SXSWi 2011 Takeaways
The highlight of SXSW 2011 for me was definitely SCVNGR CEO Seth Priebatsch’s keynote address. Priebatsch explained how the developing ‘game layerâ€ in the virtual world can be applied to solve problems in the physical world by taking advantage of principles of game play, including rules, rewards, and levels. He even concluded the talk with a short game involving the audience to illustrate how game play can motivate people to work together to accomplish communal goals, regardless of locale of the players.
Not only did the talk itself cover a lot of real world problems (such as the inherent problems with school model) and present some interesting solutions, but Priebatcsch’s energy and enthusiasm was unmatched and inspiring. Listen to the audio of Seth Priebatsch’s Keynote Address
The high-profile presence of Gowalla and their SXSW-focused game of checking-in and collecting stamps throughout the conference was a lot of fun, too!
Also, I attended a panel session called Time Traveling: Interfaces for Geotemporal Visualization. The panel discussed how much data we are creating and storing in online systems, such as Google Maps, now that so many more people have access.
It’s easy to show either time or space/geography in visualizations, but combining them together makes visualizing the data a lot trickier. It’s a new challenge and new opportunity to create and use tools to learn about history, current events, and trends and also presents new ways for storytelling on the web.
We went to SXSWi with a strict goal to promote Schipul as a leader in the Drupal community, and while we promoted our Drupal Monster video, we had a wonderful time engaging the SXSW crowd with a content management system some were new to.
As part of our strategy, we printed out Moocards with a simple link on them, and we handed them out guerrilla-style.
We got more of a response from DrupalCon the week before SXSWi. But that’s to be expected since the video is Drupal-related. That being said, our promotion at SXSWi kept the snowball rolling. Watch the Drupal Monster video.
The panel that made a lasting impression on me was by Aaron With from Groupon called ‘Strange Business: Corporate Creativity that Doesn’t Suck.â€ It was about a lot of things they do that most people see as wasting endless amounts of time and money for no reason. They do fun, interesting things that have no plan at first then actually end up having value at some point (try unsubscribing and you’ll see). My favorite quote was Aaron describing one of their activities: “We made it for no good reason then it ended up having a business benefit.”
At Schipul, we don’t go to the extremes Groupon does, but it’s good to see the idea reinforced by a large company. Our company realizes the potential of ‘wasting timeâ€ even when it may mean lack of productivity at that specific period of time. The Drupal Monster video or Plasma Car races are perfect examples. Listen to the audio version of this panel
Random Photo Time!
While in Austin, we took every opportunity to live it up: nerd-style. That means Lyndia and I cuddled the xtranormals (you may remember them from @urbanhoustonian’s video); I met Dule Hill from psych (USA) and The West Wing (NBC) ; and between panels, the Schipulites enjoyed the beautiful weather on patios with free wireless internet access.
We had a few SXSWi first-timers in our group (including me). Since the conference we’ve had opportunities to apply much of what we’ve learned in small doses. Between now and the next SXSWi, it’ll be interesting to see how we, and how others, expand on information from panels.
If you missed it, I’ve updated my takeaways with audio links to the panels. Check them out here. And please feel free to share your takeaways and links with us. We’d love to hear from you!