Team VouchBoard asked SXSWers if they would “Vouch” for Charlie Sheen. Check out their responses in our first VB video!
On Monday’s March 14 hundreds of tech startups gathered for an interactive Trade Show. The companies ranged from music production and promotion companies to digital news and information companies. Here are some photos from the event:
The “Other” Apple Guy
There are several keys to selling your brand successfully, said Guy Kawasaki who was the number 2 guy behind Steve Jobs during the computer company’s rebirth. The speech he gave on Sunday March 13 was titled “The Art of Enchantment”. In this speech he listed actions that employees and managers need to do to extend their company’s brand identity.
Kawasaki is not the traditional speaker that you would hear at an interactive concert.
“Tech people suck as speakers,” he joked. “Sucking and being long is like being stupid and arrogant.”
From that point on, the packed ballroom hung onto every word that Kawasaki uttered. His speech was direct. It was detailed without getting too technical. And he addressed complex issues in simple terms. This made it easy for the audience to follow along while actually learning.
Some highlights from the hour-long speech about what a company must do to sell a brand:
· Be likeable, the eyes are the key to a great smile
· Perfect your handshake.
· Most important, you need to tell a story!
- written by Ade Coker
SXSW: Swag Edition
SXSW is in full gear and there is an endless supply of swag in the atmosphere – both literally and figuratively speaking. For those who aren’t aware SXSW is a hotbed of free stuff! Companies eager for attention or simply trying to please adoring fans/customers constantly hand out t-shirts, gifts, chotchskies, food, drinks (both alcoholic and non) and overall fun related material.
Below is the top 5 list of all swag related materials I encountered during the trip:
5. Sobe mixed drinks – a great fusion of Sobe drinks with vodka never hurt anybody.
4. Foursquare American Apparel Shirts – high quality tees for all the aspiring mayors out there.
3. Microsoft Snap-On Watches – that classic concept mixed with modern and colorful timepieces.
2. Hipmunk Travel Tags – seriously, who wouldn’t love that little mascot to follow you on your travels?
1. Life-size replica of that Foursquare Gap Advertisement – apparently Dens and Naveen linking arms. Weird.
Honorable mentions include the Google light-up ring, Blizzy QR Coded Shirts, and the SXSW Digital Swag Bag/Give out.
Patterns in iPad navigation
"We want the interaction to feel familiar to us, and to feel instinctual," panelist Lynn Teo said as she projected a video of a 2 year old being handed an iPad for the first time. The toddler easily figured out how to swipe through content, zoom, and rotate the iPad for a different orientation.
The size, portability, and touch element of tablets create a new user experience that is more direct and sensually engaging than desktop computers, laptops, or smartphones. As a result, a unique set of design conventions is emerging. Leo analyzed the navigation schemes of 50 leading iPad apps to look for patterns, and her findings were fascinating.
Leo said that the most successful apps are ones that reference the physical world. The MoMA app, for example, recreates the wall space of an art gallery. The CNN app presents news as if each story were a card tacked onto a board. One of the cooking apps replicates a kitchen table, and even presents the recipes on images of food-stained paper.
Even though I really enjoyed this panel, it’s hard for me to accept Leo’s findings as “design conventions.” The iPad is still such a new technology, and the visual language of tablet navigation is bound to go through many changes. I only wish Leo talked more about where she thought tablet design was heading.
Three things magazines can learn from Flipboard
Any magazine publisher or editor will admit that no one has “figured out” the iPad magazine yet. Sales flagged early on; many tablet editions earned mixed reviews from readers and pundits. Just last Friday, Bonnier and ad agency CP&B released a study showing that readers fail to engage with iPad magazines and are easily led away to other applications.
But where major magazines and publishers failed, Flipboard succeeded. The gorgeously designed iPad app aggregates real-time updates from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other sources into a magazine-like format. It now has one million downloads, and more than half of its users are highly active. And as founder Mike McCue explained at Friday’s panel, “Flipboard: Game-changer or just a fad?,” the company now advises major magazine publishers on optimizing their iPad editions. Below, some of his tips.
1. Emphasize aesthetics. “The iPad is an opportunity to combine the realtime nature of the web with the aesthetics of print,” McCue said. Magazines should embrace that with clean layouts that “give content room to breathe” and replicate, or at least imitate, the immersive experience of print.
2. Update in realtime. Flipboard’s appeal lies in its currentness: the app looks different every time you open it. Compare that to most of the major iPad editions, where content is just as static as a print magazine. “The last thing readers expect is for that content to be old,” McCue said. “It’s glowing at you and looks like the Internet.”
3. Add social elements. Readers want to share and react to content, but aren’t always given the opportunity on tablets. McCue recommends sharing features and realtime elements that let readers engage with the magazine. He likes National Geographic’s Twitter list of Arctic explorers, which tracks current explorers on their travels.
The Internet Revolution
“Governments aren’t afraid of informed individuals, they’re afraid of synchronized ideas,” said speaker Clay Shirky at a speech about how social media could be used to spark a revolution. Shirky did not illustrate how activists seeking free democratic state can use new age communication to bring down an overbearing government. The Egyptian citizens did it on their own.
The ability to share information freely is a primary function of any healthy nation. When governments use censorship and propaganda to control their citizens, people are forced to find information to develop tools to fight suppression. Using Facebook, Twitter, camera phones and text messaging, Egyptian protestors were able to unite their views and share common gripes with the existing government.
Shirky described the dangers of social media for the Egyptian government. He credited Internet penetration with planting the seeds of democracy several years ago. Social media did not create their unrest. It stirred it and allowed them to coordinate.
“Technology is a dictator’s dilemma,” he explained. “Getting information is important. Getting information out is imperative.”
Engage With Your Customers!
On Saturday March 12, a panel of entertainment executives spoke about how media companies are increasingly communicating with their customers online. They explained how consumer demand drives innovation and it only makes sense to participate in the discussion.
The old corporate policy of respectfully ignoring customers and avoiding online discussions is antiquated. A strong word of advice from one panelist:
“Customers will talk about you either way. It only makes sense to engage in conversation to steer it in the right direction.”
The five experts for the “Entertainment is Social” panel used BP as a recent example of how to use social media for image enhancement.
To further develop brand identity one panelist advised that media companies shouldn’t erase all negative comments written about them in the digital space. Instead, he suggested,
“Defend yourself and tell them you’ll try to do it better”
- written by Ade Coker
Social Good Morning
Today I attended a brilliant SXSW panel entitled “The Future of Philanthropy: Social Giving Takes Off.” As one who believes the practical convergence of idealism and realism is key for inspiring significant and long-lasting global reform, it was fascinating to hear from experts in the field of using social media to improve and save lives.
While one guest expressed that he was feeling “caused out” these days, panel leader Daniel Patterson led a thought-provoking discussion that made me more optimistic about my generation’s potential to make a difference via Facebook/Twitter/etc.
When explaining the key challenges for nonprofits, Patterson and the other panelists expressed that building trust is the most important step for increasing organizational awareness and support. My startup VouchBoard will allow nonprofits to showcase support from those who value their work. I’m hoping VB will help establish this trust, while encouraging users to also recognize friends and colleagues who dedicate their time, energy, and/or money for making a positive mark. This panel certainly inspired me to do my part.
-Andrew Bank (Senior at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School)
Google’s Marissa Mayer
Waves of buzzing and chatting roared, as the largest ballroom filled with SXSW-goers looking to hear a keynote from Marissa Mayer, the product gatekeeper of Google and head of mobile gelo-location team, that would hopefully release a fresh reality-shattering product.
Unfortunately, it felt a lot more like a look back at what Google has been up to over the several months. Mayer explained a few geo-location services in the mobile marketplace that have been gaining some traction, like, google places, hotpot and google goggles. Despite lacking insight to where we’re headed, Mayer made an interesting comment about the potential power of where we are now, ”ours phones are like cursors between the digital and physical world.” Cursors that augment or diminish our ability to explore our surroundings.