A convergence of Times Square, spring break festivity, and Silicon Valley in the middle of Austin, Texas — that’s how Madison business leader Zach Brandon describes the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, which starts Friday and runs through March 16.

Part of the mishmash of conferences and festivals that comprise the annual SXSW juggernaut that runs Friday through March 19, SXSW Interactive is the largest conference in the U.S. for entrepreneurship and startups in the country. Each year, the conference attracts 30,000 people to the city’s convention center and surrounding environs — among them, a small coterie of Madisonians like Brandon.

“You have startups who are out trying to raise money and identify themselves. You have large brands learning and educating. And you have a large amount of people there to observe what other people are doing,” said Brandon, the president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. Read the full story here.