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.
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.
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.
In June 2011, Vivek Wadhwa wrote that we need a black Mark Zuckerberg. But, what about Markia? Is it hard to imagine that the next big thing could come from a Black woman living in an urban environment instead of one of Indian or Asian descent? What about a woman with Spanish as her first language? Where are the Black, Latino, and female Mark Zuckerbergs? There are plenty of underrepresented minorities and women who have achieved success in the tech field, but not to the level of a Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. It is a mission impossible or more like improbable?This is not a session that will re-hash and re-frame this familiar problem. This session will present out-of-the-box-thinking solutions to address the issue of diversity head on. It will also present challenges to and action items for attendees that will help to move the needle forward to truly increase diversity in the tech community.
Renowned entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman and entrepreneur/author Ben Casnocha present a new blueprint for managing your career. You will learn the best practices of some of the most successful start-ups on the planet (like PayPal and LinkedIn), and how these strategies can be applied to your career -- no matter your industry or job function. You will learn how to launch career plans amid uncertainty; how to change jobs based on what you learn; how to generate breakout opportunities; how to take intelligent risks; how to develop real relationships and build an effective professional network. Most of all, you will learn how to *think* like an entrepreneur when steering the start-up that is your career. Newark mayor Cory Booker called The Start-Up of You "profound." Jack Dorsey said it "distills the key techniques needed to succeed." Come find out how to be the entrepreneur of your own life, and take control of your professional future.
Ben Casnocha signs ‘The Start-up of You’ at the SXSW bookstore
John Bradberry signs ‘6 Secrets to Startup Success’ at the SXSW bookstore
This workshop session is taught by Black Founders Startup Ventures. Black Founders Startup Ventures was founded to increase the success of black entrepreneurs in tech through educational workshops and events. What is little known about Black Founders is the stories of its co-founders and how helping others has led to a path of opportunity for their own independent tech startups. Meet the co-founders of Black Founders, a coder, lawyer, marketing guru, and product guy, and learn how their contributions to their community has ultimately taught them to be better entrepreneurs.
The genome to create a great startup fast has been cracked. With proper funding and mentoring provided by a series of Lat Am-based accelerators, we can expect that a new wave of brave and savVy Latin American entrepreneurs will be entering the global market soon. Meet the people who are making this happen and learn why a regional network of accelerators is the way to make a real difference in this continent.
You probably never thought you'd want to build an unpopular brand, but branding rules have changed. Considering that every successful brand in history is inherently unpopular with a specific demographic, whom have YOU identified as the demographic that will never like you? Get introduced to author Erika Napoletano and the Power of Unpopular: a better way to run your business – and your life. Erika's the voice behind @RedheadWriting and RedheadWriting.com, as well as a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine and the author of two books. While she was never the prom queen (thank heavens), she's figured out how to leverage one word with seemingly negative implications into powerful fodder to build brands with staying power in the marketplace. You won't find case studies from corporate behemoths here - you'll find stories and advice from people just like you who want to wake up every day, do what they love, and do it for the people who will love them. Because that's who truly matters.
If you’re an artist or work for a young arts organization, you run a start-up. A start-up where the product is culture, the audience is becoming more and more segmented by age, and the metrics for success are hard to come by. Lots of rewards and just as many challenges, right?
In this session we'll discuss the triumphs and challenges encountered once we turn a passion project into something bigger--fundraising, developing business models, audience building, and collaborations--to name a few. This Core Conversation provides the venue you need to problem-solve and idea-share with others. Not involved in the arts but starting something new in another industry? Join us anyway! A lot of what we’ll discuss will cross over to other genres.
by Ankit Shah
The startup scene preaches hustle more than anything. It's all fun and great. You have to make sacrifices, yes. It's risky, yes. You're bound for failure, yes. It's freaking awesome while you're doing it, yes.
Then you spend time with your friends and you have nothing to talk about except your work.
Then you forget to call mom to tell her you love her.
Then you play tennis and realize that you suck and can't last for more than 30 minutes because you are totally out of shape.
Then you realize you're not the same awesome person you were before the amazing, amazing startup you're working on took over.
It's kinda like spending all your time with a new girlfriend. Your friends are concerned you're changing. Startups can often become unhealthy relationships, but it's important to stay focused while managing the rest of your life too. It's hard, but there's nothing more important for your sanity.
Let's talk a bit about sanity.
by Jessica Mah
Entrepreneurs are throwing their money at solutions to the wrong problems -- they aren't using metrics to drive what really matters to their strategy. I'll talk about how inDinero has wasted a huge chunk of its investors money, chasing the wrong problems, building features that we thought had value but actually had negligible impact, among other things the company should have done differently.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter were all startups once. Today they are some of the world’s most successful companies because they learned the first lesson to succeeding in a digital economy: take care of your users and they’ll take care of your business. To survive in today’s digital economy, where half of all purchases are made or influenced online, today’s largest companies will need to become truly digital businesses. Join Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, as he discusses his new book Users Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business and how companies can make the transformation to digital. Shapiro will outline the seven lessons large companies can learn from the smartest digital businesses around - startups and successful Internet companies - including how to evolve management, operations, marketing, and customer service around meeting user needs and driving sales in the process.
Startup Village brings together the startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and cutting-edge digital tastemakers within the 2012 SXSW Festival. You are invited to come network with others interested in startups Monday, March 12 from 4:30pm-5:30pm. The Meet Up Pavilion provides a space for representatives in media, technology, and capital to interact within the greater Trade Show floor. Startup Village at the Meetup Pavilion cuts across all of the industries present in Austin for SXSW (Music, Interactive and Film).
In the strange new world of micro-entrepreneurship, roaming, independent publishers operate from Buenos Aires and Bangkok. Indian bloggers make $200,000 a year. Product launches from one-man or one-woman businesses bring in $100,000 in a single day, causing nervous bank managers to shut down the accounts when they don't understand what's happening. Oddly enough, many of these unusual businesses thrive by giving things away, recruiting a legion of fans and followers who support their paid work whenever it is finally offered. How is this possible? And how is this model different from all other Internet businesses? *** To be published by Crown/Random House in May 2012, 'The $100 Startup' is based on a comprehensive, multi-year study, and is accompanied by the world's first 7-continent book tour. This session at SXSW will be the first public presentation of the data.
Ever thought about launching your startup with some influencer star power? What exactly do "advisors" do (and not do)? It takes more than a pretty face to pin point a truly smart advisor partnership. The right fit requires on-brand positioning for both the advisor and the start up, which can be harder than it sounds. Once you find that fit, building a mutually beneficial relationship that aligns both party's interests is well worth the hustle it takes to make it happen. Find out how to stand apart from the pack that's courting your ideal high-profile partner. Also learn how equity deals can be structured in the most compelling way, and how to get that "in" to catch the star's attention.
Entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, and technology enthusiasts are invited to come meet at the Meet Up Pavilion in the SXSW Trade Show Tuesday, March 13 from 1200pm-1:00pm. Come discuss clean technology in a casual setting.
Kevin Ready signs his book ‘Startup: An Insider's Guide to Launching and Running a Business’ at the SXSW bookstore.
9th–13th March 2012