Friday, March 16, 2007

SXSW: Firsthand Account of A Stupid Criminal Story

The story you re about to read is true. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Cue music: bum-bum-bum-bum

It was a night like any other at SXSW. Carlon Haas & Steve Harper were out, looking for the next party. The party that would get them free booze. But instead they found rain.

Lots and lots of rain.

But there was hope. Shelter. A calm amid the torrent. A shelter that included the much sought after free booze.

The tent. They thought of it as a second home, as they had hit it every day it was open. With booze, it sure felt like home.

But this time, it was different. A strange aura filled the tent. As they strode in, Haas again explained why he forgot his drink card, but emphatically pointed out that he was an important panelist and should be let in.

He was let in. But just then someone was walking out. A police officer—one of Austin’s finest—noted, “Hey, did that guy who just walked out of here work for you?”

“No,” door lady replied.

“Well, he took your laptop.”

The laptop. An old clunker of a laptop. More akin to a paperweight but useful nonetheless. Haas and Harper used it the day before to sign up for free accounts. F-R-E-E.

The criminal, now apprehended about 3 footsteps away from the tent came in with laptop in bright fluorescent bag. Haas and Harper stood ready to assist the police in case this alleged hardened criminal decided to bolt (yet gingerly held their cups of beer so as not to spill any).

The alleged criminal sat there, accepting defeat. Then, he strung together a heartwrenching string of incoherent sentences about why he did it. Confusion and compassion prevailed.

A SXSW official was called to the scene. And alas, the alleged criminal would feel the wrath of SXSW.

The official’s anger was palatable (Haas and Harper, innocent as they were, were even afraid and so went back to the comfort of the beer stand).

It seems this criminal mastermind had been kicked out of SXSW twice in the last 3 years. And now his $500 badge would be revoked all for a laptop that he could have bought for $10 on eBay.

They stripped the alleged criminal of his badge and all the cool buttons he had collected. He was left badge-less, and escorted out in handcuffs by Austin's finest.

Banned from SXSW!

As well it should be. Haas and Harper wanted to tell the alleged criminal to get into a new line of work. But they didn’t get the chance. They were off in search of free food.

SXSW continues…

Brought to you by:

Carlon Haas of

Editor's note: This story was first published on Carlon's new Brave New Marketing blog at

No comments: