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PARTIES - DONE RIGHT AND WRONG 9Seemed like every agency and brand at SXSW threw aparty, and so many of them seemed exactly the same.RSVP lists you could ignore, rented a bars, free weakdrinks, and bad house music.
ALL HAT (NO BULL) 10But a few stood out. In it’s fourth year an intimategathering that started as a casual meetup to get awayfrom the growing SXSW crowds, “All Hat, No Bull” hasbecome a super-connector shindig. David Armano,Frank Binhammer, Mark Drosos, Geoff Livingston andJeremiah Owyang are chief instigators for this low key,high social currency event. Along with top executivesfrom A-B, Citibank, Dell, GM, The Home Depot andother leading companies are a mixture of thoughtleaders, dreamers, social media evangelists, agencyfolk and entrepreneurs of all walks and regions. Trueto its roots, this event stays low-to-no-bull even witha high-proﬁle Chevy sponsorship.
BARBARIAN GROUP + TUMBLR 11Key learning, if you are a brand or an agency trying toget noticed at SXSW, and you are going to throw aparty, do something different. Ex: Barbarian Groupand Tumblr Robotrip party. No RSVP, lines around theblock 2 hours before doors opened, 2 venues, 2000people + 16 bands came out to equal one pretty largeevening.
STARTUP AMERICA SETS UP SHOPhttp://www.s.co/content/top-ﬁve-reasons-startup-america-live-sxsw-2012-rocked 13We have a bias from the Valley that StartUps outside ofSF Bay Area are rare and challenged because theydon’t beneﬁt from similar culture & ecosystem thatexists here. StartUp America is working hard tosupport broader startup activity everywhere. At SXSWthey hosted a lounge where many entrepreneurs,Angels, VCs & media set up shop. They had pitch-offs,brainstorms, office hours and more. Really inspiring tosee the innovation and energy at work.
SHUTTLES 15One way that agencies and brands shined at SXSW wasby providing a service, rising above the expected.
RIDES 16With “Catch a Chevy” attendees where able to grab afree ride around Austin during the conference, chargetheir phones on the way and enter for a chance to winone of the vehicles. They also got a lot of peoplechecking out the cars, as though it was a mobileshowroom
FOOD DELIVERY 17Uber, the on-demand transportation service,expanded their service from taxi to pedicabs--apopular way to get around Austin--at last year’sSXSW. This year, they expanded to deliver BBQ fromIronworks. Great idea because days can run past youin the content & event-packed days and before youknow it, late afternoon has crept up on you withouthaving anything to eat. We found this and ordered BBQfor the team, which was delivered in the rain in <2minutes. Great value and worth talking about andsharing on social media.
CHARGING STATIONS 18Special FedEx jackets were equipped with portablebattery packs woven through the arms and back.These "power couriers" had a constant crowd aroundthem, both of onlookers and those living by the SXSWmotto “Always Be Charging.”
RAINY DAYS, PONCHOS & UMBRELLAS 19It rained, a lot during the ﬁrst two days. Brands likeFandango and GroupMe were able to respond rapidlyby providing branded rain gear. Kraft Mac and Cheesehad umbrellas made that read “don’t get your noodlewet.”
FOOD + TECH 22An inaugural gathering of food+technology folksworking together to unite multitudes of diverse anddisconnected data for better understanding andquantiﬁcation of our selves and our food supply. Propsto @foodtree for bringing this to our attention
SOCIAL DISCOVERY 24Maps show us Points or Places of Interest. Highlightsought to bring us People of Interest. The knock onthis app--beyond discussion of “creepy factor” withproximity awareness--was that it drained even themost miserly of Smartphone batteries in minutes.
AUDIENCE SHOWCASE Audience Showcase 25Skypes "Be Human" event made the audience an activepart of the live-band performances, setting upphotobooth-like backdrops for attendees to dance infront of. Live video feeds brought the audiencedancers onto the stage in large screens above theperformers.
FROM “POST-DIGITAL” TO “RE-PHYSICAL” 26"Materiality" was a recurring term, pointing to arefocusing on physical objects - and how they’re apart of the digital world. The left frame is Sphero--http://gosphero.com--the imaginative RC robotic orbyou drive w/any of 5 different iphone/ipad apps.Upper right is an instagram photo printer and belowthat the Makerbots.
CRITERION 4SQUARE SCAVENGER HUNT 27Foursquare scavenger hunts aren’t a new thing, butCriterion really did on right at SX this year by hidingtheir DVD’s and Bluerays at Austin points of interestthat could be overlooked, or off the beaten path.
29A large number of panels and conversations wereconcerned with how to design systems that inspiredbetter, healthier behavior.
REAL-LIFE PLUS DIGITAL real-life plus digital 30Nikes outdoor setup featured basketball courts,skateboard ramps, and other accommodations forphysical activity, letting people see Nikes activity-tracking FuelBand in action.
VISUALIZING AUDIENCE ENTHUSIASM 31A second Nike space hosted live bands; during one setspecially modiﬁed FuelBands were worn by attendees,able to sync the activity levels in real-time. Theselevels were then visualized on the face of a nearbybuilding, which went from red to green as theperformance attendees got more energetic.
OGILVY NOTES 33Ogilvy continued a second year with the illustrators atImageThink to bring talks to life through visuallysketched notes. These were drawn live as thepresenter or panelists were on stage, and displayed onexit as the audience left the auditorium.
#I JUST PLANTED A TREE 34#IJustPlantedATree was a social campaign by Nokia torestore Austin’s trees after devastating wild ﬁresswept through the city in September 2011. One of themost tweeted hashtags as all of SXSWi; top trendingTwitter hashtag in Austin, SF & Nationwide. Provesnewcomers can still breakthrough.
DIGITAL-TO-PHYSICAL STORYTELLING 35Skype got a small bit of attention through their "towncrier," reading tweets sent to Skypes hashtag out loudto the public. Experiments like this can go over well insome cases, and can be found lacking in others - inspite of the intentions this one left passersby feelinglike it was more of a stunt.
DIY STUDIOS 36GEs told the story of their charge to bring imaginationto life with the DIY Garages. After signing a safetywaiver attendees could participate in workshopsfeaturing MakerBots, laser cutters, and even weldingequipment to put together various self-made objects.
BBH HOMELESS HOTSPOTS 37BBH gave portable wiﬁ transmitters to people withouthomes in Austin, so that attendees could connect atthe price of a donation. This later became a point ofcontroversy, raising a discussion around thedehumanization of the homeless population.
INSTANT DISCOUNTS 38American Express revealed a new integration withtwitter during SXSW, allowing cardholders to sync theirtwitter with their AmEx accounts. Once synced,tweeting particular hashtags results in a discount onthe next purchase at the related merchant.
HANDS-ON DEMOS 39The Nokia Labs location was the most visuallyintriguing, brought up in conversation not only amongattendees but remarked upon by taxi drivers andothers from Austin at large. Inside were very hands-ondemonstrations of the technology in Nokias phones, astage for performances and areas for table-top gameslike four-way pingpong and “Sauna Confessionals.”
FROM T-SHIRTS TO SUITS 41A lot more sales guys showing up displacing some ofthe doers. Bruce Sterling in his Keynote remarked thatinteractive attendees are now the better dressed,instead of the musicians - trying to live up to theirwell designed products and services.The new types of attendees joining SXSW werereﬂected in the trade show ﬂoors, where a moreinternational presence was starting to emerge.
COLLABORATIVE WORK MODELS & SPACES 42The future of work was a question that appeared in agood number of panel topics. We saw the reﬁnementof collaborative business models and spaces,exempliﬁed by Grinds pop-up office building.
HOLISTIC APPROACHES TO MOBILE PAYMENTS 43The mobile wallet concept has been bubbling aroundin conversations and attempted in startups for acouple of years now, but companies like Isis areemerging with holistic models that account for notonly NFC payment technology but accountmanagement, merchant relations, and phone/networkcompatibility.
DEVELOPING IDEAS IN TRANSMEDIA 44Transmedia and social content were frequent themesin panel topics. The speakers and presentations ingeneral pointed to how the thinking around content ina digital, connected world is evolving, with contentmodels becoming more reﬁned.