White House at SXSW to Speak to the Elite about Start-Ups

I’m blogging from SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX. The White House is planning a big event here to engage the digerati in a discussion about the new Start Up America initiative.

Culturally, SXSW has earned a reputation for being a pretty democratic forum. Small “d” not big “D.” So I was stunned when I read this disclaimer at the bottom of the invitation:

“These two Startup America sessions are only open to SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum badgeholders only.”

It’s funny. I’ve never considered there to be a “rank and file” among start-ups. And that they’d somehow have less to offer the White House in terms of insight into the turn-around.

The rest of the invitation copy is below in case you’re curious.

Are you a tech entrepreneur who wants to give your feedback on how the new Startup America program can assist your new endeavor? Then be sure to attend the two special Startup America: Reducing Barriers sessions on Saturday, March 12 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. For both these sessions, the bulk of time will be devoted to attendee input on what policy changes are needed to encourage more innovation in the US. Officials who will be present for these two sessions include Aaron K. (Ronnie) Chatterji (Senior Economist, White House Council of Economic Advisors), Aneesh Chopra (Chief Technology Officer for the United States), Scott Case (CEO, Startup America Partnership), Sean Greene (Associate Administrator for Investment, and Special Adviser for Innovation, U.S. Small Business Administration) and Todd Park (Todd Park, US Department of Heath and Human Services). Read more about these sessions in a special White House press release. These Startup America sessions occur at the AT&T Conference Center (1900 University Avenue)—take the free SXSW Interactive shuttle bus to this venue.