Recruiting Tech Talent at SXSW

Local business leaders trying to attract young tech talent are running into a bit of a problem at this week’s South by Southwest Festival in Auxstin: Many of their target recruits have never heard of San Antonio. 

Some even think the Alamo is in Dallas.

Kevin Peckham — co-founder of Choose San Antonio, a nonprofit geared at attracting residents to the city — said roughly 4 in 10 visitors to the organization’s trade show booth at last year’s festival had never heard of the seventh-largest city in the nation and many don’t know where the Alamo is located.

“People have heard of it, but most people don’t know it’s in San Antonio,” Peckham said Sunday, standing outside the organization’s booth at SXSW’s job market in the Austin Convention Center. “I think that’s shocking to a lot of San Antonians. When I’ve asked people to guess, they’d say Dallas. They know it’s in Texas.”

Earlier, Peckham asked Michael Mahony — a 37-year-old software engineer at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California — to name a band from San Antonio.

After a beat, Mahony offered, “I know Pee-wee Herman visited San Antonio,” a reference to the 1985 Tim Burton film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.”

That’s a knowledge gap Choose San Antonio sought to remedy with an enlarged presence at the 10-day film, music and tech festival.