17 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

stuff i learned at sxsw 2010

stuff i learned at sxsw 2010

I attended the 2010 South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin Texas for the first time over the past few days. After attending countless panels, discussions, presentations and workshops I left feeling like I’ve read twenty books in two days.

It incredibly difficult to describe exactly what attending SXSW feels like. If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon and then tried to explain the immensity of what you saw to someone who has never been there… same thing but with technology and being surrounded by successful, insightful and determined people.

While I took tens of pages of notes, here’s the headlines of what I learned and picked up from the people I spent time with in Austin.


  • social media is not about you
  • everyone who is doing something progressive and useful is using an Apple iPhone and MacBook Pro (this is not an advert)
  • allow and facilitate visible backchannel chat
  • great, clean-looking speakers speaking clearly telling stories win
  • a sales pitch switches everyone off. the crowd goes cold and walks
  • genuine appreciation is impossible to fake. people are unwittingly sensitive to a bullshitter
  • social media and e-commerce are not connected. they are different answers to different problems
  • if you’re breaking a rule, know why you’re breaking it
  • people and context first, only then do whatever you were going to do first
  • prototype: make a commercial, not a specification (Google doesn’t use specifications anymore)


  • in real life famous people and millionaires are human beings and exactly like you
  • the successful people are not doing anything you can’t already read in a non-fiction book and apply yourself (so why aren’t you?)
  • everyone is reachable and you should reach them
  • if a famous person doesn’t give you much attention it’s because you’re not interesting. expect the same from non-famous people.
  • if you’re not presenting, you’re a critic. you just are
  • online everyone is famous and everyone with a camera phone is in media
  • nobody cares about your products except for you


  • the least important part of a technology is the technology
  • press releases are corporate generated spam and serve no lasting purpose. connect with your customers every day instead
  • internal communication and communities must be stronger than your external communication
  • when handling complaints avoid treating the customer like an ex-girlfriend instead of a future girlfriend
  • hug a customer today
  • people ask the internet first (nobody asks advertisers where the world is going)
  • ship experiences people love
  • take a non-linear experience into a linear experience = use cases/examples
  • if you have to sneak around in your company to help your customers you have a catastrophic problem
  • make it included, never free
  • people who buy from you want you to succeed

I have collected all the people that made these words into a Twitter list: http://twitter.com/bnlv/sxsw-2010

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