Archive for the ‘texas’ tag
While in Austin for SXSW, I took some time to walk around downtown Austin and take in the sites. Here are a couple of the more interesting things I saw.
This cafe looked interesting enough from the outside. Inside was the real treat. Like any good eatery the food was excellent. The people were a bit eclectic, which seemed normal in Austin. What I liked best though was the photo wall.
The skyline was interesting as well.
I really liked these next couple, though I have no idea why.
And… I was definitely glad to see this sign in Austin. My daughter even recognizes the brand these days.
More pics here.
Tuesday at SXSW Interactive was an exciting day. The first session I attended was on corporate blogging. I figured that since this was something I did for a living that I would go a learn a thing or two.
- Direct to Dell (1M views / week); Started 2 years ago
- Linked in Blog – should we have coments? Yes, but not the obvious answer always
- Before starting a blog, look at what problem you’re trying to solve and see what the best way to solve it is
- How to measure? What would you consider a success? What is the competition doing? Mentions, positive or negative? Engagement, analytics, subs, comments, sales, survey questions at point of sale (how did you hear about this, etc.)
- Survey online at delicious (from Camey Huyse) /cameychatsxsw
- How do use these tools (blogs, social media) to meet customers needs?
o Listen, Take Action
- Dell ideastorm – ideas submitted and voted up and down by community
- 600k comments on ideastorm
- last year 48% of commentary about Dell was negative. Now it’s 28%, largely due to social media efforts
- Seaworld story – Juice boxes flip tops instead of straws. Within a week.
- Dell has empowered employees to apologize and fix issues
- How to use wikis to channel feedback from multiple sources – customer support, external sites, blogs, etc.
- What’s the future of corporate blogging
- Comment from audience – many CEOs see blogs as a way to drive traffic to their sites
- Main fears – advertising negative things about us
The next session was called “Bloggers Who Made It”. It was a session about what happens when your blog is successful.
Bloggers who had made it
- Significant milestones in personal blogging – 1. You quit your job 2. Your spouse quits their job
- Don’t start a blog with the intention of making money. It might happen but it needs to be organic
- Quadcast.com – way to get demographics from your readers
- Everyone has a focus e.g. celebrity babies, macs, cars, tech, architecture and design
- Pay a lot of attention to readers and what they want
- Question from journalist – excited and frightened by what bloggers are doing. Are you going to do the things regular journalists do? Follow ups, quotes, etc. We’re already doing it in a lot of ways
And perhaps the most exciting session of the day was on Scaling Web Apps. This one was chaired by Kevin Rose, so it was standing room only. Funny how that works.
Scaling Web Ventures
- Start immediately, especially if you’re using video and pictures
- Flickr – don’t start immediately. Spent the first six months trying to grow quickly and develop the site. Then worried about scale when they had to.
- Where did you get your first help?
o Cal Henderson (Flickr) wrote a book on scaling web apps
o Net scaler – not good
o Linux scaler
o LVS + HA proxy
o You can go a long way with commodity hardware and open source stacks (maybe forever)
o Focus on getting the product right first.
o Digg – 15 developers now. Adding more structure now, including a decision maker. Split into multiple teams. Using track for checking in code
o Have two people who own every major system
o Your bottleneck will never be in your language – will be your db or file storage
o Essential tools – Gangalia, monit, nageous (Sp?), minun,
o Give people the tools to manage the community e.g. bury comments they don’t like.
o CDN – use panther rather than Akamai; serve main page from US and everything else from CDN
o Flickr 32k photos / sec
o Squid is the most important thing for Flickr; Varnish for Digg
o Digg – cache forever, then expire when changed
o Other ideas – cache entire pages for only one second. Reduced page load considerably
o Flickr moving to .Net now; Cal Henderson- “open source is trendy but it doesn’t work in the real world”
The last session I attended on Monday was a panel discussion called:
Online Adulation: Use don’t abuse your fans.
- give credits in videos for people who donate money ($5 for best buy; $500 for producers)
- For every episode, cut it up into a teaser and give it to people to share (confetti preview)
- Other sites grow organically
- At some point you can’t reply to every email
- Facebook fan page and separate personal page; only ignore people that are creepy
- What do you due to the people who actively pester you? Ignore them. Then send them an email saying they’re making me uncomfortable and please stay out of my life. Thank you.
- How much of your real life do you reveal online? Some people share everything, others say people will never know you. Everyone has boundaries. Or at least everyone should.
- Cnet blogs have the same reviews and guidelines as news and articles
- Fan of the month idea – highlight someone
- Graphic telling people how to comment. Works.
One of the sessions at SXSW was the bloggies. It was an awards show for the best bloggers. They had categories like “Best Australian Blog” and “Best New Blog”. I didn’t know anyone in Australia had access to the internet, let alone their own blog (just kidding, of course).
It was a thoroughly enjoyable show and the winners seemed to concur with my thinking also. The show was kicked off by Nikolai Nolan.
Some of the winners & presenters of note were:
Zoe Margolis of “Girl with a one track mind” fame. She parlayed her love life into a book deal. The story is not that simple and has a few twists and turns. At the event she seemed quite comfortable.
Gina and Adrian from Lifehacker. I really like this blog and read it as much as I can.
The guys from icanhazcheezburger. This is a site I haven’t gotten into, but I hear it is very funny.
And my favorite, Heather Armstrong from dooce.com. For some strange reason, I find her blog hillarious.
I should acknowledge up front that this post is about a week overdue. That said, I was at SXSW last week and had an awesome time. One of the things I enjoy most about Austin is visiting Rudy’s. They bill themselves as “the worst BBQ in Texas” The reality is that they are the best BBQ in Texas! The atmosphere is casual enough that I feel comfortable and the BBQ is the best I’ve tasted.
Now, on to the panels. My friend Stephanie Booth moderated a panel on internationalization. I didn’t take a lot of notes, but here they are anyway:
Lost in Translation? Top Website Internationalization Lessons
- Google chat bot automatically translates
- SLS – simple lexicon system worldwide lexicon; translation service (PHP libraries)
- WordPress user generated translations
- Is there anyone allowing their community to translate their site for them? Just a handful. Who would feel comfortable? Many more.
- www.dotsub.com – for video subtitles in languages
- all conversations will be available on meebo.com/sxsw in the future
Other interesting sessions from Monday include:
Social Networking and Your Brand
- Your brand is the promise of an experience
- Let other people talk about your work
- Social networking used for filling in gaps in his own knowledge
- Using your own name is a good way to brand. Also memorable.
- Stay consistent with your screen name and picture
- Need to manage your personal brand online. What do you post about yourself? How do manage or respond to what others are posting about you?
- People perceive you through what’s available about you through online tools
- Story: Geve Stanz (rather than Steve Ganz) on linked in. Someone was messing with him.
- Story: Wii bowling in hotel room; off color jokes and twitter humor taken out of context. Posted too much information on twitter.
- Don’t retaliate online (when someone says something negative about you); unless that’s part of your personal brand
- Favorite tools: twitter, podcasting, campfire, forums, facebook, linked in, “the man in blue” blog post, upcoming, pownce, verve, Doppler, flickr
- Does twittering help your business?
- How do you balance your public persona and privacy? Just be aware of what you’re publicly broadcasting
- Make sure you’re comfortable with what you put online
Perhaps the most interesting session was the keynote given by Frank Warren of postsecret. He had the audience in tears.
Frank had an ability to listen to people without applying judgement. An example of this came at the end of his talk when a women shared her secret. She was sobbing. Her sister was sick with a rare disease. I listened to her and watched Frank. How would he respond to this woman? Was she “showing off” with the tears and sobs or was she scared and upset? Frank said something like “Doesn’t it feel better now that you’ve shared your secret? Can I give you a hug?” It was the perfect answer for the situation. I think the postsecret project definitely has the right leader.
I have more to say, but you’ll have to read my next post to hear about it