SXSWi: Friday the 13th

Austin Convention Center terrace - me @katchooo and Pete @peteashton, part of a contingent from the West Midlands.
Austin Convention Center terrace - me @katchooo and Pete @peteashton, part of a contingent from the West Midlands.

For the next few days this is going to function as my thought download receptable for all things mySXSWi – see post below – with quick summaries of 'what did I learn, what did I gain'.

Panel: My boss doesn't get it: championing social media to the man
Details: who & what
Essentially a panel on justification, which I hate doing for sub-editing (hey, spell and fact checking is a basic) but which forms part of the pitch in social media.

The 'man': anyone from the budgetarian (if that's not a word, it should be) to the 'enemies' of social media such as the legal department and more nebulous ones such as 'control'.

The issue: the ROI of social media and what's in it for the 'man'.

Some solutions:

• involve your enemy, get old curmudgeons on their grandkid's Facebook sites
• dispel the myths (there is >some< control when you engage in social media)
• understand the culture and attitudes of your client and meet them where they're at to help them implement culture change
• failed pitches – sit on it for six months; they may well come back to you presenting it as their innovative new strategy
• culture change starts small: set up small silent swat teams to create small successes to role-model on and also momentum for change but be sure to tie in to business value
• don't fear failure but see engagement as an ongoing lesson
• play to the psychology of who you are pitching to (what do they want, a promotion? Secretly lobby the individual who can present your ideas as theirs)
• set expectations from the start and be realistic
• define metrics upfront and what you are measuring success by
• If the corporate culture isn't changing in the time frame you need, move on to somewhere where you can make a difference.

Panel 2: The ecosystem of news
Details: who & what
A bullish talk on the future of news (if not newspapers) with ideas about becoming curators on content and innovation elsewhere. Too much on this one and lots of implications for a journalists so going to post thoughts at my subbing blog instead at some future point. Essentially traditional media is feeling the pain of going from 'news desert to a lush rainforest' of news and information but without a timeframe in which to evolve and adapt. The result is fear for both newspapers and the future of news. But history tells us "there will be more content, not less, more analysis, more precision.' Will traditional media adapt quickly enough, or spend time and resource keeping the old model alive?

Entrepreneur's Lounge
An Austin interactive showcase, which is running throughout the week. But interested to meet Mason Hale, chief technology officer of One Spot, which provides a curation service for the Wall Street Journal. 'One Spot leverages the skill of knowing what your audience wants to read. It's kind of like Stumbleupon but with extra layers of tools to facilitate curation of content.' He also pointed out the time-saving and efficiency element for a news editor. I'm yet to see how it works in actuality but interesting uses following the panel on news ecosystems.

My SXSWi 2009 schedule

Here's the beginning of my plan for South by South-West Interactive in Austin next week. (Yes, that's Austin, Texas!)

If you're there and you want to meet, borrow my extension cord or tell me about something good going on, I'll be on Twitter – @katchooo (though please note my Sony Irksome phone only picks up @replies not DMs). Alternatively try my mobile +44 7816 22 22 54.

Friday 13.03.09

PM: attending panels. There are hundreds of these. I've picked a selection I'd like to attend but as the schedule says: 'everything subject to change'. Today's panel titles range from: Spying 2.0 Can America Compete with Web-savvy enemies to My Boss Doesn't Get It: Championing Social Media to the Man.

5-7pm Entrepreneur's Lounge and the Austin Interactive Showcase, Fogo de Chao. Also 5-6pm 97bottles Happy Hour


Saturday 14.03.09

Early AM: Social Breakfast with Ewan Spence, BAFTA-nominated kilt-wearing podcaster. Should be some SXSWM people there, too.

12.30pm: SXSWi Kick-off Press lunch: the skinny in a lunch hour! With a live Twitter hook-up with WXWM in Birmingham, UK at 1pm.

AM/PM: Panels: eg Emerging Trends of Mobile Technology, Future of Social Networks, What Teens and Tweens want in a website.

Eve: SXSW Interactive Opening Party. Also Dorkbot 6-8, The Bigg Shindigg til 2am, OK Cog'aoke from 10pm, Toobla AFter party from 11pm

Sunday 15.03.09

AM: Panels, eg Edupunk Open Source Education, Making Whuffie: Raising Social Capital in Online Communities, Twitter for Marketers.

PM: SXSW Block Party (NEW)
Trade show with 100+ booths.
Might make the keynote speech at 2pm: Stephen Baker of Business Week interviews Nate Silver of – a big political stats and analysis site during the Obama election.

Eve: 12th SXSW Web Awards
(20 categories). Includes People's Choice Web Award, as voted by members of the public. And Best of Show. Facebook party follows.

8pm-12 frey Cafe 9 – Bring The Truth!

Monday 16.03.09

AM: Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator (NEW)
Showcase competition of most exciting web innovations with live demos. Attending 2 categories if possible: social networking and innovative web applications. Winners announced late pm. Guy Kawsaki and Brad King (tech journalist) are MCs.

PM: Panels, eg, Wired Antarctica: bringing science to the web, Sex Lives of the Microfamous, Grokking Bloggers: It's about Love and Underpants. Bruce Sterling speech (sci-fi writer and instigator of the Dead Media Project). Keynote speech if possible at 2pm: Virginia Heffernan of the NY Times interviews James Powderly of FAT Lab, political acitivist and open source art evangelist.

Eve: Mashable party. Also Plutopia, Great British Booze Up 7.30-10pm, SXNW party 10.30 on.

Tuesday 17.03.09

AM/PM: Panels, eg: New threats to New media: Fair Use on Trial, Is Aristotle on Twitter?, Secrets of Successful Food Blogging, Who will check my email after I die?

PM: Keynote speech: 2pm Chris Anderson (Wired magazine and The Long Tail author) interviews Silicon Valley venture capitalist and creator of, the web's 'online magazine rack'.

Eve: teh bar!

Have probably over-reached massively. Asking SXSW veterans, I'll make 2-3 panels a day but looking forward to the serendipitous party and socket-sharing element.

One follow up idea that occurs is: interested in how a cutting edge web festival operates and the tech it uses to succeed. Twitter is an obvious one but there is also the social network set-up for attendees, the formalisation of corridor chats, the new YouTube channel and will see what else. At the same time, a conference will never be so blogged and documented both in the moment and afterwards, that it will be interesting to see how it plays out.