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SXSW 2011 Archive
Another year, another SXSW festival coming up in just a few weeks. What will this year’s event hold? Last year seemed like a big shift for both the event and for attendees. The event was split up into many locations (I think this was a huge mistake), more commercialization than ever and it seemed like lots of people came to Austin but didn’t buy a badge – they just surfed the hallways of the convention center and also attended lots of Sixth Street non-official events. Each year the event grows larger and hotel rooms display sold out signs earlier and earlier.
I wonder if this will be the year that the registration/check-in process will be updated similar to how Google handled the IO event registration.
The SXSW group has released demographics for all of the SXSW events: music, film and interactive. You can find all of the demographics data here (would have been great as an infographic). Remember that the numbers don’t include people who just came to town without an official badge.
Some of the interesting stats include:
- Total conference attendees across all three festivals – 50,000
- Interactive participants – 20,000
- Sessions – 935
- International attendees – 10%
- 75% of attendees have an income over $55k
- 30% of attendees are over 40
Drop me a line if you are coming to town for the annual gathering – I will be covering the event for CN.
Last week I attended a 15-minute presentation at SXSW 2011 by blogger Julia Allison titled, “Social Media or Sado-Masochism? Cyberbullying & Celeb 2.0″. I’ve posted the video from her presentation below. The takeaway for me was that people are picking on Julia and she wants the police to setup a “cyberbullying” group that will go after anyone who says mean things online.
Before I go forward, I think bullying of kids (and adults) is horrible. Bullying someone about their size, shape, color, ethnicity, race, sexual preference, etc. should not be tolerated at any level and it’s great to see the government getting involved with education and other ideas to help end bullying.
After I left Julia’s presentation, I was walking around the expo hall and started to wonder if a personal brand is any different than a corporate brand? Should we be expected to treat personal brands different than corporate brands? Technically a corporate brand is made up of individuals so perhaps it’s the same?
Today I stopped by the SXSW 2011 expo hall – it’s definitely bigger than in previous years. Rackspace had a very large booth while Google and Microsoft had smaller booths (Microsoft had an end cap). The Google booth was pretty crowded while the Microsoft booth was empty (pics below). Mapquest also had a large presence. Apple had no presence which I guess makes sense since everyone already bought an iPad 2. The British startup area was also larger than last year – there were also a number of other countries that had booths (the only one I remember was Canada).
Here are my photos – click on a photo to view the larger size:
Pretty neat idea – a wall with chalkboard paint where you could write whatever you like – of course I had to represent with the yellow CloudContacts shoutout in the bubble – BatchBook is right above:
Are web designers sexy? This booth shook the 8 ball and the result was “yes”
Continue reading “SXSW 2011: Expo Hall Photos” »
The Interactive portion of the SXSW conference ends tomorrow and the Music portion of the conference begins. This is my first year in-town during the music festival. If you are planning to remain in Austin for the next week but don’t plan on purchasing a music badge, here are a few ways you can still get in on the action.
The Auditorium Shores Stage Concert Series will take place this weekend and will feature a variety of bands. The concerts are open to the public although badge holders receive vip seating. Saturday is made up of bands that are family friendly. Make sure you read the notes on the schedule page as there are serious restrictions about what you can bring into the arena.
If you aren’t staying in Austin for the Music portion of SXSW, you can download a large number of songs from artists playing at the various events around the city.
- XRT Radio has a list of 140 songs that can be downloaded individually or in batches
- Amazon has a 12-track Don’t Mess With Texas SXSW music sampler
While I haven’t heard of any of the bands and artists playing at the SXSW events, I am looking forward to hearing some new music around the city over the next week.
While attending Lean Startup day at SXSW 2011, I met with Ask.com VP Communications Valerie Combs to learn more about their new group texting mobile app. It seems that this year you aren’t cool if you don’t have a group texting app. Ask Around lets you view and engage in conversations near you.
You select your radius and then you can see what’s happening around that zone. You can also change the location — for example, you might be at the SXSW conference in Austin but want to see what’s happening at the Berlin main train station. You can also select a “spot” which will give you a list of popular locations to monitor the conversation.
The app doesn’t appear to have topics so it looks like everyone is just bundled together – I wonder how that works in terms of conversation flow. I guess it’s like Twitter – everyone just messages in whatever they want with no actual focus – but in this case the idea is that the conversation should be focused around a specific location.
I asked Valerie what makes Ask Around different than the 847 other group texting apps that have recently launched. She noted that Ask Around is specifically focused just on location – there are no algorithms, no matchmaker services, just a focus on the conversation around a location.
The Ask.com Ask Around app is free for download and currently only available for iPhone.
Below is Valerie’s video demo of Ask Around – you can check out another demo with Abby Johnson of WebProNews who spoke with Ask.com Chief Product and Technology Officer Lisa Kavanaugh.
Continue reading “SXSW Video Demo: Ask.com Ask Around Mobile Group Texting App” »
Angel investor and 500Startups founder Dave McClure took to the stage during the Lean Startup Day at SXSW — his presentation centered around startup metrics for lean startups. If you know Dave, you know that typically every third word is a curse word of some sort – my counter had him at about 3.2 words/curse word across his presentation. It was three years ago at SXSW that Dave McClure introduced the world to getting booty by using his startup metrics techniques for pirates.
My favorite part of the presentation was when Dave asked the audience, “when do you stop adding features” and someone in the audience replied, “when you get acquired”. Everyone laughed and Dave quickly noted that was not the right answer – the correct answer is to stop adding features when your users are happy with what you have. I am not sure I agree – can you name one company that has actually stopped adding features?
Here are some of my notes:
- suggests you read the book Spent
- don’t bother pitching him or emailing him – if you want into his network, you better come via a referral (see slide 41)
- the important metrics aren’t uniques or cash – but visitor engagement metrics (see slide 11 below)
- disagrees with Chris Dixon and Fred Wilson around marketing and SEO (I agree with Dave)
- gathering customer data is good, email collection is great because you can “fucking spam your users” (see Dave’s comment below – just to be clear he was joking about spamming customers)
- if your customers pay for your product, you have MVP (minimum viable product)
- hate is more gooder than love (that was my Fake Grimlock impersonation) – basically what Dave means here is that when people hate your product they will tell you specifically what to fix – if they love your product, you will probably only get an “i love your product” response
- testing is cheap, coding is expensive – Dave notes that you are better off testing up the behind before you code because it’s easy to change a test, harder to change code
- Dave featured a slide about cartoons and noted that SouthPark is a really shitty product within a niche and that’s why they won
Dave also discussed pricing – in that you are better off starting with charging for your service and possibly moving free later on than the reverse. He said that way you will get customers initially who really, really want your product. I agree with his conclusion but for a different reason – it’s very, very hard to move to paid when you start free – just look at what the backlash when this is done – but if you go from paid to free, you look like a hero.
Continue reading “SXSW Recap: Startup Metrics for Pirates 2.0” »
I barely slept last night watching the absolutely horrible videos of the destruction following the earthquakes in Japan. The earthquake was the most powerful to hit Japan in over 100 years. And now CNN is reporting that there is another earthquake that just hit Nagano, Japan.
The organizers of the SXSW conference here in Austin have setup a special donation site located at SXSW4Japan. It appears that the funds will go to the American Red Cross. CauseVox is powering the site and notes that they will waive all transaction fees so 100% of the donations will be sent to the American Red Cross.
You can either make a donation or setup a custom donation page that you can share. So far $265 has been raised out of a $10,000 goal. The fundraising campaign will run 4 days through the balance of SXSW Interactive.