Sunday, April 24, 2011

SXSW 2011 notes

The above image has nothing to do with my experience with SXSW. It's the first image that came up from Google image search for "sxsw girl". Trying to see if this increases readership if I put random attractive female picture on my posts.

3/11 Day 1
I test drove Chevy Volt. It's an electric car for the first 40 miles or so. When the batteries run out, it runs on gasoline. I didn't think it's such a revolutionary car like my colleague does. Certainly not for the $33 000 price tag.  But I praise the marketing people working there. Chevy hired the fight folks. They did a good job generating buzz for the car.

The most interesting session is the one Brain Wong a 19 20 year old entrepreneur held about how to succeed being young. Later, his company Kiip received $4 million funding and is generating buzz. 

3/12 Day 2
My colleague was very impressed about the conference. He made a comment something along these lines: "All these wonderful things could be happening right now and we would have no clue if we weren't here". I think a big part of SXSW interactive is about generating serendipity and there's plenty of it.

Another thing I learned at a session is stop listening to your customers. Don't bore them with your surveys. Observe your customers instead. I think it's a very useful advice. People often lie or can not articulate about their needs. This resonates with another useful advice, especially for girls. If you want to know whether someone loves you, do not listen to anything he/she says. Only pay attention to what he/she does.

Life after YC is a very interesting session with founders from Airbnb, dropbox and two other companies I can't recall (one of which Jessica Mah is the founder). 

Keynote from Seth Priebatsch is good. He is in his early 20s and have done some cool things. No excuse for the rest of us:).

Frog's party is less interesting this year after hearing the augmented reality toilet thing they did last year. Nothing particularly memorable.

The rest:
Groupon's marketing person did a funny session about corporate creativity. I start to pay more attention to the text they write on their web pages. 

Keynote by Chris Poole from 4Chan is kinda boring. I think it mostly have something to do with his presentation skills and my unfamiliarity with 4Chan. Now my profile image on my instant messenger is from 4Chan.

Google party is okay. At least there is a Google party.

Vimeo party is awesome. It's a rave party in a power plant. Well done. 

In conclusion: It's a cool conference if you have some $2 000+ to spend. Or if you have never been to Texas (like me). For the lucky ones working in marketing department in some startups, it's a conference where you get made, paid and laid.