I returned from South by Southwest today, impressed by the good vibrations I'm still feeling from a great conference. A number of themes kept coming up:
1. Community and social networking
The image in this post is from one of the better sessions I attended, by Derek Powazek. In Crowdsourcing for Creatives, he cautioned clueless large companies and "community builders," he referenced GM's satirized Tahoe online ad contest. His lessons were:
- Get the audience right. Invitations should have gone only to GM owners, not the whole web.
- Don't put users in a very small box or they'll rebel. GM only allowed captioning and resequencing of content.
- Don't be greedy with your content. Allow people to import their own graphics, collaborate, and share what they create.
- Don't be selfish. Believe it or not, GM didn't even allow users to sign their creations!
While there were other good lesson to be had, every other session, it seemed, had social networking in the title. That felt faddish to me.
Not a term you often hear, but it came up a few times in Austin. Broad interests and diverse experiences will make you smarter and age better. A limber brain, of course, also relates to creativity and problem solving.
3. I'm a Mac
In the businesses I've worked for, you see ten PCs for every Mac. At SXSW, the ratio was reversed. Blackberry was doing a little better, but there still was a great preponderance of iPhones among the smartphone-wielding masses.