Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 with video

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Friday 11th March 2011

  • 3, 2, 1, Twitter: The NASA Tweetup Shuttle Discovery Launch

    by Phylise Banner, Pamela Greyer, Andrew Cochrane, Stephanie Schierholz and Sophia Dengo

    150 Twitter users were selected, from over 2,500 entries, to attend NASA's STS-133 Discovery shuttle launch, with special access at the press site, and two days of programmed events -- meeting crew, talking to astronauts, exploring NASA -- and to top it all off, to view the launch from the countdown clock.

    We formed an instant community (within hours of being selected) via Twitter, created a Google group, FB group, email lists, and 15 of us who had never met before rented a house, and started sharing space knowledge, social media knowledge, etc. 4 other shared houses came together. Our house, the Big House, was the hub of all activities. Never having met meant nothing to us. Our first night there we gathered (over 70 of the 150) and formed our space tweeps family.

    Astronomers, scientists, NASA workers, digital storytellers, educators (k-12 and higher ed), videographers, all passionate about space.

    The shuttle never launched. The communities which were formed out of this experience are still going strong. The entire week was broadcast on JustinTV by one of our colleagues -- sharing the entire NASA learning experience with thousands of folks. We're invited back to watch the launch when she's scheduled to go in February.

    This was an amazing use of Social Media, and a perfect example of the power of these tools, and how they can be used to market, share, teach, grow, explore, inspire.

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage video

  • Fireside Chat: Tim O'Reilly Interviewed by Jason Calacanis

    by Jason Calacanis and Tim O'Reilly

    In this intimate fireside chat, Calacanis interviews his personal publishing and pundit hero, Tim O'Reilly, about Tim O'Reilly. Typically Tim's the moderator or discussing a theory, but Tim's never discussed how he built O'Reilly, the Web 2.0 conference and himself, into the most respected technology publisher on the planet. Calacanis hopes to tease out the secrets of Tim's success, and how year-after-year, and decade-after-decade, he remains relevant and engaged. This panel is a first and a must for publishers, technologies, brand builders and thinkers.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Help Save SXSW from Marketer Douchebaggery

    by Nihal Mehta, Ryan Daume, Emily Hickey, Ben Essen and Zeb Dropkin

    Is SXSWi in danger of being ruined by the influx of marketers to the conference?

    Coming off of SXSWi 2010, Jolie O'Dell struck a cord with her post WHY SXSW SUCKS
    "Too many people, not enough tech... dodging and evading these shallow douchebags... only to find swarms of douchebags showing up an hour or so after the location is made known..."

    We're bringing some smart, caring minds together to move the chatter in the halls into the light of a focused panel. The elephant in the room is being put on center stage. Can SXSWi adapt, or will it be overrun? Has the conference jumped the shark? Voices for both the techie/creator side and the marketer side will make up the panel.

    We're aiming to land on solutions - this is not a bitch session. How can we address the challenges of a changing audience and optimize for the conference for valuable interactions? Are some social ground rules called for?What will the audience for SXSWi 2015 look like? Can we envision how that it could kick ass?

    This challenge is not unique to SXSWi. We see communities struggling similarly to adapt and build value. We can learn from their mistakes and solutions.

    This conference is as resilient as it's participants. If you show up, it will to.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Ballroom F, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Rebooting Iceland: Crowdsourcing Innovation in Uncertain Times

    by Derek Lackaff, Gunnar Holmsteinn, Dilja Amundadottir, Heida Helgadottir and Guojon Mar Guojonsson

    In the US, social media innovators are changing the way people work and play. In Iceland, these innovators may offer the best hope of rescuing an entire nation.

    Iceland emerged in the 1990s as a financial powerhouse after a thousand years on the sidelines of global history. Icelanders became one of the world’s wealthiest and happiest nations. In 2008, three of its banks collapsed, sending the national economy into a tailspin and shattering the people’s trust in government and industry. The government was quickly replaced by one promising transparency and reforms, while a protest party headed by a comedian took control of the Reykjavik city council.

    This new cast of politicians is not alone in their efforts to move Iceland out from under the economic cloud. Members of the country's tech and entrepreneurial sector, which saw explosive growth in the lead-up to the collapse, have emerged as leaders in grassroots efforts to set Iceland on a sustainable path. Last year a loosely-organized group calling themselves the Anthill convened a “national assembly” of 1,500 citizens. The day-long event, based on Agile methods and crowdsourcing theory, resulted in a coherent set of values, vision and ideas.

    Now the government is planning a similar meeting in preparation for rewriting the constitution. Inspired by open-source processes and leaning heavily on social media technologies, these citizens are rapidly prototyping new forms of democracy utilizing the web and open innovation.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Matt Mullenweg Interview: The Future of WordPress

    by Matt Mullenweg and John Battelle

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 11th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

Saturday 12th March 2011

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • Radical Openness: Growing TED by Giving it Away

    by June Cohen

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • The 4-Hour Body: Hacking the Human Body

    by Tim Ferriss

    Based on lessons learned during research for the #1 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Body, this session will look at how to systematically hack the human body. From losing 100 pounds to running 100 miles, lifting 500 pounds or holding your breath for 5 minutes -- what are the limits? From screw-ups (emergency surgery, anyone?) to importing stem-cell growth factor from Israel for black market injections, Tim will discuss the promises, pitfalls, and methods of cutting-edge self-experimentation.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • The Science of Influence

    by Marshall Kirkpatrick, Dan Zarrella, Ramya Krishnamurthy and Michael Wu

    Influential people, from journalists and entrepreneurs to investors and developers are idea-generators shaping the ideas we drool over and discuss et infinitum. But who are these people leading the charge? How did they come to be, and rise above the rest to gather a following?

    Sites like Twitter and Facebook are now testing grounds for quantifying the world’s leaders. But do we understand what influence means and what variables are really at play? We all know that a follower count means nothing, but what does a RT mean? Or better yet, what does an @reply by Scoble mean vs. one from Arrington? Beneath the surface is where the science gets really interesting.

    In this panel you’ll hear from the experts who are distilling influence down to it’s basic components. They’ll explain tips for increasing influence, which variables really matter and the types of influence they are discovering across the web.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In TX Ballroom 2-4, Hyatt Regency Austin

  • Influencers Will Inherit the Earth. Quick, Market Them!

    by Sloane Berrent, Joe Fernandez, Anthony Ha, DJ Patil and Mike Yavonditte

    With a growing number of marketing activities taking place online today, the search is on to find the best way to market to online consumers. In this panel, we’ll discuss how influencer marketing may just be the ticket everyone has been waiting for and how best to use it.

    Influences are at the top of the knowledge dissemination pyramid. Look at “RT @guykawasaki” and you immediately get a sense of the power influencers have to spread information. They have a unique ability to surface interesting information and package it in a way that makes people want to click-through and act, whether through purchasing or retweeting.

    The idea behind influencer marketing is that it centers around identifying influencers, marketing to them and then marketing through them to reach the consumers whose attention they hold captive. With this tactic comes issues, like how do you identify top influencers in things like traveling, fashion or even cupcakes? It’s no easy task.

    Computational algorithms and semantic analysis however have progressed to the point where technology can now allow us to locate influencers in any topic in the world. In this panel, you’ll hear from the experts dissecting online influence and the marketers employing such maneuvers to intelligently reach their audience on their own turf.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom F, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Nonprofits and Free Agents in A Networked World

    by Beth Kanter, Danielle Brigida, Jessica Dheere and Mark Horvath

    This interactive session is based on a key theme in the book, The Networked Nonprofit (http://www.bethkanter.org/the-ne...), co-authored by Beth Kanter.

    We will explore how nonprofits can unleash the power of social good by transitioning from stand-alone institutions to networks energized by abundant resources in their ecosystem. In order to do this, they need to work with free agents, hyper-connected individuals who are passionate about social change, but don't work within institutional walls.

    Free agents use social-media channels like Facebook and Twitter and can create social movements in the palms of their hands. They organize supporters, raise attention to important social and political issues, seek donations, and organize supporters to walk, run, shout, protest, and vote, things that were once done mostly by nonprofit organizations. The free agents do it when and how they please, making them distinct from and more powerful than traditional volunteers.

    But free agents are smashing headfirst into nonprofit fortresses—organizations with high walls and wide moats that work very hard to keep insiders in and outsiders out. Our session will explore how and why this needs to change. Kanter will bring together a group of highly visible free agents working on important social change causes, including those in Middle East, and representatives from different nonprofits for a lively discussion with the audience.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Of Fanboys & Fidelity - Adapting Comics For Broad Audiences

    by Howard Gertler, Robert Rodriguez and Greg Rucka

    As the film industry digs deep into the world of comics and graphic novels for source material, how do writers, directors and producers assess the best way to get it to the screen to entice fanpeople and newbies alike? For some of the indie, more idiosyncratic books, how do you retain that uniqueness while broadening access to it? Director/writer/producer Robert Rodriguez (“Frank Miller’s Sin City”) and comics creator/writer Greg Rucka (“Whiteout”) will discuss the challenges and pleasures in going from panel to screen.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • Jeffrey Zeldman's Awesome Internet Design Panel

    by Mandy Brown, Dan Mall, Jeffrey Zeldman and Roger Black

    He brought us The Web Standards Project, A List Apart, Designing With Web Standards, A Book Apart, and so much more. Now legendary blogger, designer, and creative gadfly Jeffrey Zeldman brings us a SXSW panel. There will be discussion. There will be special guests. Quotable insights will fly faster than your fingers can peck them into Twitterific. Combustible wit will fill the room. And in the end, we'll all be a little wiser than we were.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Method Tweeting for Non Profits (and Other Players)

    by Jennifer Windrum, Carie Lewis, Geoff Livingston, Dan Michel and Eve Simon

    When organizations use Twitter to promote themselves, it's largely about playing a role. The person tweeting is tasked to be on message as the voice of the organization while creating a unique and engaging personality to draw an audience in. At the theater, we gladly accept this fake-me-out, but in social media where do we draw the line between being the playwright and playing a character?

    Imagine, if you will, that Shakespeare was on Twitter. Would he tweet as his organizational-self, or as one of the many "voices" he created? Would the context of his 140 characters be different depending on "who" says it, even if the source is literally the same? And how could his underlying message consistently reflect the goals for tweeting in the first place? Welcome to the murky world of defining organizational identity with social media.

    During this (overly) dramatic session, we will pick the brains of people who live this challenge daily in the non-profit sector, and learn what the Bard's immortal words can teach us all about brand, messaging and creating a compelling voice on Twitter.

    Be not afraid of greatness - don't miss this panel! Quill optional.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Monday 14th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Unbelievable eCommerce: Increase Sales By 10000%

    by Paul Boag

    Many believe the secret to a successful ecommerce site is to copy Amazon. However, that rarely works.

    Your website is not Amazon. Instead it has a unique offering that caters to a specific audience. Once you realise that you can achieve unbelievable things.

    In his talk Paul explains how he took one ecommerce website from relatively successful beginnings to unbelievable heights. In only 5 years he and the team at Headscape increased sales on the site by a staggering 10,000%. What makes the story even more unbelievable is that the average customer is over 80 years old!

    This single example will act as a case study that guides you towards better understanding your audience and growing your online sales significantly.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Monday 14th March

    In Salon C, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage video link

  • All of the fonts you'll ever need – "Design for Hackers" book reading

    by David Kadavy

    There are plenty of tools and tips available for technically applying design to an application or website; but the classical fundamentals that make websites and products beautiful and engaging remain a mystery. David Kadavy - freelance designer to Silicon Valley clients such as oDesk, UserVoice, and PBworks - will provide a sneak preview of content from his book, "Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty." David will explain important differences to be aware of when choosing fonts, as well as present "all of the fonts you'll ever need.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Monday 14th March

    Coverage video

  • CSS3: Beyond the Basics

    by Estelle Weyl, Adobe SXSW, Greg Rewis, Stephanie Sullivan and Christopher Schmitt

    Think you know what's in CSS3? Think again. CSS3 brings a wealth of new possibilities -- as well as limitations, and cross-browser bugs. We've done the grunt work, finding out what works and what doesn't, and we lay out all the best new tricks, including new selectors, advanced animation and gradients, and even automatic layout changes when mobile devices change orientation. Learn techniques that you can use today in real browsers, without the painful trial and error.

    At 3:30pm to 6:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Capitol E-H, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

    Coverage video photo

  • OMG, My Customer’s Pissed and Uses Twitter

    by Rob LaGesse

    Too many customers are sitting listening to hold music waiting for their problem to get resolved. Instead of stewing privately they are now airing their grievances publicly. To anyone and everyone that will listen. The BP oil spill and Toyota recalls have showed us how people are using social media tools to give pissed off customers a new voice – and it’s a megaphone. Knowing your customer and understanding how to address everything from a crisis to the everyday question quickly and effectively is critical.

    Learn about some of the biggest flubs from 2010, how the ball was dropped and what could have been done differently. Don’t make the same mistakes they did. Learn how not to mess up.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Room 203, AT&T Conference Center

    Coverage video

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Project 314: Putting The 'Game' Back Into ARGs

    by Adrian Hon

    Most ARGs are like icing on a cake - they make an existing TV show, movie, game or book taste even better by giving fans another way to explore and interact with the fictional universe. But you can't live on icing, so the question is: can an ARG ever work on its own, without relying on a massive audience from another medium?

    Very few have tried, and there are no enduring successes (including my own Perplex City). As a result, many have implicitly concluded that a 'native ARG' can't be done, and are now moving on to transmedia. But at Six to Start, we think it can be done, and we've been developing Project 314 to prove it.

    Project 314 is an online social game blended with an ARG, aimed at a mass audience (just like Zynga and Playfish games) but with a depth of gameplay, story, and world that they can't approach. During development, we found that there are enormous advantages in creating an ARG that's attached to an online game; for one, you can avoid the irritating friction that always occurs when switching between media; for another, it feels incredibly natural (and there are a few more to discuss)

    It took us three years to come up with the idea for Project 314, and to assemble the right team. In this talk, I'll also share why Project 314 is so important for the future of games and storytelling, why it took so long, and how other game developers can create similar games (while avoiding the pitfalls we encountered).

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Real Tech Rockstars: Engineers or Designers?

    by Jessi Hempel, Jason Putorti and Aaron Patzer

    Indisputably, algorithms and user interface (UI) are both crucial to any software’s success, but many companies struggle to find the sweet spot where back end meets front end development in a perfect balance of product success. The age-old battle of function vs. fashion emerges when resources need allocation, road maps are determined, and the fate of a startup hangs in the balance.

    Algorithms crawl the internet, digesting tons of data to spit out content that is valuable for users, while UI attracts, retains and instills trust in users to delivering that value to the masses. But in the end, drives innovation and success, the algorithms or the UI? If you’ve got funding for 6 hires, who are they?

    This informative discussion will be led by Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of Intuit’s personal finance group and Founder of Mint.com, an algorithms engineer with several patents at the core of his product who also recognizes the value that perfectly pixilated, easy-to-understand charts and graphics brought to Mint. Panelists, including a UI designer, algorithms expert and CEO of company that has successfully merged the development of both, will discuss how to combine different types of expertise into a winning formula; what’s necessary to create complex technology and dense data into simple information for users, whether product innovation should be driven from the product’s front end or back end, and how an organization’s structure changes the way product development takes place.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom B, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Reid Hoffman Presentation: Data as Web 3.0

    by Reid Hoffman

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • Rockin' the Check-in: Location Strategies for Musicians

    by Jonathan Carroll and Cindy Royal

    Emerging social media platforms offer musicians unprecedented opportunities to distribute music and engage fans, often circumventing the traditional models of label deals and radio airplay. Today, it is more about creating a community around your music and engaging your fan base than major label deals and platinum sales. For some artists, fan engagement has happened organically, as a result of the quality of their music, years of touring or their innovative sound. Certain bands have always had fans that followed them from city to city, meeting other fans, sharing music and stories. New social media tools, like the location-based social networks Gowalla and Foursquare, can be used as platforms for rewarding fans for desired behaviors.

    Currently, these platforms are in their infancy. Their focus is evolving toward event as well as location-based check-ins. Musicians can engage these services by encouraging fans to check-in at shows, offering rewards for multiple check-ins on a tour, providing a space for fans to aggregate photos and videos, and offering a way for fans to develop their own interactions, like organizing meet-ups and creating trips. Once fans are signed up with a location-based service, bands can offer merchandise discounts, meet and greet access, limited edition items and downloads or other incentives. The key is engaging passionate fans wherever they are in the world via mobile devices. Let them help by giving them the tools they need to spread the word. Co-presenting on this panel will be Jonathan Carroll, Community Manager at Gowalla.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In TX Ballroom 1, Hyatt Regency Austin

    Coverage video