Justin Miller, Raleigh’s ‘tattooed guy, is having a blast representing the city as its “ambassador” at South by Southwest festival. He’s shown off his “Sir Walter the Bat” tattoo, too. But don’t expect to share all that’s happened on the RV trip to Austin and back.
Sounds like he’s been to Vegas …
First, the tattoo backstory.
“Got inked @ Mainstay Tattoo and it took about 2 hours,” Miller, who jokes that he is known as “the tattooed guy” by investors who back or have looked at his startup WedPics, says. He wears the tatts with pride, and they were part of his audition video that won him the trip to Austin as ambassador.
Miller came up with a possible recruiting tool to use against Austin, too. After all, one of the reasons for the trip which included Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, is to show off the City of Oaks as a destination for jobs. (Also making the trip were James Sauls and Derrick Minor of the Raleigh economic development office, Jason Widen of HQ Raleigh, and Michael Haley of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. They left a week ago. McFarlane joined them en route.)
“Honestly it took almost twice as long to get there via cabs because the cab situation in Austin is AWFUL,” Miller reports.
“Like, really really awful.”
So why did he pick the Sir Walter Raleigh, or SWR, bat combo?
“SWR was chosen from the ideas people tweeted and then the bat idea came to me when we got here as our RV is camped out at the Austin American-Statesman (the local paper) and the famous bat bridge is next to us,” says Miller.
No Dark Knight, but plenty of real bats in Austin.
“Every night, hundreds of bats fly out from the bridge at the same time,” an obviously impressed Miller says.
Plus, he adds, “I’m sure SWR always dreamed of having wings.”
How about South by Southwest?
“SXSW has been a blast,” he writes.
“Spending a lot of time in the Raleigh booth chatting with folks about Raleigh and its tech scene.
“A lot of people are really amazed (and) excited to hear about it..”
But the event, which draws a crowd of something like 40,000, can be daunting, he warns.
“SXSW is definitely a bit overwhelming and not for the faint of heart,” Miller explains.
“Literally stuff going on everywhere at every hour.
“The only way to take a break is to lock yourself in a room, turn off the light, climb into a sleeping bag, and pray that no one finds you :-)”
The expedition comes to an end this weekend. Who knows what will happen on the way back.
“We’re driving home on Saturday,” Miller says.
“The RV has been an experience to say the least … but I guess we should treat the RV like people treat Vegas – what happens in it stays in it.”
Next week, Miller goes back to his day job as CEO at WedPics, which has just moved into the new HQ Raleigh in the Warehouse District.