SXSWi: Monday teh 16th

Alltop founder Guy Kawasaki looks over Accelerator winner Weardrobe/
Alltop founder Guy Kawasaki looks over Accelerator winner Weardrobe.

Spent all day in Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator where the cream of the internet start-ups compete via 2-min elevator pitches to be crowned winner in their category. Kind of a Crufts for online business.

Best in show were:

Innovative Web technologies – Ribbit

Social Networking Applications – Weardrobe

Online video realted technologies – Tubemogul

Online music-related technologies – Popcuts

Interviewed Weardrobe founder SuzanneZ – whose fashion social network community was predicted to be the NBT (next big thing) by Guy Kawasaki. She’s 24, beautiful and got out of banking just ahead of the financial meltdown to put her and partner’s Facebook for fashionistas out there. One to watch.

The male panel, which included Robert Scoble didn’t get it initially, but when they did, the sense of excitement about the project was obvious, as they joked: ‘How do we invest?’

Check out what the fuss is about at Weardrobe.

SXSWi: Saturday the 14th

11:30 AM Blog on Company Time and Get Promoted. Picked up a few tips here but generally the title promised a little more than it delivered. Most interesting was the issue of NOT linking:

Apparently a municipality in California is getting sued for linking to one dry cleaner and not three others in the area. Legal issues surrounding potential favouring of some businesses over others. Solution suggested was to create a little link on site, asking: ‘Did we forget your business, should we be linking to you?’ and link to another page to give them the opportunity to post up their business that way.

Anti-social networking at SXSWi.
Anti-social networking at SXSWi.

03:30 PM The Future Of Social Networks
This was the big session for me, essentially a talk by Charlene Li, co-author of Groundswell. It’s going to take some sinking-in time but it is based on the assumption of social networks becoming like air (not a new idea but…) but interested in the reasons for business resistance to them.

Social networks ‘disrupt the traditional info flow’ to customers and so businesses will have to integrate them to keep focus on the customer. The biggest reason (possibly) that engagement is being resisted by organisations is that the change in structure represents a huge threat to middle management. What will be their role if their CEO decides to engage in that world? Will they have a role at all? I’m tempted to say, look at what’s happening in journalism – the traditional models were resistant to Web2.0 and are now suffering the price of that. Engage and innovate now or potentially risk your job.