What a difference a ray makes ! When I watched Dallas as a child Texas seemed to be the land of sunshine but the first 2 days at SXSW pr...

SXSW Day 4 Pinteresting revelations, the future of location, the new eyewear and Grumpy Cat.


What a difference a ray makes !

When I watched Dallas as a child Texas seemed to be the land of sunshine but the first 2 days at SXSW proved counter to this dream - the last few days were a different matter - 70 degrees plus and wall to wall sunshine! Monday morning meant the UKTI Breakfast roundtables where the mission companies - 30 in all were introduced to 5-6 US companies that ranged from Twitter, Pinterest, Microsoft and Spreadfast as well as some VC reps. I met with Kent Brewster from Pinterest first who, as an engineer with Pinterest, gave some fascinating insights into the workings at the presently small organisation (160 employees Worldwide). His overiding piece of advice was to be relevant and become a 'tastemaker' - he referenced Martha Stewart and SouthWest Airlines as great examples of companies that did this and left us teased by a big announcement he said they were making later that day (which he hinted was all about an analytics platform) We then met Ken Choi from Spredfast, a social community management tool based in Austin that's making big waves in this crowded space - we agreed to follow up as they are setting up an office in London and he is keen to get some contacts on the ground quickly.

Dennis Crowley - the future of location

Another day, another keynote. As per last year the founder of Foursquare didn't disappoint. 'Tooled up" with his Jawbone UP, Nike Fuel band and Basis watch, he talked about how Foursquare's 30m users have created 50m points of interest and with 40k developers constantly working on the API the services that 4SQ offer will only increase. He sees the future of location to be about utility - adding value to people's lives by providing useful info wherever they are (maybe even passively) where their friends and friends of friends go in a existing or new city.

He also showed the huge potential of the data that the tool provides including a fascinating map of the movements in Tokyo over the day and what happened via check-ins in NYC when Sandy hit the city.

Time for BBQ!

Texas is well known for BBQ and with an hour to spare I decided to check out Ironworks, one of Austin's best (with some famous past visitors!). Despite the long queue it was worth it - self service and a huge selection of different meats (and smaller veggie offering). I managed to finish the biggest rack of ribs I have ever seen and it set me up well for the last night in Austin.

Adobe Social - Marketing is BS

Adobe ironically hosted a panel called “Marketing is BS” and “Social Media is Worthless”. Panel members included:

• BJ Mendelson author of “Social Media is Bulls***”
• Jeff Feldman Director of Strategy at Adobe• Christian Waitzinger, ECD at SapientNitro• Thor Muller the CTO & Co-Founder at Get Satisfaction Inc
• Curator of the panel, Todd Wasserman, Business Editor at Mashable.com.

Arguments were made that though we might call this time a social media revolution, we are not in a social revolution. Our need and focus to communicate in culture and in marketing has always been there. Through social media we have a good way to foster human connections in a small and timely way. But can you really build trust for your brand through social media? It depends on your company.

Google Glass

One of the long awaited reveals of SXSW was Google Goggles where they chose to share a little more information about Glass. During a session which seemed to cater more to developers, the company revealed more details about Glass’ Mirror API, and showed off several apps that have already been developed for Glass, including products from Gmail, the New York Times, Path and Evernote. For me the jury's out on the look but the technology is certainly one to look out for.

The final night was another evening of bars and pitches from various companies, the highlights of which were a company called Revolights who have developed an innovative lights systems for bikes that works on forward and backward motion to show stopping and ensure that bikes are seen in the dark.

You all probably read the stories about Grumpy Cat - Friskies sponsored cat that was ensconced in Mashable's house during SXSW - it was good to see they had even created a projection onto one of the larger houses on 6th street to remind everyone of the feline SXSW superstar!

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