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How I liked my first South by SouthWest Conference


Lots of feedback about South by Southwest as expected (don’t expect to be able to read it all) so I thought I would post a short video and a few points about my first SXSW. All my pictures are available in my SXSW photo album.

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-many friends who did not go told me it was “just a big party” and not worth going to for work but of course I had a good work reason to go there as we launched our Seesmic Facebook client. I announced it during the Facebook keynote with Dave Morin and it got very nice coverage (see a few articles). Thank you Dave and Josh for inviting me to join your keynote.

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-it is always good to have a clear objective in mind when you participate in these events, mine was to meet with brands “who get it” and I was surprised to meet so many brands who get social software and many of them using Twhirl. In no specific order I met with Ford (Scott Monty below), Dell (Richard Binhammer below with Marcel Lebrun), AMD, Nielsen, Intel, Griffin, jetBlue (Morgan Johnston below portrait) and others and we had great conversations and I heard precious feedback on how Twhirl can make a better job helping them.

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-too many Seesmic community members to name them were there and it was a pleasure to meet them in person, with that weird feeling that we already knew each other so well through Seesmic (here are a few: Tracy, Alicia, Krissi, Goldie and Phil)

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-I was invited by Saul Colt to speak at SXSW along with CC Chapman, Dave Delaney and Chris Brogan to discuss how to create a brand online. We only took questions from the room, very interesting format with a packed room. It gave me more good ideas for Seesmic around how anybody can build his brand, personal or corporate.

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-We co-sponsored the Chris and Ponzi Pirillo party, thank you again Ponzi for organizing the Lockergnome, Seesmic, Ping.fm and BlogHer party, it has been packed from 9PM to when I left at 2AM and was a lot of fun to see you all. It was a good occasion for me to get to know Ponzi and Chris as well as the other partners and kudos for making it very cost effective while our guests had fun.

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-I got to know new very interesting friends I could learn from such as Andrew Lazy (right on the below picture) who co-founded the very successful Tapulous app, or Max Ventilla “zoo director” of Aardvark (the only CTO I know who gives philosophy lessons!)

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-I ran with the SXSW running club and got to know Jared Goralnick who has put it together. It was beautiful by the lake. Even there was good networking as I met the head of marketing of Segway (no business cards during the run so I don’t have her name unfortunately).

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-I liked the great work by Brian Solis and his team and partners on the blogger lounge, packed like an egg during the 3 days I was there and the best place to find bloggers I knew

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-I had fun with Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Steve Rosenbaum of Magnify unboxing my Icebreaker shirt. Zappos is definitely the most creative ecommerce brand with social software, see my bathroom interview of Tony

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-Joi Ito (who was not there) inspired my to play with my new Canon 5D MarkII that can take great shots even if you are a dope photographer like me. I aim at sucking less at it but I am pretty happy with my album. Got photography lessons by Heiko Hebig and Doc Searls.

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-I met my puppet for the second time after LeWeb and I can report my puppet is lots of fun (thanks, Loren!)

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-I can’t really say how I liked the content as the only panel I went to was Gary Vaynerchuk‘ s to get an energy and enthusiasm dose, and Gary succeeded very well as always. Thanks Gary for your love for Seesmic and our Facebook client.

-Got some good ideas for LeWeb: crowdsource some panels, add transparent tape around the building pillars so that anybody can stick ads for parties and advertise their startups, make a real bloggers room. I was happy to see SXSW as many compare LeWeb to it and I felt the same type of energy, creativity and vibe as we have seen every year at LeWeb. It is a much less business crowd than LeWeb though, which has to do with the ticket price of course, much cheaper at SXSW. SXSW does not provide any food at the conference and the venue is an exhibition hall, not as fancy as our “104″ venue so it’s easier for them while we barely break even. Also met many LeWeb speakers and participants such as Werner Vogels (below)

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-met many good existing or potential partners of Seesmic such as Ping.fm (the team below), LinkTV, uservoice, Disqus (Daniel Ha below) and a few TV networks

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-finally a good occasion to catch up with the usual suspects mostly from the bay area or even LA, such as danah boyd or Sean Percival

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The net is that SXSW was for me useful for the business and lots of fun, I will totally go back next year. Great seeing you all.



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I met my puppet again

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Caught up with my puppet, here is the full update



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