With the 2013 version of SxSW Interactive in the books, it’s time for a look back on highlights, key trends (or lack of) and links to some of the awesome content we collected during the several events that we hosted during the event.

For starters, there really weren’t any big technologies that shined through at this SXSW like we’ve had at past events. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but likely more of an indication that it’s becoming harder and harder to break through all the noise at SXSW Interactive. There was a larger corporate presence than ever this year and that will likely be a continuing theme over the next few years as companies continue to embrace, grow and operationalize social, digital and mobile into their corporate DNA.

Social Commerce Summit

For W2O Group in particular, we had a very successful set of of events that kicked off with our Social Commerce Summit on Thursday, March 7. During this six hour event, we had 19 speakers each give 10 minute TED-like talks. The talks covered a range of topics including love, marriage and creating brand passion. We know it’s a lot of content but we hope you’ll take the time to watch the video (or at least read the highlights in the blog posts) from the speakers below.

We also had a few nice write ups from the event by former PR Week/current Holmes Report writer, Aarti Shah (here) and friend of W2O, Lisa Grimm (here).

In particular, we would like to thank our sponsors, Sysomos and BazaarVoice, for making all of our events during SXSW possible. They were (and are) great partners.


W2O Group Open House/Live from Stubbs Video Podcasts

While there weren’t any breakthrough companies this year at SXSW, we did have a number of themes crop up during our Social Commerce Summit and then again during our Live from Stubbs podcast tapings during our open house on Friday, March 8. In particular we heard a lot about big data, mobile, analytics and the operationalization of digital across the organization from many of our speakers/guests. There was also a significant amount of interest in our partner, SnapTrends, technology that provides for location-based analytics, a topic that W2O is quite bullish on.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be embedding the Live from Stubbs videos in blog posts on our Common Sense blog. In the meantime, you can check out all of the videos on our Youtube channel here. You can also read my Live from Stubbs co-host, Kyle Flaherty’s summary of our interview with Youtube’s Jeben Berg, here. When Kyle is not podcasting he is the VP of marketing at local analytics firm, 21CT who was kind enough to sponsor our Live from Stubbs videos. I would also like to thank local video production and strategy company, UPG for all of their brilliant work with both the Live from Stubbs videos as well as recording/editing all of our Social Commerce videos.


Of course SXSW wouldn’t be what it is without a party. And party we did at our 4th annual Geek-a-cue on Saturday night at Franklin BBQ (ranked best BBQ in the U.S. by Bon Appetit Magazine). Fortunately the rain held off this year allowing us to eat fantastic BBQ, enjoy the brilliant music of local favorite, Monte Montgomery, share a few beverages, take funny photos in our photo booth and play a little Corn Hole out behind the tent.

This short video shot and produced by UPG does a wonderful job of summing up this fabulous event.


We also need to thank Natalee Norwood and Spoiled Doves for producing our Geek-a-cue. Without all her creativity, foresight and elbow grease, this event wouldn’t be what it was. Thank you to Aaron and Stacy Franklin and the Franklin staff for use of their venue and all the mouth watering BBQ they served up with smiles on their faces.

Digital Brunch

Capping off the week, we hosted a digital brunch at our East Austin offices. In spite of threats of rain, the springing ahead of the clocks and a lot of hung over SXSW attendees, we still enjoyed over 125 visitors to our new offices. The petting zoo, chair massages, drinks (alcoholic and caffeinated) and gourmet brunch courtesy of local restaurant/catering company, Dai Due, probably didn’t hurt.

Biggest thanks of all go to the dream team at W2O Group of Erin Disney, Stephanie Layton, Blaire Borochoff and Katrina Hallowell for their months of hard work putting these events together. Huge props also go to our CEO, Jim Weiss and President, Bob Pearson for making these events possible. Last but not least, a shout out to all of our W2O Group employees who volunteered/attended as well as our clients for being an integral part of our SXSW experience. Thank you!

Last but not least, we also had a little fun with our #sxswpickuplines this year. Details are here. Video that put the cherry on the cake is below.


We were really excited to be able to hear from Don Butler at today’s #SocialCommerce Summit.  Don is the Managing Director of Thomvest Ventures, but his 20 year career spans a variety of roles with emerging growth technology companies.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Apsalar, Avalanche, Axcient, Kabbage, Milyoni, Netbase, and YottaMark.  Don’s past investments have included Cotendo (acquired by Akamai), FlashSoft (acquired by SanDisk), GuardianEdge (acquired by Symantec), and Okena (acquired by Cisco).  Before joining Thomvest, Don led the Asian business development efforts for several start-up companies in the software and networking industries as part of his work with Asia Pacific Ventures.

As you can tell from that history, Don has a pretty unique perspective on the future of the financial services industry.  He pointed out that over 54% of american households are banking online today – and that percentage is still on a rapid rise. In the last couple of years, online lending has begun to take hold in a mainstream way – but it’s the union of the two where Don sees real power in the future markets.

Don shared some mini-case studies for portfolio companies LendingClub and Kabbage – who’ve started to make waves in this space.  Both case studies are pretty thought-provoking … LendingClub in reducing personal debt, and Kabbage in securing loans for small businesses. The early success of both point to increased disintermediation in the financial services industry – which should lead to better options for both investors and consumers.

Check out some photos from our #SocialCommerce Summit and Geek-a-que. Photography by Brian Birzir.

We had lots of fun with photos from Smilebooth at our Geek-a-que as well!

Creating Great Analog Souvenirs for a Digital Era
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM- Omni Downtown
The online and offline worlds are now melting together, thanks to smartphones and social media. But as our life shifts into the cloud, we’re starting to realize that 0s and 1s lack the tangibility and permanence of paper and film. Significant emotional moments are easy to misplace in the online ether, which helps explain why artists and brands are trying to create analog souvenirs of our increasingly digital lives.Want a coaster of your favourite Instagram photo? No problem. Looking for a miniature printer that connects to your smartphone and generates a tiny personalized newspaper? Done and done.Drawing on my experience as co-creator of and, two interactive art projects that generate unique paper keepsakes of digital experiences, I will explain the whys and hows of converting fleeting texts and tweets into permanent analog souvenirs through a careful mix of research, design thinking and creative inspiration. Additional information here 

Culture is King: An Integrated Life Approach
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM- Courtyard Marriott
Survey after survey shows that strong organizational culture and philanthropic focus hold an increasing amount of weight for prospective employees when choosing a job. Yet, too often, employees are asked to check the other important aspects of their lives at the door when they come to work each day. Business leaders who instead work to promote an integrated life philosophy — creating an environment where employees can fuse their work, family, personal and community lives — will end up with a more well-rounded, successful, and happy team. This session will cover how to effectively implement this approach within your business in order to create a culture of giving that benefits your business, your employees, and most importantly — the community. Additional information here

Hype vs Reality: Takeaways from SXSWi 2013
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM- Austin Convention Center
Digitas, a digitally led, integrated brand agency, is collaborating with SXSWi to present the real story of SXSWi 2013.By analyzing a variety of data collected before, during and at the end of this year’s Festival, Digitas’ Beth McCabe, social marketing/tech guru, and Itai Asseo, creative technologist behind Digitas Labs — a tech-inspired incubator within the agency — will reveal the hot topics going into SXSWi 2013 and compare them with what actually resonated with this year’s attendees. Did the hype match the reality? What created the most buzz, and why? What were the biggest surprises? Beth and Itai will use interactive visual aids to bring the story of SXSWi 2013 to life and reveal what it means for you and your business. Discover the headlines you need to know to distinguish the hype from the reality. Additional information here 

Follow the Patrient for Meaningful Change
12:30 PM- 1:30 PM Sheraton Austin
The year is 2030 and we, the patients of the future, speak to you as parents, children, friends, professionals, and experts in our own care. We have unprecedented access, knowledge, and resources. We will tell you what it took to get here. Our care, as it is facilitated in our bodies, homes, neighborhoods, and villages, looks little like it was imagined in 2012. We come to you to speak frankly about our experience achieving patient-led care, how we got here, and what we need, so that you can help us design for our children’s children.
This session, told from the voice of the future patient, comes substantiated by hundreds of hours of observations, interviews, and prototyping with care providers and patients at Kaiser Permanente and Mayo Clinic. From multi-organ transplants to well-baby visits, we will translate for participants how we get from an opaque system beyond its breaking point to one that is fluid, transparent, and centered on productive patient empowerment. Additional information here

Democratization of Content, Check. So What’s Next?
3:30 PM- 4:30 PM Austin Convention Center
When Intellectual Property (IP) and Copyright laws were created, content was static – the idea of a world filled with shares, posts, pins and tweets was inconceivable. Today, anyone can be a content creator, making the way we once felt about IP and Copyright laws seem almost archaic.
How has the democratization of content forced publishing platforms and content companies to evolve with respect to IP and Copyright? And if content is king, are publishing platforms responsible for protecting copyright and what are the rights of the consumer vs. the rights of the creator? Join iStockphoto and a host of industry thought-leaders as we explore the new landscape of content democracy and the new reality of intellectual property. Additional information here

SNiRL: Social Networking in Real Life
3:30 PM- 4:30 PM Sheraton Austin
My presentation is all about the feeling of being overwhelmed from managing profiles on social networking sites. This is a positive presentation about social networking, but the emphasis is about building relationships offline too.Using Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn (among others) to connect and meet new people is amazing. True relationships occur when we meet in person. SXSW is all about this! I will use SXSW as a specific example of how we should use the time wisely to connect in “real life”. Network online before events, but plan to meet in person at the events. Or carry on new relationships born at conferences like SXSW online after the events. SNiRL will take a look at true networking success stories. I will discuss great ways to use technology and tools to enhance our networking efforts. The power of personal networks can launch careers and friendships. SXSW Interactive attendees will appreciate this presentation. Additional information here

Events and Parties 

The Munchie Mobile Food Truck SXSWi
8:00 AM- 12:00 PM
Marriott Hotel, 300 East 4th Street
Free breakfast and late night snacks brought to you by Mashable and
Additional information here

Mood Media Day Party
2:00 PM- 6:00 PM Clive Bar
We’re back at SXSW with a new brand and a new look – DMX and Muzak are now Mood! We help brands connect with their customers in extraordinary ways – onsite, online and on the go! Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy live performances from Body Language, Blondfire, AVAN LAVA, and Tomorrow We Move To Hawaii. Party also features free beer, live screen printing, and much more. RSVP to Additional information here

The Interactive Awards Pre-Party and Ceremony Presented by Bloomfire
6:00 PM- 8:30 Pm Hilton Austin Downtown
The centerpiece of the Interactive Evening Events, the Interactive Awards festivities get underway with food, drinks and speculation on award winners. Come see who takes home a coveted Interactive Award in categories such as Digital Breakout Trend and Speaker of the Event. And join us as we celebrate danah boyd as the 2013 SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame inductee. Additional information here

The Interactive Closing Party Presented by Media Temple
9:00 PM- 2:00 AM Stubb’s
Media Temple is back to host the biggest, baddest Interactive Closing Party you have ever seen. Live music blowout! Additional information here

@NIGHT at #Feed powered by Twitter
9:00 PM- 2:00 AM AMOA-Arthouse
@NIGHT hosted by The Meta Agency Featuring a performance by Flying Lotus (Full Layer 3 AV Show), TOKiMONSTA, Teebs, B.Lewis. Complimenary Tequila cocktails Additional information here 

Additional Resources

Free events (no official badges needed) here

Additional parties can be found here
Free and delicious food offerings can be found here
Follow us @W2O Group & @WCGWorld #sxsw2013
Finish SXSWi strong with your best #sxswpickuplines and keep the fun going through the music week.

Thanks to all who came out to our SXSW events- they were a great success! Photos to follow soon.

Recommended Panels

Shaq Goes Social: The Big Interview
12:30 PM-1:30 PM- Long Center- Dell Hall
He has retired from pro basketball, but that doesn’t mean Shaq has slowed down. Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal gives his opinions on social media, startups, online comedy, as well as all things hoops in a revealing one-on-one interview with best-selling author Brian Solis. Be sure to stick around for the audience Q&A at the end of the session. #sxsw #SHAQ Additional information here

Creating Brand Advocates via Employee Engagement
1:15 PM- 1:30 PM
Hilton Austin Downtown
While some companies harness the power of their employees to create brand advocates and evangelists, most do not. Apple, for example, shows how to make employees into your biggest promoters and supporters. It hands out the latest iPhones to employees before sharing with general consumers, provides employees with unbeatable discounts and treats their workforce like they’re a part of a tight nit family. As a result, employees are positively vocal about the company. This process came naturally to Apple, but most brands don’t have it so easy. This session focuses on how companies can tap their internal network of employees to create brand advocates. We will review examples with global companies on how they leverage employee voices in social media. For example, a leading CPG company noted that it could save 250 million in coupon distribution if they get employees to share coupons on their own personal networks. We will provide best practices to mobilize and activate employees. Sponsored by Dynamic Signal. Additional information here

How to Measure Social Media
1:30 PM- 1:50 PM Austin Convention Center Ballroom G
Think social marketing is worth it? Prove it. If your CEO hasn’t demanded that yet, they will. Then what? Hand them some jive about “return on conversation” or “follower growth”? Think that’ll fly? You’ll be gone so fast you won’t know what hit you. You know damn well what they care about: Sales Volume. Costs. Revenue. Nichole Kelly, author of How to Measure Social Media: A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI, will show you how to answer questions like: “How much revenue did Facebook generate for us this month?”, “Do social media clients spend more or less than clients from other channels?”, and “How does the purchase frequency of social media clients compare to other clients?”Here’s the best part: It’s not hard. The tools are cheap (or free), and you’re probably sitting on most of the data. If you’re a marketer or agency pro, this is a game you have to play. Win it. Additional information here

Sensor Technologies: The Future of Health?
3:30 PM- 4:30 PM Sheraton Austin
Can you imagine a world in which all your physiologic parameters were measured, monitored, and managed in such a way that that you always maintained perfect health? That world may be just around the corner.Doctors and nurses have long used sensors (of one sort or another) to diagnose and manage illness. In a few short years, however, sensors have become increasingly important in health care as the devices have become more sophisticated and less costly. The advent of real-time data capture and analysis applications is making these new sensors increasingly useful in a range of diseases like diabetes, asthma, and heart failure.This panel will explore the impact of sensors and the almost unlimited potential to apply these technologies to improve the health of all mankind. If you’re a technologist and you want to get into the health care field this is where you want to be. Additional information here

B2B Social Marketing: Blazing New Trails
3:30 PM- 4:30 PM
From content marketing to community management, B2B organizations are expanding their focus beyond traditional forms of communications to increase direct engagement with audiences. B2B customers are active users of social media; they’re looking for information to make educated decisions – they want to talk to and hear from experts in social channels to guide these decisions. But for many companies, marketing rhetoric is still prioritized over valuable content. For some, the brand interaction ends with the sale, missing opportunities to interact with customers and move them from happy customers to brand advocates. In other words, some brands aren’t yet telling their story in a modern way. This session will show how three B2B brands are successfully tackling this opportunity, sharing takeaways for other brands, whether big or small, B2B or consumer. You’ll hear how they’ve changed processes and mindsets, creating competitive advantage and making a measurable impact on the bottom line.  Additional information here

Connecting and Empowering the Creative World
5:00 PM- 6:00 PM- Austin Convention Center Ballroom D
The future of creative careers will transform the creative industry as we know it. From the content we consume to the marketing that surrounds us, our world is made interesting by creative people and teams with ideas and the ability to execute. For too long, creative careers have been held captive by antiquated systems for getting found and operating as your own business. Alas, times have changed! New technology and online platforms will empower millions of creatives around the world to connect directly with brands, clients, and collaborators. Key forces like attribution, transparency, and data-driven tools will foster meritocracy for creative people across industries. With great opportunity comes great responsibility. Scott Belsky will share insights on the future of creative careers and steps we can take to empower creative people to make ideas happen. Additional information here

Events and Parties

Canon celebrates Content Creators
5:00 PM- 8:00 PM Viceland
Kickback with Canon for an evening in celebration of YOU – the amazing talent of SXSW’s creative community. Mingle over food, drink & beats with fellow directors, cinematographers, producers and digital content gurus. The evening will feature a one of a kind interactive DJ experience courtesy of BioBeats. You will also have the chance to get your hands on Canon’s latest technology, including the Cinema EOS line of digital cinema cameras. Please rsvp at Additional information here

11th Annual SXSW Nuclear Tacos Night
6:00 PM- 9:00 PM- East Tent, Brush Square Park
Join a loose confederation of geeks to enjoy tears of joy with Austin’s hottest underground tradition: nuclear tacos. Additional information here

Geeks from Gangum
6:30 PM- 10:30 PM Moonshine Grill
Geeks from Gangnam is an event with an International flavor. We invite anyone who wants to network and build connections with people from all across the world, while enjoying live musical performances by popular Korean bands GALAXY EXPRESS & GOONAM.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, journalist, investor, or just an avid SXSW enthusiast – come join us for free drinks and delicious appetizers – and a night to remember. Additional information here
More info here:

#FeedtheBeat SXSW 2013 with Passion Pit and Wildcat! Wildcat!
8:00 PM- 12:00 AM
Taco Bell, Feed The Beat and SXSW are teaming up to make an experimental fan-made rockumentary called #FeedTheBeat and starring Passion Pit and Wildcat! Wildcat!, directed by Sam Jones (Wilco’s I Am Trying To Break Your Heart). Check out all of the details and learn how you can be a part of the rockumentary at Additional information here

@Night #FEED Powered by Twitter
9:00 PM- 2:00 AM AMOA- Arthouse
Hosted by Twitter. Additional information here

The Munchie Mobile Food Truck SXSWi
8:00 AM- 12:00 PM; 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Marriott Hotel, 300 East 4th Street
Free breakfast and late night snacks brought to you by Mashable and
Additional information here

Additional Resources

Free events (no official badges needed) here

Additional parties can be found here
Free and delicious food offerings can be found here
Follow us @W2O Group & @WCGWorld #sxsw2013
We still want to hear your #sxswpickuplines so don’t forget to join in on the fun!


W2O Group Event

Digital Brunch
10:00 AM- 12:00 PM
Come join us in our new W2O Digital Space for some good food, a jazz trio, chair massages, and a “hoppy Hour” petting zoo!

Recommended Panels

Consumer Data: Can I get Satisfaction?
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM Four Seasons- Four Seasons Ballroom
Since the dawn of spam and server hacks, there has been trepidation on the part of the consumer in sharing their personal data with the companies they interact with, and with good reason. But, there is a way for consumers to leverage their data to his or her advantage. Many companies today are mining the data they capture about their customers, such as spending habits and purchase preferences – and chances are, whether they realize it or not, they are benefiting from it. Recent articles site that Fiat uses their customer data to find out how to target new customers and provide better service to the ones it already has. Wal-Mart uses purchasing habit data to deliver the right item to the right customer. American Express suggests products to its customers based on analysis of the customer’s monthly expenditures, and often provides deals on those items. This session will discuss how the consumer should re-evaluate the companies they interact with and how their data can benefit them. #tabbedout Additional information here

Contagious- Why Things Catch On
12:00 PM-12:20 PM Austin Convention Center-Ballroom G
Why do Cheerios generate more word of mouth than Disney World? Which emotional responses prompt a person to share a link to an article? Jonah Berger, a Wharton marketing professor and author of CONTAGIOUS: WHY THINGS CATCH ON, explains the 6 elements at the core of word of mouth sensations. Based on a decade of original research and studies from other experts, Jonah Berger will show you why The Tipping Point is only half the story. The message matters more than the messenger. Learn the things that any marketer can do to craft a compelling message about their product or idea that people will want to share. #sxsw #contagious Additional information here

The Secret Dangers of Online Influence Marketing
12:30 PM- 1:30 PM- Four Seasons San Jacinto Ballroom
Are marketers wasting time and money with today’s influence measurement tools? This all-star panel of social media thought leaders exposes the pitfalls of finding social media influencers, and reveals why many marketers get it wrong. They’ll show that influence measurement tools like Klout and Kred are misleading marketers into believing they are measuring influence, when they are only measuring popularity. Today’s platforms perform so poorly when measuring such critical factors as the ability to motivate action and effect behavioral change that basing decisions on these tools alone can be dangerous. Panelists will discuss why marketers should stop focusing on tools and start using social media for what it was meant to accomplish – building relationships and harnessing communities. By using innovative methods to identify peer influencers who demonstrate creativity, insight and passion, marketers can learn to start an avalanche of positive attitudes for their brand, product or service. #influencers Additional information found here

Next Gen Entertainment Entrepreneurs
2:00 PM-3:00 PM- Austin Convention Center Room 15
The entertainment business is evolving faster than ever, with new methods of funding, production, distribution, viewing and sharing content entering the market regularly. Learn how startups can disrupt the industry from the next generation of entertainment entrepreneurs. The managing partner of Plus Capital, Adam Lilling, will moderate as the founders of VHX, Slated, Tugg and The Black List share their stories as well as their insights on launching a successful startup in the entertainment world. #sxsw #sxstartupalley Additional information here

Check out other Startup Alley programming here:

Cant Buy me Like
3:30 PM- 4:30 PM- Sheraton Austin
In 2009, Bob Garfield published The Chaos Scenario and the world of media and marketing shit themselves. The book presented an apocalyptic vision of the steady collapse of mass media and mass marketing, which was scary enough. But then he went on to demonstrate the digital world to be woefully unable to achieve the advertising/publishing symbiosis – or the scale – to fill in the yawning gap. It’s all about supply and demand, ad avoidance and vanishing reach.
But now here comes Bob’s successor book, suggesting a way out of chaos. Co-written with digital-marketing pioneer Doug Levy, Can’t Buy Me Like is a manifesto, a primer and damn near a spiritual wake-up call for doing business in the dawning Relationship Era. Filled with proprietary data and case histories (plus Garfield’s trademark gimlet-eyed analysis of worst practices), Can’t Buy Me Like will literally launch a new discipline within marketing. #sxsw #cantbuyme Additional information here

Big Data: Is it Killing Creativity?
4:00 PM-Hilton Downtown Austin- Room 615AB
Storytelling. Creativity. Emotion. These elements have forever been the backbone of marketing.
But now, thanks to the digital revolution, the creative industry finds itself balancing two very different approaches. While new technology and mobile devices have brought exciting new ways for marketers to connect with their audiences, they’ve also brought something else: data. And it’s big data – full of all kinds of information about customers. Now marketers know more about their audiences – where they live, what they like, their social networks, where and how best to reach them – than ever before.
The rise of marketing analytics has resulted in information previously not available to an artistic industry rooted in creativity, not numbers. But how much customer data is too much? What if creatives overanalyze data and lose the art of compelling storytelling? Will dashboards push aside storyboards? Hear how data and creativity are both competing and coexisting in marketing today. #datasxsw Additional information here

How to Build a Social Network in Health
4:15 PM- 4:30 PM
There are three main qualities required to create a successful social network in health: trust, transparency, and meritocracy. The first element, trust, can be created by connecting people with trusted health information and the best care providers. The second element is making online health information transparent, which creates participant accountability for their contributions, and community accountability to maintain the quality of the information that’s provided. The third element of success is recognizing merit, which encourages increased participation, by allowing an equal opportunity to contribute to the network, both by adding information and by evaluating it through peer review. When these three qualities have aligned a framework for a successful social health network has been created. The community thrives because it is built by people who participate and engage for the right reasons, and who are continuously adding real sustainable value to everyone involved. #healthinfo Additional information here

Death of the Coach Potato: The Future of Social TV
5:00 PM-6:00 PM- Austin Convention Center Room 18ABCD
Steve Jobs was famously quoted as saying “You watch television to turn your brain off and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.” The rapidly evolving field of Social TV is turning the belief that television is a passive viewing activity on its head. This panel will explore how some of the hottest brands in television are leveraging social TV to transform the viewing experience, re-shape content development and generate new revenue streams.#socialtv Additional information here

Events and Parties 

Ekaterina Walter- Book Signing
3:00 PM- 3:20 PM- Austin Convention Center Ballroom D Foyer
Ekaterina Walter will appear at the South by Bookstore to sign copies of “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg” following her Panel session.
Ekaterina Walter is a marketer, thinker, speaker, and connector. As Social Media Strategist for Intel, Ekaterina works at the intersection of high tech and integrated marketing—driving global strategies and helping colleagues to leverage new media in support of business goals. She believes that building relationships with customers should be at the core of any business and that social media provides a perfect opportunity to do so. At Intel Ekaterina is responsible for global social networking strategy and company-wide social media enablement. She is a recognized thought-leader in her field, a vibrant speaker, and is a regular contributor to well-known industry publications such as Mashable, Fast Company, AdWeek and others. You can connect with her on Twitter @ekaterina or through her blog – Building Social Bridges. Additional information here

MOFILM- Beer & a Brief
4:00 PM- 6:00 PM Fado Irish Pub
Like a beer? Like interesting briefs?
Join the MOFILM Team for the “MOFILM Beer & Brief” event.
They’d love to chat with you over a beer about their upcoming briefs for global brands such as Chevrolet, AT&T, and more…Through the MOFILM video contest model they provide filmmakers with production grants to help fund your films, you can win up to $8,000 in cash, PLUS the first prize winner and guest get flown to their events all around the globe! So if you fancy partying with them in Cannes, Beijing, Rio, London…come and see MOFILM at Fado’s! Additional information here

H+K Strategies Official Post-Interactive Reception
5:00 PM-7:00 PM- Wanderlust
Following a day of programming about emerging data trends and how they’re reshaping journalism, democracy and more, join Hill+Knowlton Strategies for food, drink and the opportunity to talk with our panelists. Additional information here

SXSW Film Happy Hour hosted by Mozilla Firefox
5:00 PM- 7:00 PM Stephen F’s Bar 701 Congress Ave
The SXSW Film Happy Hour hosted by Firefox will feature complimentary beer, wine, and specialty Firefox cocktails, as well as a menu of delectable bites and Firefox cupcakes. There will also be lots of cool Firefox gear and an exclusive Firefox Happy Hour giveaway. Come by to have a cocktail, grab some gear, and take a photo or two with the Firefox! Additional information here

#VegasTech SXSW Lounge
6:00 PM- 9:00 PM
Come see why Slate Magazine called Vegas a promising “innovation cluster”. The #VegasTech lounge promises networking, free cocktails and friends. Additional information here

Warner Bros Television Group
6:00 PM- 12:00 AM Mexi-arte Museum
WB Tell-A-Vision: an immersive experience, changing daily, about the art of storytelling. How do you like to watch? Additional information here

@NIGHT at #FEED powered by Twitter
9:00 PM- 3:00 AM AMOA- Arthouse
@Night hosted by Twitter. Featuring Azari & III, Kidnap Kid, Jerome LOL. Complimentary Tequila Cocktails. Additional information here

The Munchie Mobile Food Truck SXSWi
8:00 AM- 12:00 PM; 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Marriott Hotel, 300 East 4th Street
Free breakfast and late night snacks brought to you by Mashable and
Additional information here 

Additional Resources

Additional parties can be found here
Free and delicious food offerings can be found here
Follow us @W2O Group & @WCGWorld #sxsw2013
Don’t forget about the #sxswpickuplines!! We want to hear them!


In case you missed them, here are some of the speakers from our 3rd Annual #SocialCommerce Summit:

Stephen Collins, Bazaarvoice

Devon Eyer, J&J

W2O Group Event

5:30 PM- 8:30 PM
4th Annual Geek-a-que– 900 East 11th St Austin, TX 78702
Please join us at Franklin’s BBQ on Saturday, March 10th from 5:30PM to 8:30PM for the 4th Annual Geek A Cue. RAIN OR SHINE. Franklin’s BBQ was declared the BEST BBQ Restaurant in America by Bon Appetit. #w2ogroup #sxsw2013

Recommended Panels

How Twitter has Changed How we Watch TV
9:30 AM- 10:30 AM- AT&T Convention Center
Social media has had a dramatic impact on how we watch television, with Twitter leading the way for a social TV revolution. Social television – the term used to describe the symbiotic relationship between social media and TV – is producing big changes in how TV programs are created, delivered and consumed. Shows like American Idol and Pretty Little Liars, and special televised events like the Golden Globes and X Games, have embraced social media as a way to interact more intimately with their audiences, bringing content from the TV screen to the second screen (and in some cases from the second screen to the TV screen).
We watch more live TV now than we did five years ago. Advertisers use branded hashtags to market to viewers. Fictional characters have their own Twitter accounts. Actors tweet from behind the scenes as they’re filming new episodes. This panel will explore these changes and more in an attempt to understand the impact social media has had on TV (and vice versa). #sxsw #tweetTV More information here

Innovating Philanthropy: Panera’s Social Experiment
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM
Panera Bread visionary Ron Shaich has spent his career trying to change the way America eats by focusing on choice and an affordable, high quality experience. Since its founding, Panera has grown to over 1,600 bakery-cafes around the country, including its new, innovative Panera Cares Community Cafes – non-profit cafes to address food insecurity.
Ron’s vision was to launch a “pay-what-you-can” cafe and see whether the community would support it. If the experiment succeeded, the Panera Bread Foundation would have a platform to leverage all of Panera’s expertise and resources to fight food insecurity at scale.
Ron will share his passion for expanding the Panera Cares Community Cafe concept to make a difference in the world and discuss how Panera is engaging offline communities, as well as social media and word-of-mouth, to fight food insecurity and ignite a social movement. As the concept continues to prove its value, it might be the best choice he’s ever made. #sxsw #Panera Additional information here.

How Tech Companies Should Pitch Hollywood
12:30 PM- 1:30 PM- AT&T Convention Center
What does a major Hollywood studio look for in a technology provider? As senior digital executives at Warner Bros. Entertainment, Hiram Norman and Bob Mohler get hundreds of queries per year from B2B technology providers. In this presentation, for the first time ever in a public setting, Hiram and Bob will lay out their methodology for evaluating new technologies, partners and proposals. They will also give critical success tips for digital startups looking to be in business with major media companies. #sxsw #PitchHwd Additional information here.

Make Me Care: Digital Storytelling to Affect Change
12:30 PM- 1:30 PM
Moving hearts and minds, changing attitudes and behavior, takes more than SEO. This session’s speakers and case studies explore how to affect change by evolving the art of digital storytelling.NPR’s Michele Norris created The Race Card Project asking people to share views on race in America in just SIX WORDS. Brevity and candor from people of all races made for powerful storytelling. More than 12,000 people shared their stories through digital channels, sparking national conversation that continues to touch lives and open eyes.When cause program Ford Warriors in Pink wanted to connect on an emotional level to fight breast cancer and grow its digital platform 365 days a year, it turned to filmmakers at Flow Nonfiction to tell stories of real people. Branded documentary work, from :30 spots to a 15-minute film, drove an integrated campaign empowering its community, turning fans into advocates. # sxsw #makemecare Additional information here.
Less is More: Why 5 Comments Beat 5,000 Likes
1:00 PM- Hilton Austin Downtown
Social is not about eyeballs. Or shouting at the crowd. Or increasing followers and fans. The real currency of social is conversation, storytelling and 1-to-1 style engagement. Brands and causes alike are beginning to realize that casual social actions (share this, like that) are falsely comforting metrics of success. Your most avid supporters WANT to tell your story. It’s your job to equip them and let them. Context is the answer. Data is the key. Change how every single person in your life advocates for you. Bring stories. Bring opinions. We’re going to go hard. #sxsw #socialdata Additional information here.

Mobile Saturday: Retail is Going Mobile
3:30- 4:30 PM- Wanderlust
From e-commerce to bricks & mortar retail is going mobile – How to drive revenue with the latest mobile commerce innovations:Consumers are starting to manage every aspect of their lives from their mobile devices. All of the information they need is only ever a swipe away. Retailers are moving from showrooming fears to actively engaging mobile consumers to win their business in and out of the store. This shift is creating new behaviors and trends as well as a whole new crop of M-Commerce best practices. Learn how companies are taking action to drive mobile commerce today, instead of waiting for the elusive mobile wallet to appear. Additional information here.

Does Social Marketing Even Work?
5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Let’s get out of the echo chamber of everyone telling each other how important social media is for a little bit and talk about the problems with social. If we’re honest, it’s hard to tell what actually works and what doesn’t. It’s hard to tell how far we’re moving the needle and what, if any, impact our social programs are having on the company’s bottom line.The old adage goes that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Digital marketing began to change that with the ability to measure everything, but in many ways it’s become even more true with the rise of social marketing.This session is not for the kool-aid toting Social Media Gurus who think they have all the answers. I’m not sure anyone has the “answer” to this. Instead, please come prepared to be open and honest about the state of social. Maybe we can get closer to the answer together. #sxsw # fmStrategy Additional information here.

Parties and Events

Truly Green in Texas
4:00 PM- 6:00 PM- Latitude 30 512 San Jacinto St
The GreenQloud team are a bunch of Truly Green™ and happy people that cherish awesome cloud solutions (and great parties!) Official badge required. Additional information here 

Knight Foundation & MIT Media Lab sponsored Demo Fair and Gathering
7:00 PM- 10:00 PM- The Parish 214- B E 6th St.
Knight Foundation and the MIT Media Lab are sponsoring a gathering that includes a demo fair and live music! Official badge required. Additional information here

Warner Bros. Television Group
6:00 PM- 12:00 AM- Mexic-Arte Museum 419 Congress Ave
WB Tell-A-Vision: an immersive experience, changing daily, about the art of storytelling. How do you like to watch? Additional information here

The Discovery Channel presents The Captains Concert
8:00 PM- 12:00 AM at Stubbs BBQ 801 Red River
Discovery rocks the opening weekend of SXSW 2013 with a night of music, mingling and interactive madness!
Enjoy indie rock beats at our FREE concert featuring: Black Pistol Fire, Quiet Company & The Tontons
Additional information is here

#FEED @NIGHT powered by Twitter
9:00 PM- 2:00 AM
AMOA- Arthouse 700 Congress Ave
Music by Vito & Druzzi, Perseus, Moon Boots, Journeyman. Complimentary cocktails. Additional information here

The Munchie Mobile Food Truck SXSWi
8:00 AM- 12:00 PM; 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Marriott Hotel, 300 East 4th Street
Free breakfast and late night snacks brought to you by Mashable and
Additional information here

Additional Resources

Additional parties can be found here
Free and delicious food offerings can be found here
Follow us @W2O Group & @WCGWorld #sxsw2013
Have you given your best #sxswpickuplines!? We want to hear them!


It’s pretty hard to have a conversation about Social Commerce that doesn’t, at some point, get around to BazaarVoice. So we were especially pleased that BazaarVoice CEO Stephen Collins was able to join us for the Social Commerce Summit to share some of his thoughts on the future of online business.

Stephen is a relatively new CEO (since November of 2012), but he came into the role from the CFO slot (Stephen jokingly observed, “I know how to make up numbers”).  His background has featured deep experience in developing and rapidly-growing markets.  He entered the technology industry in 1997 as a member of the leadership team during the start-up and explosive growth phase at DoubleClick, Inc. (acquired by Google for $3.1 billion in 2007). During his career in technology, Stephen has held the titles of CFO, CIO, COO, and CEO – which speaks well of his ability to lead all aspects of his company’s business.

Some key takeaways from Stephen’s talk:

  • For too long, retailers have focused on the actual transaction of the purchase, and haven’t made enough of an effort to understand what leads up to – and influences – that purchase. as a result;
  • Reviews are ASSETS – they have intrinsic value just like buildings and equipment.
  • The driving equation for BazaarVoice looks like this: Content (Reviews/Data) X Audience (Network) X Utility (technology/platform)

Even though BazaarVoice itself is all about the Utility component of that equation, Stephen feels that it’s actually the least valuable part of the equation for a retailer. “What we’re providing is essentially an huge online mall, in which we’re tracking over 400 million shoppers.  We’re helping our customers to attune to the behavior of people engaging with a brand before they buy anything.”  That allows BazaarVoice to have an unparalleled view of the “path to purchase” for all kinds of customers – the kind of insights that allow their retailers to capture the attention of the right people, at the right stage in their purchase decision … and they can do it as it’s happening.  Social Commerce indeed!

Adrian D. Parker leads Social, Mobile and Emerging Media for Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division, a global leader in financial and business software. He directs the strategic vision for leveraging peer influence and tech innovation to improve customer’s financial lives. Previously, Adrian served as Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at RadioShack Corporation where he led the company-wide customer engagement experience. He managed a talented team that was recognized across the industry for innovations in mobile marketing, social strategies & digital advertising. Parker’s pioneering work with Twitter, foursquare, Facebook, Apple and other tech platforms has been featured in multiple case studies and books.

During Adrian’s talk, he did the impossible by connecting the process of meeting his now wife, courting her and ultimately, moving toward child rearing to the traditional sales funnel. Let’s just say he killed it. Click here to view his deck.

Andy Sernovitz teaches word of mouth marketing and social media. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking. He leads, the community for social media leaders at the world’s greatest brands, and, where marketers and entrepreneurs learn to be great at word of mouth marketing.

Andy taught word of mouth marketing at Northwestern University and internet entrepreneurship at the Wharton School of Business, ran a business incubator, and started half a dozen companies. He created the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the Association for Interactive Marketing. His fantastic blog is called “Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That!” (

In this video, you’ll hear Andy talk about Love, word of mouth marketing and the art of pouring a drink of bourbon (kind of).


This post is dedicated to all the foodies at there who are on their way to Austin for the first or the BEST time ever. If you are looking for the typical BBQ/TexMex/walkable-from-the-conference-center recommendations – there are a ton of other sources out there for that. This is for those, who like me, want to know the secrets of a foreign city and who even if there on business, will make the trek across or even out of town to have extraordinary food. This is a list of personal favorites (in the moment) of mine and other foodie locals in Austin. By no means is it comprehensive, absolute or inarguable.

But it’s my gift to those of you who out there – and you know who you are – who appreciate a local’s crib sheet for where to eat without having to research endless reviews on Yelp or Trip Advisor. It’s one girl’s opinion — but it’s informed by 20+ years of living in Austin, many a dollar spent in ATX dining establishments over the years and a downright unhealthy obsession with Bourdain, Ripert, Colicchio, Pepin, et. al.

In no order. You’re welcome. And have an awesome conference! Hope to hear what you ate…. @kathykeanini

1) Kome – Best place to get your Grilled Squid and Monkfish Liver On. Seriously great Japanese food – Sushi is the bonus, the real star is authentic home-style Japanese cuisine. PS – they have Ramen at lunch *swoon*

2) Parkside – Best place for offal when you’re the only one who loves it. This is my favorite place downtown (so all you convenience factor foodies, rejoice). It’s funky, it’s Austin, it’s phenomenal food including everything from pork jowels and bone marrow to fried egg sandwiches.

3) Vivo – Best Tex Mex with style….amazing salsa, enchiladas, and puffy tacos. They even give the ladies roses upon departure and have scandalous artwork tucked away in corners throughout the restaurant.

4) Justines – Amazing farm to table French food on a sprawling lot on the east side. My friend Carole swears by the cucumber and lump crab salad. Fabulous vibe, get their early.

5)  Olive & June – Best Italian *influenced* spot with the second best patio in town. I highly recommend that you put yourself in the waiter/waitress’ hands and let them order for you or at least point you in the right direction – and you HAVE to get the fried artichoke hearts. They also have an amazing cocktail list – – and even carry Frenet from all you San Franciscans. 😉

6) Uchiko – Nationally known sushi restaurant, sister to the original Uchi. Uber creative with a menu designed by Top Chef winner Paul Qui who has moved on to other projects including East Side Kings and his own restaurant to open this year. (Who’s excited? This girl!)

7)  Chilantro – My homage to the ATX food trailer obsession. Korean Barbecue TACOs. How’s that for fusion. They are amazing – get the chicken on corn tortilla with kimchee and sirracha. Ridiculously good. PS – looks like they will be on Rainey St. Friday and Sat (i.e. near the convention center)

8) Second Bar + Kitchen – Chef David Bull brought some muscle back to the Austin culinary scene in 2011 when he returned to Austin and Second is his hip, approachable take on new American cuisine. Go for the Buffalo fried pickles and anything containing short ribs.

9) Perla’s – BEST patio in Austin regardless of weather. I love the oyster shooters, redfish on the half shell, scallops, potato cakes, brussels sprouts, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc…..

10) Lambert’s – Well, I guess I wouldn’t be a native Texan without at least one in this category. Lambert’s is the more civilized approach to barbecue – i.e. they are open at night, have a great vibe and don’t sacrifice on flavah. Located in the heart of downtown in a charming historic building, I’ve never had a bad meal there.


How #SXSW Tweeters Connected Last Month

Next week, the South by Southwest — known now mostly by the moniker “SXSW” — kicks off. The pedants might correct me on that one: SXSW is actually three separate, though overlapping, events: the interactive conference portion, a music festival and a film festival. But even that’s not quite right:  SXSW can be further subdivided. SXSW Interactive, for example, has 17 different “themes,” from health to government, spread across more than 70 different locations spread across nearly four square miles.

But that doesn’t get at all the divisions. SXSW is only thinly defined by the actual conference and festivals themselves. Only 40,000 or so badges are given out, yet the flood of people who make it to Austin is measured in the hundreds of thousands. There is no ticket required to sip Shiners and skip from private event to private event. (If fact, we’d love it if you dropped by ours.)

I wanted to take a closer look at the different subcommunities that will be gathering in Austin, grabbing 20,000 or so tweets with the #SXSW hashtag last month and running it through an analysis that looked at 12,000 connections between #SXSW tweeters. The analysis spit back yet another number: 562. That was the number of separate communities that seem to exist around the single hashtag. While one was enormous (focused on the official SXSW handle and some high-profile individuals), the rest of the groups were smaller than 50 people. Most were smaller than 10. (The spiderish image that accompanies this post shows what that network looks like. Click to see it in detail. It works best at 6,400 percent zoom.)

Those who have hung out at SXSW won’t be surprised: you rarely see groups of more than 10 clumped around the bars on Sixth Street, and those clumps tend to move together, from sessions to beers to dinner to beers. Sometimes they’ll meet other, similar clumps. But that’s the extent of it. If SXSW has a weakness, it’s that the variety of opportunities is now so great that it’s easy to break down into ever-smaller groups, diminishing the magic that made SXSW special in the first place: the sense of serendipitous encounters with a genius in some distant — but not entirely unrelated — discipline.

There’s plenty of advice out there for first-time SXSW-goers, and it’s all good. But I’d like to offer some advice to the grizzled veterans of Austin: use your experience and position of authority to break up some of those clumps. If you’re the type to go to presentations, take half a day, find the bus and go to a theme that has zero to do with your day job. Find a presenter in that other building and buy her a beer. Go to one party alone.  Drag one of those new friends to your shindig. Buy a tequila shot for a stranger.

The growth of SXSW has been wonderful: it’s pulling a delightful and increasingly diverse crowd, which should (in theory) amp up the opportunities for serendipity. But, at the same time, the structure of the meeting makes random encounters more difficult. I’m not under the illusion that a couple of party crashers or a half-bottle of tequila can instantly change the culture, but it’s a start. After all, a little tequila never hurt anyone.

Two weeks ago — in advance of an SXSW interactive panel on the topic — I called for more patient visibility at medical conferences. In this age of the empowered patient, ignoring the most critical piece of the health care system is dangerous.

But over the course of my time at SXSW, I had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with the great participants on the “Friending Pharma” panel — Kerri Sparling, Alicia Staley, and Allison Blass — as well as breast cancer advocate Jody Schoger, who drove up to meet us. And over the course of our conversations, it became clear that the issue of giving a voice to patients wasn’t as simple as handing the mic over to a well-known “e-patient” for an hour.

That’s a tact that has been taken, if not by large medical meetings, then by numerous conferences on e-health. Yet reviewing the agendas for some of those meetings, even those nominally oriented around patients, the patient perspective is relegated to window dressing. And I worried that SXSW was the same way. Yes, our  “Friending Pharma” panel had patients, but those voices were swamped by the dozens and dozens of other panels swamped with consultants and entrepreneurs and corporate execs.

So I am coming to believe the challenge is broader than just getting some patients to play a token role. What’s needed is a critical mass of patient voices coming together to tell the rest of the system — the doctors and the payers and the pharmaceutical industry and the pharmacists and the nurses — what it is that patients really need (rather than the other way around).

That’s going to require a different kind of conference/meeting/symposium/confab, one that’s run by patients, for patients, and where the rest of us are present only to the extent to which it helps the community get resources or information or answers. That would be a revolution, but it’s one that’s sorely needed.

[UPDATE: In the comments, the always-informative Susannah Fox pointed me to Lucien Engelen’s brilliant “Patients Included” effort, which is a fantastic effort to get us closer to real patient involvement. Again, I think this is a matter of not just ticking a box, but making sure that patients are fully integrated into a program. I’ll certainly be looking for the “Patients Included” badge on future conferences, and I hope you will, too.]

What is SXSW?

If you haven’t ever been to South by Southwest interactive (SXSWi), it’s somewhat of a surreal experience. For anyone in the digital/social media space, it has become “the” conference to attend due to the sheer number of startups, brands, thought leaders and level of networking that goes on during the course of the event. This year, nearly 25,000 paid attendees descended on Austin, TX — many more attend without a badge — to network, attend sessions, drink and eat good BBQ (and not necessarily in that order).

Given that this was my fifth SXSWi and it’s been interesting to see the changes that have taken place with the event since 2008. The biggest shift in the event over the years has been the involvement of big brands and a transition of mostly blogger and social media types to folks that do PR and marketing as their full time jobs. It’s also meant more corporate sponsorships, more hype and more traditional media coverage. None of these things are good or bad, they just change the vibe of the event significantly. And while some people who have been attending SXSWi for a while feel like the conference has lost its mojo, I see it as part of the maturation process of social and digital media in the corporate world.

SXSW Dashboard

This year, our agency, WCG, pulled together a dashboard* to track some of the conversations and activity happening at SXSWi (pictured above). One of the things we wanted to measure was the overall share of conversation of some of the SXSWi sponsors based on Twitter conversations… and more importantly, how some of those sponsors stood up to popular Austin phrases like breakfast tacos, cowboy hats and boots. Our search query looked for the presence of a #SXSW hashtag with one of the keywords on Twitter. Not surprisingly, we saw breakfast tacos overtake the likes of Apple and Samsung a day into the event. We also tracked things like:

  • Twitter velocity – how many tweets mentioning #sxsw #sxswi or #precommerce, the tag for our own pre-SXSW client event
  • Check-in activity around downtown Austin
  • Top words mentioned in conjunction with #sxsw (in a word cloud)
  • Top mentions of @wcgworld (one of our Agency’s Twitter handles)
  • Most active Twitterers mentioning #sxsw

While part of building the dashboard was for fun, we also wanted to get a better sense of what the macro activity around SXSW would look like this year. The two big take aways for us were 1) spending large sums of money at SXSW doesn’t necessarily get your brand talked about (unless the name of your company happens to include the words “breakfast tacos”) and the volume of conversation on Twitter grew over the conference demonstrating that Verizon, AT&T and Sprint did their part this year to keep the data connectivity up and running this year (years past, not so much). Understanding how your brand can participate meaningfully in these conversations is a huge opportunity that many companies ignore.

Other Key Take Aways from SXSW

  • Location-based services are here to stay (read: foursquare) but they are starting to evolve into a new flavor that includes something called proximity services. The big players in this space are companies like Highlight, Sonar and In a nutshell, these services connect you to those people nearby that are either in your social graph or should be by looking at your similarities. While these services do provide a value to some, their ultimate utility to the mainstream user is still questionable.
  • Customer engagement is top of mind for many brands that have moved from the ad hoc to strategic use of social media. This means putting more thought and energy into mainstream channels like Twitter and Facebook is critical. It also means paying attention to emerging channels like Google + and Pinterest to evaluate the utility for customers and enthusiasts.
  • Big data is big and getting bigger. For anyone that doesn’t know what “big data” is, it’s essentially the ability to collect, store, process and analyze Terabytes or even Pedabytes of data (think customer conversations, search, location-based activity, census, etc.) Historically, this has been difficult due to lack of affordable storage and processing power. This is quickly changing and spells a whole new way for companies to look at trends and insights.

What did you see at SXSW this year? My colleague, Chuck Hemann, shared his take aways here. If you have a post or observations you’d like to share, please include in the comments below.


*Normally when we build these types of dashboards, we use a broader set of channel data (blogs, forums, Facebook, news) but in this case, we knew a lot of the real-time activity flows across Twitter (we also wanted to keep development cost/time down to a minimum).


Another SXSW is in the books and most of the interactive world is suffering after five days (or more) of panels, networking events and parties. Contrary to what some of the experts argue before, during and after the show, SXSW still has plenty of value for brands and individuals alike. Has it become too big? Maybe. Can it be difficult to navigate for those attendees who are visiting for the first time? Yes. Is it an accurate reflection of what Austin is as a city? Definitely not. There are certainly some things that could be changed about SXSW, but to say it has no value is completely inaccurate. Here are five things I am taking away from this year’s show:

  1. Geo-targeting consumers is becoming very important – I am not a location-based marketing expert by any means, especially when compared to my colleague, Aaron Strout, but it was clear how important this medium has become. There was plenty of conversation at this year’s show about Highlight, but I’m talking entirely about tools. Marketers want to know how they reach people in specific locations in real-time. That’s where we’re going, and that was a significant source of conversation this year.
  2. The networking value cannot be beat – Even the most vocal critics of SXSW don’t (in most cases) doubt the networking value of the show. Most of the brightest minds in interactive are all in one location for almost a week. If you miss an opportunity to engage with someone that you’ve only met online it’s really your own fault.
  3. How big is too big – In talking to some people over the course of the last week, there seems to be a sense that the show has gotten too big. I’m not really sure how we quantify that because the organizers of SXSW are obviously in it to not only offer quality content, but make money at the same time. To be fair, there are probably more sessions than are needed, but turning away attendees? I’m not sure how that could be done. The growth of the space means we’re likely to continue seeing crowds like we saw this week. It just places a greater emphasis on planning ahead.
  4. We didn’t see the next big app/network – I could be calling this one prematurely, and surely someone will dig it up if I’m wrong, but I wasn’t exposed to an app that I thought was a game changer. Could Highlight be that app? Maybe. There appear to be several flaws (including how it identifies like-minded individuals) in the model that could be corrected, but are currently inhibiting its more widespread use.
  5. Brands can derive value from SXSW – In addition to the networking, a number of brands devote significant resources to establishing a presence at the show. Two of the biggest brands this year were Chevrolet and Samsung. Chevrolet had its Volt Lounge and Catch a Chevy program, while Samsung sponsored the blogger lounge, unveiled their Interactive Hub Media Wall and talked about its U.S. Olympic Genome Project.  Additionally, both brands were on the premises conducting interviews and capturing the event as it happened in real-time. I had a chance to catch up with Stephanie Wonderlin, who was Chevy’s host for the interactive festival to get her take on the show and, more directly, what she was doing with the company’s team. Take a look.

There’s value in almost everything if you know where to look. If you’ve never been, consider coming next year. But, before you do, make sure you lay out a proper game plan. Chances are good it’s only going to get bigger.

Friending PharmaA week from Sunday, a panel of some of the leading thinkers on the topic of patient-industry relationships in health care will sit down in Austin, Texas for the “Friending Pharma” panel at the SXSW Interactive conference. It’s a vital topic: communication between health care companies and active, online patients is growing, but those relationships aren’t always straightforward: there may be perceived power imbalances, privacy concerns and legitimate questions about motivations on both sides.

The goal of the session is to reach common ground on how patients and companies can build mutually beneficial relationships. But it’s not a dialogue that should be happening only at SXSW, or only among the panelists.

So this page will serve as a repository for best practices, both leading up to the SXSW panel and beyond. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section, and we’ll update the page regularly to reflect some of the online- and in-person discussions that will be taking place, along with the names and URLs of those who contribute. What follows is just a starting point. We look forward to your feedback.

Industry Rights and Responsibilities When Dealing with Patients

  • Transparency: Companies — and their representatives — should disclose on whose behalf they work, and what their goals are.
  • Education: A company should not approach a patient without making a good-faith effort read to understand their positions
  • Engagement: A company should refrain from asking for action from a patient without first building a relationship with the individual
  • Commitment: Companies that wish to interact with individual members of an online community should first make an effort to participate, in a non-commercial way, in that forum.

Patient Rights and Responsibilities When Dealing with Industry

  • Transparency: Patients should disclose industry relationships.
  • Privacy: Patients have the right to choose how and when their information is shared or used.
  • Honesty: When companies cross the line, patients should be able to say so, directly.

Please provide your perspective below. We look forward to seeing you in Austin!

On the heels of SXSWi, I had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with social media evangelist, Chris Brogan, discussing social media today, best practices, and his thoughts on some of the people doing it right.

Chris Brogan, is president of New Marketing Labs, organizer of Inbound Marketing Summit conferences, speaker at several conferences per year, and co-author of the New York Times Bestseller Trust Agents. Follow Chris on Twitter – @chrisbrogan

Thanks to Chris for this opportunity, and I look forward to our next encounter.

How did you get started in social media?
I was using this kind of technology way back before it was called social media. In the 80’s, I was on bulletin board services and then AOL and Prodigy and the like. When blogs were called journals, I was there (in 1998). It’s always been my medium. I didn’t start realizing the business potential until 2005, and I didn’t start making consistent revenue from execution until 2008.

What social media tools have you moved away from over last 3-6 months?
I’m not interested in Foursquare. It’s not beneficial for me to share where I am with the world. For my clients? Maybe. Me? No.

Who is a company that is doing social media right in your opinion? Can you give a recent example?
I am pleased with all that Mark Horvath is accomplishing with He’s working really hard to funnel help to homeless people in the US, and he’s taking a very tactics-heavy approach. He does a lot of hands-on work, and still manages to use media tools like Twitter and blogs to build the right kinds of relationships.

What gets you jazzed to go the extra step with a project?
For me, it’s always about teaching people to fish. I like learning something new, breaking into it so I understand what it means, and then sharing with others so that they can replicate the success. Any days that I’m doing that are good days.

Without giving away the farm, what is the next big thing you’re looking towards?
I’m looking towards helping people make a few extra dollars in this economic downturn. I’m looking for ways to help others augment their businesses. For my larger clients, I’m looking for even more ways to develop channel and build business value.

How do you find the time to respond to as many people as you do on your social networks?
I derive value (both personal relationship value as well as financial) from my social networks. It’s like asking me why I hang out in my store and talk to friends and occasional customers.

What are you reading these days?
I read about two books a week (I don’t always finish them). Right now I’m reading Rework by Jason Fried and David H Hansson, and I’m reading a fiction book called Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem.

Tell me something funny about your trip to Bogota with DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)
In Bogota, DJ is considered this very passionate leader. He’s a strong source of inspiration and support to his team and to those who know him. But he’s also known for being extremely gregarious and outgoing. We ate at this huge restaurant (like there might have been over 1000 people in it), and I got to watch him dance a lot with his colleagues and with strangers. He’s got a great sense of humor, and every minute was a treasure.

Courtesy plug time – a brand, a person and more importantly, a charity you like?
If not, I’d also say that is doing great things with social giving. I’m very excited by all they’re accomplishing.

To borrow from James Lipton (Inside the Actor’s Studio)… what sound do you hate?
I don’t much like repetitive noises, like beeps of a phone’s ringtone, or alarms, etc. Anything that repeats also annoys.

Who do you suggest I spend the next 5 minutes with? Please leave comments below.

This Thursday marks the inaugural Social Health 2010 event, the day before the infamous South-By-Southwest Interactive conference.

Organizers of the event, Shwen Gwee and Dana Lewis, have done a great job bringing together the best of the best to discuss social media in the healthcare industry. The keynote address will be presented by Doug Ulman, CEO of Livestrong. Other confirmed speakers of SXSH include Johnson & Johnson’s Marc Monseau, MD Anderson’s Jenn Texada, Better Health’s Val Jones, Ignite’s Fabio Gratton, David Hale and none other than WCG’s own Bob Pearson and Paul Dyer.

According to their site, SXSH will be a day-long international social health un-conference encompassing all aspects of healthcare. The event will have structured, previously announced presentations in the style of a TED conference, as well as an “un-conference” portion — similar to PodCamp or HealthCamp — where topics are decided by the participants. If you’d like to attend, registration is required and can be found here. A TPS application developed by Humana’s Greg Matthews and team is a great tool to track SXSH buzz prior to the conference and can be found here. There is sure to be plenty of conversation to follow on Twitter via the hashtag, #SXSH along with the conference Twitter handle, @SXSH.

Social Health 2010 will be a great introduction to conference week of South-By-Southwest. Since its addition to the SXSW Music Festival in 1994, the Interactive piece is now bringing approximately 12,000 techiest of the tech nerds into Austin, a town welcoming these entrepreneurs and companies with open arms.

Some must attend panels and events at SXSW Interactive include:
Opening Remarks: Privacy & Publicity with Dana Boyd
The Tweet House
Windows Phone TechSet Party
• Microsoft BizSpark and Volusion present TECH cocktail SXSW: Johnny Cash Blackout Sunday
PBS and Friends with ReadWriteWeb
Mashable: Mashbash 2010
Evan Williams Keynote
Rackspace Revolution
SXSW Interactive Closing Party / Hosted By Media Temple

While you are in Austin for the conference festivities, be sure and get the full Austin flavor by visiting the local sites. If the weather permits, be sure and spend an afternoon at Zilker Park or take a walk around Town Lake. Check out the The University of Texas and you’ll see why it continues to be a tourist attraction. Start by taking a stroll down Guadalupe and check out what Austinites refer to as “the drag” and stop by the UT Co-op to get some burnt orange apparel and Texas-themed souvenirs. When you get hungry, BBQ is the way to go – The Saltlick if you have time for a drive through the Texas hill country, or Iron Works and Stubb’s are both located downtown close to the convention center. Antone’s, the first club on 6th street, helped launch the careers of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bob Schneider. During SXSWi, they will have performances by Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Pinetop Perkins. And last but not least, a visit to Allen’s Boots on South Congress is a must!