How to Create an Internet Phenomenon for Peanuts

A session at SXSW Interactive 2011

  • Rachel Fershleiser

Tuesday 15th March, 2011

12:30pm to 1:30pm (CST)

In 2006, Larry Smith ditched his fancy magazine editor life to launch SMITH Magazine, an online storytelling community with no business model to speak of. He did it with no plan, no startup money, no staff, not even the proverbial “maxxed out credit cards.” One year later, SMITH Mag had amassed a ton of press, a rabid community of readers of and contributors to the site, and book deals from three major publishers.

SMITH Magazine is best known for its Six-Word Memoir project, an international phenomenon and one the hottest storytelling trends of the modern age. So how did the Six-Word Memoir project go from a couple of tweets to four books and 300,000+ submissions to SMITH Magazine and its younger cousin, SMITH Teens so quickly?

In this panel, Smith and his co-editor, Rachel Fershleiser, will take you through the steps (and missteps), they've learned in the Six-Word Memoir project, as well as through other online phenoms that share like-minded missions, success stories, and roads to revenue. We’ll showcase examples of unfunded/barely funded projects that began out of passion, and rapidly turned into something sustainable. We’ll go over the core principles vital to success, as well as the questions to ask before you go full throttle with your idea. We’ll talk about we and others have walked the tightrope of protecting our ideas and also allowing for a certain loss of control that ultimately allows projects to grow.

About the speakers

This person is speaking at this event.
Rachel Fershleiser
This person is speaking at this event.
Larry Smith

Editor of SMITH Mag, a place for stories. Get a six-word memoir a day + SMITH updates, follow: @smithmag. bio from Twitter

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5 trackers

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Time 12:30pm1:30pm CST

Date Tue 15th March 2011


Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

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