by Wenxiang Wu
At the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, Zopim (www.zopim.com), a leading provider of cloud-based Customer Engagement solutions, will hijack the city of Austin, TX to sow the seeds of customer love.
Leveraging SXSW attendees' infamous love for the fun and wacky, "The Support Grinch", a superbad green monster will be unleashed onto the streets on 9th March 2012. He will terrorize innocent civilians with his unsanitary vocabulary, outrageous hairdo and evil smirk.
Fortunately, his green Achilles' Heel is well-documented - the Support Grinch hates hugs. This SXSW, join hands with thousands of heroes on HugTheGrinch.com to hunt the Grinch down. Snap photographic evidence of your loving heroics, and stand a chance to win great prizes, including the ultimate MacBook Air, sponsored by the customer lovers from Zopim!
Very much like the free hugs movement, our goal is to spread spontaneous fun and happiness at SXSW through this mobile game that we conceived in our spare time over the past two weeks.
Linking back to our business, customer engagement software is only part of the equation for customer happiness. We see our users inject great passion, humor and spontaneity when using Zopim to chat with their customers. This reinforces our belief that true customer joy can only be delivered when people within the organization are truly happy, in line with the values of the Delivering Happiness movement.
Aside from this fun HugTheGrinch side project, our full time job is building amazingly simple customer engagement tools. Our award winning flagship product - Zopim Live Chat - has helped more than 35,000 online businesses wow their customers through real time chat engagement. With Zopim, our customers are happily targeting high-value website visitors, chatting directly with customers, building great relationships and increasing brand equity, everyday.
Dedicated to helping young companies grow, the Startup America Partnership is providing a place to meet, collaborate and mingle with iconic entrepreneurs, VCs and other startups this year in the Startup Village. Unique programming elements, meeting spaces, refreshments of the caffeinated and/or adult variety, and daily giveaways will make the Startup America space a can’t-miss for startups.
Join Startup Village in our inaugural ping pong tourney; you need not be a professional, just register online or at the event (first come first serve) and prepare to have a blast. Each company may select two employees to represent them in a single elimination doubles tournament. We'll provide the paddles, balls, and tables; you bring your best ping pong skills and prepare to destroy the competition! http://sxsw.com/interactive/star...
Are you struggling to market your startup? Do you have a great idea, but aren’t sure how to reach your audience and get customers? Even if you have the greatest product, marketing your product may be more difficult than you think. This workshop will cover the most effective and unusual marketing tactics that work for startups. You’ll learn how to get big results with a small budget and compete against companies that have more money and more resources.
In this session marketing experts will share proven marketing strategies that get real results. This session will cover some of the best tips, secrets and unusual strategies that work to create raving and passionate fans for your company. This session isn’t marketing 101 - it focuses on low cost big impact opportunities specifically for startups and entrepreneurs.
Why Invest in Health Tech? Education, Inspiration, and Funding Advice for (Social) Health Tech Startups. This session is sponsored by Health 2.0 and Boehringer Ingelheim
Eric Ries signs his book ‘TThe Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses ’ at the SXSW bookstore.
Vic Gundotra will participate in a fireside chat with Guy Kawasaki to discuss the Google+ project. Vic will share how the product has grown since the initial launch, some of the lessons learned and the challenges the Google+ team faced along the way.
Nobody likes waiting in line, whether for a party or an exclusive beta invite, unless they can skip it or be the “cool kid” who doles out invites to friends. RockMelt tested this theory when their browser initially launched under the cloak of private beta and allowed users to help their friends “jump the line”. Others have seen similar success like Google+ and Turntable.fm which left people scrambling for invites from friends. But what’s the secret behind building buzz via exclusive access without alienating potential users?
Beta and Alpha testing is becoming increasingly popular as people vie for early adopter status. Panelists from initially exclusive products will discuss the psychology behind exclusive access, the benefits of an invite system, and how gated access helps you attract the right users. This conversation is a must for any startup looking to make a splash at launch.
Congratulations: you've been acquired! First comes an initial high from the money and the attention.
Often company acquisitions that seem like a great idea result in disappointment, a mass exodus, the technology being tossed aside, and hard feelings on both sides. But every once in a while, an acquisition results in the team feeling like they got a big win, not just financially, but that it moved their product & careers forward in a way that would have taken them much longer otherwise.
During this core conversation, we'll share stories of acquisition successes (yes, they exist!), and draw out what worked well. The goal is to provide those that are looking to be acquired with some guidelines for what to watch out for, and how to pull it off as successfully as possible.
Most startup entrepreneurs, investors and incubators will tell you that two founders are better than one. What they won't tell you is two founders are more likely to try to kill each other - or at least kill their startup. Co-founder disasters are a bit of an industry taboo. We never hear about most of them. Many great entrepreneurs have had to sacrifice a beloved startup to learn valuable life lessons about working with partners. This panel brings together four entrepreneurs who lost their prior startups to infighting but survived to tell their tales in the hope that you can avoid some of their mistakes.
Show Me The Money: Where to get funding and what are they interested in? Presentations by VC's, Health Incubators (e.g. Blueprint Health and Startup Health), and other funders. This session is sponsored by Edelman.
by Lyn Graft
Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication you have as an entrepreneur to assist you in starting a company, recruiting employees, raising capital, securing clients and getting press. Stories are universal and almost 100% relatable to people from all walks of life enabling the entrepreneur to inspire and catalyze an audience. Stories also help us structure meaning around complex situations and enable entrepreneurs to make the intangible tangible. Drawing from the experience gained from filming over 300 entrepreneurs, this panel is designed to share thoughts and examples on why and how storytelling should be weaved into your startup, launch and growth activities. Key points covered: Speaking from the heart and connecting emotionally with your audience; Crafting a memorable story and creating champions to share your story; making sure your baby is not ugly and stands apart from the crowd; and telling people why we do and what we do. Specific examples and techniques for digital storytelling will be shown and explained
What if agencies and marketers created products and services, not just ads? And what if they made these things for themselves, not just for clients? They do. But tackling things like product design, creating new businesses or building complex real-world experiences requires a creative, technical, managerial and entrepreneurial spirit more associated with Silicon Valley than Madison Avenue. It demands new roles, agile approaches, external partnerships, technologies, investments and compensation models that can drive even the most hardened finance director crazy. And in some cases, it may even require a complete reboot from the ground up. The ability to make something that isn’t an “ad” is no longer optional in modern advertising. But it's certainly not easy, either. So what can we learn from the makers, technologists and agencies already playing in this space? Turns out, a whole heckuva lot.
A special reception that shines the spotlight on emerging startups. Enjoy complimentary beer and wine while checking out demos from startup participants, all within the heart of Startup Village on the 4th floor of the Hilton.
Audioair is a mobile-based technology that connects to a network within the given establishment.
Brouha is an at-door automated mobile messaging platform that allows for a direct mobile connection between customers and the stores they frequent, every time they show up.
Mumbo is the ultimate social messaging app for your smartphone or desktop.
NewsiT is a mobile crowd-reporting platform for people to create, collaborate and share the news that's personally relevant to them.
Nixter's an app that will improve your nightlife experience recommending your the best parties based on your real nightlife likes.
A quick and fun way to discover volunteer and social good opportunities around you.
RAVN, the Pandora of Event Discovery.
Sphero, from Orbotix, is the first robotic ball you control with your smartphone, lets you roll into a new world of gaming.
StepwellS provides a simple platform for anyone to create, publish and consume mobile dashboards.
Talentwire is a talent development community for tech, media, and entertainment professionals where you connect with people who do what you do.
Trails.by is a beautiful and broadly-focused website that aggregates learning and informational Trails, which are a simple visual way to find & share your favorite online information.
Wendr is a free iPhone app that makes it easy to find out what your friends are doing #TONIGHT.
Womzit, the Word of Mouth App is a fun, fast and frictionless way for you to spread great experiences.
Funders vs. Funded... The Rise of Pharma VC's: A discussion with Pharma about their new VC funds. The Funded: A discussion with recently funded health tech startups. This session is sponsored by Edelman.
You're David, they're Goliath. You're a small company, they are industry giants. You're fast and innovative. They move markets. You just wish they would move those markets in your direction!
How do you close that deal? How do you even get them to notice you? The good news is that big companies get big by working with innovative companies like you. The bad news is they also get big by stepping on companies like you.
How do you hold your own against big companies? Who can you trust and how much information can you trust them with? How do you decide which big deals to do and which ones to avoid?
This panel pits together three industry giants, Google, Intuit and American Express with two scrappy startups, BatchBlue and FreshBooks. After many rounds of negotiation, deals have been struck that have been lucrative for each party and a win for their mutual customers. Hear how these start-ups have built great relationships, launched successful partnerships and stayed in the game without being gobbled or squashed.
Technology startups are beginning to focus on traditional, regulated industries that until now haven’t seen many startup entrants. But taking on archaic, multi-billion-dollar industries isn’t easy. Startups face a variety of issues, from thorny regulations to apathetic customers demoralized by poor experiences, and competition from name-brand, established competitors. Building a new company in a regulated industry is a daunting task, but it holds the potential to transform an industry and dramatically improve the status quo.
Check out the "People's Gallery" at Austin City Hall and connect with local Austin start-ups and incubators, both in and beyond tech. The event will showcase local food & beverage companies, consumer products start-ups and more, including the government and community incubators that are supporting local product development. Meet Austin's innovators and leaders. Free local drinks, food and networking. SXSW badge NOT required to attend.
by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. This talk draws on stories and insights from the book, explaining the new science of entrepreneurship. Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counterintuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
by Justin Fishner-Wolfson
Equity is the main driver of employee compensation at start-ups, yet a lot of the terminology and machinations around how to manage stock is shrouded in mystery. This session will explore how employees can maximize the returns from their hard work and how founders can structure equity packages to be the most lucrative tools possible for recruiting top talent while being fair to their employees. From day one, understand how to compare the financials behind job offers. Learn standard terms from vesting, cliffs, accelerations and triggers to the differences between incentive stock options (ISOs), non-qualified stock options (NSOs) and restricted stock units (RSUs). Know your options for maximizing the value of your equity including what it means to do an 83(b) election. Arm yourself with knowledge to hire qualified tax advisors and know what pitfalls to look for when talking to wealth management advisors. Find out what resources are available for free online and how to best protect yourself.
Showcasing some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, as well as an array of corporate and elected leaders and some of the hottest music on the planet, this special event will provide a world-wide platform to celebrate entrepreneurship and startup companies throughout the country. The evening event, co-sponsored by The Startup America Partnership, SXSW and the Technology Partnership of the Austin Chamber will feature technology leaders including Reid Hoffman, Steve Case, Steve Blank, Amos Winbush III, and many others. A special dedication to Steve Jobs will be debuted and music provided by some great Texas artists. The evening will be second to none. Music from Austin’s own Ghostland Observatory -- band will perform at 10:45 pm. For more information about the Celebration of American Startups, please click here (link to https://www.facebook.com/events/... )
9th–13th March 2012