It seems just like yesterday when we were having such fun at our first SXSW (South by Southwest) experience, but when it rolled around again we just knew we'd have to hit the SXSW scene again this year!
Our big announcement
Last year's SXSW was special because it was the first time our "beta" bus bounced around the streets of Austin. But this year was more meaningful because we officially announced Delivering Happiness as something so much more than a book.
Delivering Happiness has evolved into a global movement, and Tony Hsieh (Zappos.com CEO and Delivering Happiness author) and Jenn Lim (CEO and Chief Happiness Officer of Delivering Happiness) made the announcement from the Samsung Blogger Lounge. You can watch a short video of Jenn's announcement here.
To read more about how Delivering Happiness is going from a book, to the bus tour and now the movement, check out this article from Fast Company.
Jenn and Tony also led the discussion at the SXSW Company Culture MeetUp, where they shared experiences with attendees who were eager to improve their customer service and company culture.
Double the fun
This time, we brought not one... but TWO buses to make sure we brought all the happiness that we could to Austin! One was the blue school bus (aka party bus!) that roamed the streets of Austin in 2010, and the other one was the official Delivering Happiness Tour Bus that we used as a mobile studio for some great interviews hosted by Tech Cocktail. Check out the video interview with Tim Ferriss and Tony (with more to come!).
There's no time like party time!
For four nights, the Delivering Happiness party bus served Austin up with a whole lot of fun. Our favorite balloon artist Kiwi kept partygoers entertained as they made the most of our full bar and oh-so-tasty BBQ sandwiches from Stubbs. We also did some party hopping and stopped by Diggnation, Tech Cocktail, Google and (can we even remember how many?) other SXSW parties, picking up and dropping off happy people along the way.
The Happy Wall, the latest add-on to our party bus, was a hit! Everyone seemed to love reading and scribbling messages of happiness for all to see.
New friends and familiar faces
This year (according to SXSW), attendance at SXSW beat last year's by 30%...which probably explains why there was so much more going on!
We loved getting to know the new people coming on the bus, but of course we also loved seeing familiar faces from 2010. Ashton Kutcher is now a DH Bus "veteran" and Demi Moore (and her pocket monkey!) graced the bus for the first time. Jenny 8. Lee, Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim O'Reilly hopped on as well, along with hundreds of old and new friends alike. We're putting together some highlight videos as we type, but while we work on that check out more of our photos!
Delivering Happiness to Austin
Delivering Happiness also collaborated with Loopt for the #RewardWagon event. The treasure hunt — in this case, the baby blue bus hunt — used a smartphone application to let people find the location of the bus to get a free autographed copy of Delivering Happiness and a chance to meet the team. Just look at the winning smiles on these happy faces!
And if you're wondering what all those Winkey babies were doing on the windshield... well, clearly they wanted to enjoy the city from the front row. We don't blame them. Who wouldn't want to experience Austin? Lucky for our little guys, we got ourselves some Segway trotting, helmet sporting friends from SegCity.com who helped us spread some Winkey happiness to every corner of the city.
More fun in store
For those of you we didn't get to meet at SXSW, we hope to catch up with you sometime soon! Stay connected: like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter.
And finally, if you haven't already done so, you can now download "Possibilities" by Rabbit! for free. It makes us happy, and we think you might like it too. To refresh your memory, here they are performing the single inside the Delivering Happiness Bus.
There you go, our 2011 SXSW recap. All in all, we just wanted to say: SXSW, you were a blast! Thanks so much to everyone who came out to support Delivering Happiness, and to those responsible for making yet another year at SXSW not just a success, but a big ol' blast for everyone!