The Tech Bet

At SXSW, celebrities go geek

Christina Medici Scolaro
Tech Yeah! SXSW glitterati
Tech Yeah! SXSW glitterati

Famous faces at this year's South by Southwest Interactive Festival didn't just belong to stars known in the world of technology. Ashton Kutcher, Mindy Kaling and Kevin Bacon were all in attendance at the tech gathering.

The celebrity-company relationship benefits all parties involved. "(Celebrities) see themselves as entrepreneurs in their own right, their careers being a sort of start-up, and increasingly you see them aligning with start-ups and tech in a very tangible way," said Nellie Bowles, senior editor at Re/code. "And though it obviously behooves a start-up to have a celebrity endorsement or investor, it also brings a certain intellectual "nerd" cachet to the celebrity."

Retired NBA star Shaquille O'Neal was another celebrity using his clout to at the conference. O'Neal is the spokesman for an app from TIP Solutions called CallSnap. Bowles had the chance to walk around the conference with Shaq, learning that under his 7'1" stature, he's just another tech geek at heart.

"Shaq genuinely likes tech, he was a pre-IPO investor in Google, and he seems to be fascinated with all of it. O'Neal considers himself a loophole who can talk to a lot of different populations, a lot of different people because he has such a broad range," said Bowles.

A funny observation Bowles made though: As Shaq pushed the new product, which is selling an Android app, he was carrying his iPhone the whole day.

Disclosure: CNBC's parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

—By CNBC's Christina Medici Scolaro.