SXSW Interactive – Monday, March 10, 2008
Mar 10 2008

It’s been a long, fun filled day at SXSW Interactive today.  So this post won’t be as meaty as my previous SXSW post.  I met tons of people today and many people who know me and who I know from twitter.  It was so cool to have so many people come up to me and say, ‘hey, aren’t you @aruni on twitter?’  I guess I kind of stand out in a crowd. :-)  I probably gained about 30 followers just from tweeting about the panels I attended.  Here’s a quick overview because honestly I’m kinda worn out:

The Care and Feeding of Your Startup
This panel was made up of some local entrepreneurs from Unwired Nation as well as a venture capitalist from Texas based DFJ Mercury and a couple of others.  Some key insights:

  • Someone needs to serve as the “Belief Engine” for your startup which I took to mean the “evangelist” but I thought that was a unique way of saying it.
  • Make sure your product fits into your users way of life and they don’t have to drastically change what they are doing
  • Understand if your concept is a feature or a business.  It could be a feature that expands into a business.
  • You should aim to exceed investor’s expectations.
  • 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs can’t go the distance so they really should identify a strong mentor.
  • Make sure the people you hire have ‘karmic velcro’ which means they have the fortitude to stick around when the going gets tough.
  • There are 3 key people you need in a start-up.  1 in charge of product, 1 handling business development who can close the early deals, and 1 evangelist.
  • It’s not appropriate to go to VCs in the first 2 years of a business, because in the first 2 years you are still assessing the market risk.  Almost all the VC deals that occurred with Web companies in early stage have not worked out and they are struggling to get their money back.
  • Keep two sets of books.  One you show your investors and one with even more aggressive numbers that you aim for internally.

True Stories from Social Media Sites

This panel was moderated by Guy Kawasaki, who was so kind to put my blog near the top of his new AllTop Moms site.  It was notably a panel of 5 women and 1 guy.  Two of the women were twitter pals so when I got up to ask a question and say ‘hi’ one of them was tweeting about me.

I had my son with me at this panel because he’s home for Spring Break so I wasn’t able to take a lot of notes or do many tweets because half way through he wanted to play a game on my phone!  He actually did really well, scribbled a bit, and then drew a funny looking dinosaur who he felt the need to show was pooping.  Such a funny kid!  He wanted me to go up to the mic and say something, but when I tried to get him to come with me, he got shy…he is only afterall 5 1/2.

The panelists discussed their great and not-so-great experiences using social media.  What funny and sometimes unbelievable stories they shared!

I met up with my husband after that panel and we took our son for a late lunch at Bennigan’s and then he took him home, and I went to the BlogHaus to network with more bloggers.

Online Adulation: Use Don’t Abuse Your Fans

This panel had an editor from CNET as moderator and some pretty fabulous bloggers including the infamous Dooce whose current post is called Fueled Entirely by Advil.  

I was sitting next to Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home during this panel and she was twittering away.  She had her laptop so she could do it much faster than I could so I let her take over so go read her twitter stream if you want to read all about it.

Went back to the Bloghaus after this panel and met none other than Darren Rowse (aka Problogger).  Someone took a picture of us and said he’d email it to me so I’ll post it when I get it…assuming he remembers.

Conversation Starters

This event was hosted by DELL and Federated Media and they booked the entire Iron Cactus restaurant on 6th and Trinity.  Richard at DELL was the lead blogging rep from DELL, who I had met a few weeks earlier at an Austin Tweet Up.

Because I’m twitter friends with Kim Haynes, I volunteered to help with registration since it was an RSVP only event.  Of course, that meant I had access to extra drink tickets and people wanted to get to know me! 

The key speakers were top blogger and FastCompany.tv producer Robert Scoble (aka Scobleizer) and Shel Israel of Global Neighborhoods.

I met so many twitter buds at Conversation Starters, including the famous Chris Brogan, and throughout the day that it would take me all night to type up their names.  Already, this post is longer than I thought it would be!

Stay tuned for my next SXSWi post on Tuesday’s events.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, conferences, entrepreneurship, networking, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SXSW Interactive – Sunday, March 9, 2008
Mar 9 2008

Although I’ve lived in Austin for quite some time, I have never made it to SXSW but now since a big part of what I do for my company is social media related, I finally had a great reason to go.  Most people associate SXSW with music, film making, bands, and people partying all night long.  For those visiting from out of town and attending the music pieces of SXSW that might be true, but for those of us attending SXSW Interactive who live in town and have kids to take care of, we aren’t able to party (or should I say not interested in partying) all night long.  Although tonight I was tempted to stay out late after having been asked by a couple of people to join some after parties.  But since I just got back from Los Angeles, I figured I should get home and give my husband a little back-up break with the kids.  Here are some brief overviews of the sessions I attend.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of facebook
sxsw-zuckerberg.jpg

Mark who is a 23 year old billionaire, seemed to be more comfortable during the interview than what I’ve heard he has been before, but he seemed to say some of the same stuff over and over again.  I forgot my regular camera and my cell phone camera is not that great, hence the not-so-great picture above.  However, here are some interesting things he said:

  • He mentioned that facebook was going to change their incentive system to one where the more invites you send out that are accepted, the more opportunities you have to invite others to join your network.   
  • He also said that at facebook, they begin with the premise that everyone is fundamentally good and not trying to do evil/illicit things. 
  • He felt that all of the mistakes they have made so far have had to do with them not giving their users enough control over the process.
  • He believes terrorism stems from people not feeling connected to each other.

The interviewer, Sarah Lacy, from BusinessWeek.com, had a strange interviewing style.  Sadly, much of the audience was wondering why she was asking the questions she did and why she was asking them the way she did.  Honestly, it seemed like she was a teenage girl flirting with a billionaire 20 something entrepreneur and many of her questions weren’t really questions they were statements.  After, the audience turned on her, I thought she might wonder why but apparently she thought she did a great job and said Mark told her she did a great job.  Omar Gallaga, who blogs for Austin 360 Digital Savant did a post-panel video interview with her that you can see HERE.  Check it out, it’s a good interview.  She believes that since she is one of the few women tech journalists that she always gets flack and is misunderstood.  Since I’m a woman in tech, after seeing her today I wouldn’t agree with her assessment of why the audience didn’t like her, but kudos to her for putting herself out there and trying.  I know she is being flamed on the Internet for the interview but if she can bounce back from this and learn & grow from this experience, she will be on her way to achieving great things.

Thom Singer, Author and Speaker on Networking

I tried hard to make it to Thom’s book reading, but after getting out of the room after Zuckerberg spoke, it was something like a 3 block hike from one end of the convention center to the other.  I arrived as he was wrapping up his Q&A.  Thom is an author and blogs at Some Assembly Required.  He’s about to release a new book called Some Assembly Required for Women.

Kathy Sierra, Author and Speaker

Kathy Sierra was a very interesting speaker.  She gave tips and advice on how to get your customers (and employees) passionate about your products.  The room was packed and since I was coming back from the other side of the convention center they wouldn’t let us in!  As I came up to the front of the line to ask what was going on, they said they couldn’t let us in because of fire code violation stuff. I was in line with Francine Hardaway and we along with a few others made some noise about how full it had been at the Zuckerberg talk and surely they can let us in since there weren’t more than 20 to 30 of us waiting outside and we had seen some people leave.  After a few minutes, they let us in.  Since I haven’t been blogging for a year yet, I didn’t know the back story on Kathy’s blogging stalker weirdness almost a year ago.  She indicated that she might start blogging again, which I look forward to.

The Super Collider: A Hero of the Social Network

I attended this panel briefly and it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  One of the panelists discussed how she was using the various social networks and social media to promote her business.  It was interesting, but nothing new so I took off to the Entrepreneur’s Lounge at Fogo de Chao Brazilian restaurant for a short after party.  It was hosted by ATI and uShip.  Ran into Bryan Mennell of Austin Startup blog there.

Hearing these people speak was fascinating but what was even more exciting to me was meeting face to face with many of my blogging friends and meeting new friends including Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home, Liz Strauss of Successful Blog, Tamar Weinberg of Mashable, Gina Trapani of lifehacker, Laura Mayes of Sk*rt, Annalee Newitz of io9 (she blogs on sci-fi stuff), and Tim Walker of Hoovers Business.

Stay tuned for more of my SXSWi experiences on Monday and Tuesday.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, conferences, entrepreneurship, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »