to be. And again, some people downloaded the app and started posting right in front of me. Pretty cool.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday – Promotion Continues

The rest of the conference including attending more events and parties and continuing to promote ribl. I kept the frog suit on and took a ton of pictures at parties, like this one:

Frog at party

I continued to leave frogs and ribl stickers everywhere, and some wound up on people’s backs. I swear I didn’t put that sticker there:

ribl sticker on guy's back

The Impact of SXSW

While we didn’t come close to stealing the show like Meerkat this year and Twitter in 2007, SXSW certainly helped raised the profile of ribl.

We more than doubled our user base. Our tweets earned nearly 5000 impressions and we garnered over 200 engagements. We had video captured and an article written about us. And I met plenty of people willing to help us spread the ribl gospel.

This is just the beginning of our journey, and I think SXSW has helped us build a foundation on which to keep moving ahead.



  1. John McQuaid


    Great update and great exposure! Excited for you and the Ribl team. Will be following you on your journey to success.


    1. Mike Chan

      Thanks John!

  2. fisher

    Way to go buddy. Keep things hopping.

  3. Julia

    Sweet!! Lots of work but it will all pay off. Can’t wait to use ribl on my iPhone so get it going! :) Keep up the great work!!! So proud of you, lil bro!

    1. Mike Chan

      Thanks sis! We’ll keep cranking!

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