If you’ve attended South by Southwest the past few years, you know three things have become staples at the mega tech conference in Austin, Texas:

Foursquare throws a raging party. So does Path. GroupMe feeds everyone free grilled cheese sandwiches.

This year, none of those things are happening. 

Foursquare is only sending a few sales people this year. Path is partied out. GroupMe's founders are all beginning new startups, and Skype doesn't plan to keep the GroupMe Grill going.

@ajs sorry pal. have this complimentary grilled cheese emoji on us. pic.twitter.com/vP1dflo1Ep

— GroupMe (@GroupMe) March 3, 2014

The event itself has become so popular (about 40,000 people), regular attendees are less-than-thrilled to go. When Wall Street Journal reporter Evelyn Rusli — a first-time SXSW attendee — asked Twitter what she needed to do there, Google Ventures investor MG Siegler wrote back: "Run."

@EvelynRusli like this https://t.co/g2zuDTIEsO

— MG Siegler (@parislemon) February 27, 2014

The lack of startup traditions at this year's South by Southwest leaves room for new companies to steal the spotlight. Secret, the buzzy anonymous app that's like a "Mean Girls" Burn Book for Silicon Valley, is positioned to win the week.

How? Its founder David Byttow won't say.

When asked what event he's planning, Byttow replied:

"If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret."

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