From the hallways, tweets and streets of SXSW Interactive 2012

<img class="size-full wp-image-3027 alignright" title="sxsw_dell" src="

ads/sxsw_dell.jpg” alt=”" width=”226″ height=”128″ />Just got back from 5 days at SXSW Interactive

in Austin, TX and still trying to process it all.

I’ve never been to a festival (carnival???) with a more eclectic mix of opportunists, geeks, dreamers, serial tweeters, writers, angry musicians, technologists, consultants, travelers, revelers, drunks, hipsters, gamers, bloggers, hackers, hucksters, hawkers, poseurs, suits, ipaders, students, former-VPs, weirdoes, advertisers, investors, governors, celebrity chefs, educators, architects, coders, volunteers, co-founders, millennials, food-trucksters, gawkers, entrepreneurs, angels, “reporters”, Pinsters and prognosticators.

All these characters appeared to have a similar agenda: get out of the dorm room/ garage/cubicle for week to share new idea; become or identify the next hot startup; and then tweet, hack, pitch, and party your way thru it!

As I look thru my tweets and notes from the week, here are the highlights I took away:

  • You product

    should tell a story, draw out customer emotions and drive engagement/ sharing. Check out how Tiffany & Co is doing it.

  • Advancements in cloud and big data as well as the convergence of traditional mediums (eg: architecture) with interactive has made it possible for anyone to build a new scalable business model. Even for people that want to share “beautiful collections”- see Pinterest
  • Building a “social organization” requires building a bridge between business need and the benefits of social (can’t assume its obvious)
  • Don’t be ashamed to #remix old ideas. The best artists do it all the time. The magic happens in the transformation. Check out this online video series as proof!
  • According to Linkedin founder, Reid Hoffman, the 21st century career requires an entrepreneurs touch – constantly reinvent, take measured risks, be flexible, navigate towards growth and connect prolifically outside of your network
  • As employers, we need to rethink our strategies to hire and keep the next #greathire (eg: rethink the importance of the resume)
  • Employees at large companies have plenty to learn from startups – I’ve never seen a faster, more thorough elevator pitch in my life than from Fearless.
  • The most successful companies treat customers as USERS – they go back to their startup roots!
  • Following a twitter stream makes any live event a thousand times better (“…will the blogger sitting over there RT me?”)
  • It’s possible to be speaking on a panel and tweet prolifically at the same time: see @guykawasaki
  • It’s not possible to connect with everyone you wanted to meet. Apologies @simonhjorth @lionelatDell @FromTheFab @bobduffy

What words and terms were trending in the hallways, tweets and streets of SXSWi? Pivot, open API, monetization, Pinterest, #-anything, startup pitch, <insert large brand> lounge, meet up, hack, hackathon, speed dating, storytelling, entrepreneur, remix, social organization, lean, “…in silicon valley”, <insert active verb> your brand, gamification, <insert country/state> @sxsw (eg: Ireland@SXSW2012), co-founder, platform, curation, reinvention, pre-party.

Best session titles:

The craziness that SXSW Interactive has become offered a wide array of learning and networking experiences for all. The most compelling this year had to be the electricity around startup village and the variety of meet-ups, mentor opps, “convergence seminars”, keynotes, pitch contestsand related events. It was great to see Dell play a prominent role there this year and, thanks to Startup America, it was rewarding to engage directly with many entrepreneurs to learn about their concepts, hear their pitches and discuss future opportunities.

I think our Dell billboard tweeted by @leahy16 at the Austin airport said it best. A “solid’” to our ad team!

Josh Kivenko

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