SXSW Interactive 2011 Highlights

Below are some thoughts/comments and summary elements from sessions at 2011 SXSW Interactive Conference/Festival.  The title and last name of the presenter are the headings, and the italics emphasize key points or best practices around Social Media that could be applied to innovation and new product development.


TED is opening up Content, Conferences, and now Code.  They will showcase “any idea worth spreading” and formerly been very exclusive.  Now with opening up with free downloadable content and local TEDx conferences they are opening up APIs so you can integrate TED with your content. They found that by having content on line they were able to increase the fee of the live event by 50% and sold out faster than ever (1 week).

Most view TED through 2” interfaces.  They encourage speakers to “start strong” and evoke contagious emotions.  Note: Cohen had 3 words per slide on average – white text on black background.

They also have open translation and ensure quality by having a team of two: translator & reviewer.  They give translation team credit, and have strict guidelines.

TED has TED conversations that are time bounded Day/Week/Month – Week being favored.

What makes an open strategy work?

  • Put forward a clear goal that is inspired

  • Have a passionate user base

  • Guidelines

  • Rewards – Swag & recognition

  • Consequences

  • Allow community to moderate itself

  • Make your contributors Rock Stars

  • Openness is not easy

Four Hour Body/Ferris

  • From Feynman: “If it does not agree with experiment, your theory is wrong”

  • Recommends in all cases finding the minimum effective dose

  • The extremes inform the mean, not the other way around

  • Know the worst case scenario

  • Tracking + loss aversion = how to

For weight loss, if do nothing else, start the day with 30 grams of protein (within 30 min of waking)

Myoplex shake is recommended

Rules for behavioral change:

  • Make it conscious

  • Make it a game

  • Make it competitive

  • Make it small & temporary (try one thing for 2 weeks)

To be successful:

  • Take records

  • Look for patterns

  • Tinkering

  • Have striving


Ten steps to achieve enchantment:

  1. Achieve likability

  2. Achieve trustworthiness

  3. Have a great product

  4. Launch with a story

  5. Overcome initial resistance

  6. Endure

  7. Present – sell your dream 10slides /20min/30point font

  8. Technology to provide info, insights, assistance

  9. Enchant up – drop everything for your boss

  10. Enchant down – communicate that you will understand new stuff & you will be a master


12 Visits a month, Image sharing/image chat site with 50 topics from origami to adult.  To me seemed like BBS for images, 15,000 on at any one time, but random discussions.

Moving from 4Chan to – canvas is 4chan 2.0.


Invention is important now… why?  Because it is all possible: Bandwidth, video, mobile, apps

Diller favors net neutrality: no one between producer and consumer

Development process weaknesses

  • Too many in room

  • Organizational containment

  • Get the noise out of the team

  • Think about innovations now possible (long form video)

Thank you Economy/Vaynerchuk

Small town rules are coming back – like knowing the baker/butcher

Old Spice social effort a joke – it is not two way, but simply marketing

It is human to make purchase decisions because people are lazy and they have a relationship/context

Crowdsourced part of the book, but “Corporate fucking John” at the publisher did not want to give them credit in print!  Gary demanded back in color, on glossy stock.  Then Gary asked if he read the book.

Making Social Work 9 to 5/ Panel with MSFT, Altimeter, Spiceworks (Panel)

Best practice around using linked in for sales direct mail campaigns (both way) for identifying targets and then to put at bottom near signature.

  • Spiceworks uses it for feedback on Beta builds, and for prioritizing features for next release – more quickly and more cost effectively, with dialog so it is richer (closed community)

  • Spiceworks filters out the vocal minority by cross checking feedback with actual feature usage percentage and with qualitative feedback

  • You get ideas that you have never imagined – however, this does not eliminate product management

Crowdsourcing/Grieve & Howe (Panel)

Part of the power shift from CEO to company, company to the crowd… however, you must know where to look for the best ideas

Continuum from “I hear you (Gap)” to “I tell you (Apple)”

You still need a genius – the question is how to co-exist with a genius

50% of comments are negative still operating – found fix for broken loyalty program – just want a free drink, and staffed by 50 people around the company and managed by businesses, not PR

Dell reported that all products released recently had at least one feature from Ideastorm

Starbucks Best brought in bloggers for ‘coffee camp’

  • Howe indicated that he did not see a solution for getting around legal if there was no CEO mandate

  • Goldmine & John Flugham Shoes are two more examples (along with IBM, Innocentive, Eli Lily, Right Solutions Software in RI mentioned)

  • Internal innovation example with Right Solutions. Now 30% of revenue comes from internally crowdsourced ideas. AA to CEO came up with a $1M licensing idea. They focused on reward systems – and each employee was given $10K of play money.

Web 3.0 & Entrepreneurship = Data/Hoffman

Data is the platform on the web

Attend FOO if possible (Friends of O'reilly)

Web 2.0 = Real ID’s and relationships, bandwidth

Web 3.0 = bandwidth, video, “appification”, mobile, real-time (mobile most important)

Entrepreneurship’s 10 rules

Marketplaces, networks, platforms is where he invests

The world changes quickly – if you want to learn about graphics, reading Tufte is not enough

Bruce Sterling

Quoted Garibaldi “You, too, women, cast away all the cowards from your embraces; they will give you only cowards for children, and you who are the daughters of the land of beauty must bear children who are noble and brave”

To the women (and men of SXSW) you can’t stand by and watch the calamity of decaying, ineffective government but use these incredible tools to speak up.

Social Innovation Best Practices

  • TED

  • Spiceworks

  • Right solution Software

  • MIX Management (Management Innovation Exchange)

  • Winelibrary