This year I attended SXSW Interactive for the very first time. If you’re not familiar with the event – it’s five days of keynotes, networking, and the latest and greatest in technology and the web. The event has grown in size every year since its inception and this year I was one of about 19,000 to attend. Incidentally, Twitter launched five years ago at SXSW!
There aren’t really words to describe the scale of SXSW. It takes place all over the city of Austin, TX and includes at least ten main venues and countless smaller hot-spots where you can network, learn about new businesses, and meet great like-minded people. There were new companies launched, many new ideas discussed, and great friendships made.
The list of keynote speakers was impressive to say the least:
Seth Priebatsch: If you don’t know Seth yet, I’m sure you will soon. Seth is a Princeton dropout and is the ‘Chief Ninja’ of SCVNGR – a location-based service similar to Foursquare but with a twist. In his speech he discussed the movement from the social layer to the game layer. You can view a similar speech that he delivered at TEDx here.
Brian Solis: Brian is one of the key figures in the area of new media and online influence. At SXSW he led a panel discussion that included the founder of Klout (the social media influence measurement), the top-guys at ad.ly (the company that brought Charlie Sheen to Twitter – you can thank them later), and Jon Chu (the director of the Justin Bieber movie). The session’s main focus was on influence – and the value of some personal brands. Read more about Brian’s session here.
Felicia Day: Best known for creating an online series The Guild, Felicia is a great example of ‘making it happen.’ Felicia has embraced her ‘gamer girl’ roots and created a cult hit with her web series. She shared her thoughts on content creation and building relationships. Read about her session here.
Gary Vaynerchuk: Hustle is what Gary Vaynerchuk is all about…his keynote was by far the most intense. Gary just released his second book The Thank You Economy – and he discussed at length building meaningful relationships and engaging with people.
Gary has used his personal brand to really connect with his community. He held a secret wine party in Austin and announced it on Twitter…within 15 minutes the line was around the block. Gary is plain and simple a power-house of a personal brand. Here is his speech in four parts – please beware of his language – like the rest of his personality – it is also extremely intense.
Reid Hoffman: Have a LinkedIn profile or a PayPal account? Thank you, Reid Hoffman. Reid discussed where the web is heading – and what web 3.0 looks like. The picture he painted is largely based on data, its abundance, and its different forms. He also shared his 10 rules of Entrepreneurship. Read them here along with a recap of his session from Fast Company.
SXSW Interactive is unlike any other event and it’s significant from a personal branding perspective because at an event like this, the blue chip brand isn’t Google – it’s Gary Vaynerchuk.
Jonathan has broad ranging experience and currently works in eMarketing at Thomson Reuters in the Twin Cities area. He is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State Universitywhere he majored in Marketing. Prior to returning to Thomson Reuters, where he had an internship during college, he worked for Expedia in an account management role for their North American lodging business. Jonathan is an avid enthusiast of all things marketing, economics, and travel. And, he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@jonathanpetrino), LinkedIn, and his website.