If you want to meet up at any point in the weekend, here’s a schedule of events where you can probably find me:
2:00pm – Making a Grant Entrance: How to Launch a Product
3:30pm – Show Me the Money: Where to Get Funding and What Are They Interested In?
5:00pm – Altimeter Group Cocktails at The Brown Bar
8:00pm – Techset Party at The Parish
Midnight – Party-hopping
9:30am – Help Wanted: Hunting High & Low for Digital Talent
11:00am – (Not Just) Shit Startups Say: Anatomy of a Rockstar Product Cycle
2:00pm – SXSW Co-Founder Speed Dating
3:30pm – Finding Co-Founders: the Who, Why, Where & How
5:00pm – PARTIES! Find me on foursquare
11:00am – Startup Breakthrough: Speed Coaching for Founders
12:30am – Adding Value As a Non-Technical No Talent Assclown
2:00pm – Allhat 4: Mootown’s Greatest Hits
3:30pm – Investor Spotting 2012
5:00pm – Big Data: Privacy Threat or Business Model?
7:00pm – MORE PARTIES! Find me on foursquare
11:00am – Wonder Woman (documentary)
2:00pm – Expanding Our Intelligence Without Limit (Ray Kurzweil Keynote!!!)
3:30pm – The End of Business As Usual (Brian Solis Keynote, with special guest Billy Corgan, lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins!!!)
6:30pm – Pitch Some Good
8:00pm – PARTIES!…. you get the pattern here.
This schedule is highly subject to change, so shoot me a tweet at @Zak_Kirchner or @digthevibe if you want to meet up. If you know of any parties, events or sessions that are can’t miss, let me know! I’m keeping my expectations low for the weekend and trying to go with the flow.
Greetings from Austin! I’m here for the SXSW conference on behalf of the startup I’m co-founding, digthevibe. I’m incredibly lucky that my employer, Altimeter Group, has been so supportive throughout the pre-launch/funding phase of our development, but I’m also really excited to take a week of vacation and focus 100% of my energy on digthevibe.
While here, I’m going to be attending a number of sessions and will be live-blogging them on digthevibe’s blog. Sessions only convey a small portion of the value that SXSW has to offer, so I’ll also be attending a number of events, parties, tweetups, and networking like a mad man.
If you want to connect this week, there are a number of ways to get my attention. You can email me at zak (at) digthevibe.com, tweet me at @Zak_Kirchner, find me on foursquare or write on my Facebook wall.
Please also take a second to “like” digthevibe on Facebook. I’ll write a full post explaining what I’m doing at digthevibe and how we’re going to change the world, but for now you’ll just have to track me down and hear the pitch in person. One of my top goals for the weekend is to refine our story and pitch for potential investors.
Speaking of, we are looking for funding… a lot of funding. digthevibe is a very ambitious idea with a potentially explosive business model and we’re going to need a lot of money to pull it off. If you know any investors who I should talk to, I would love to meet them.
I am VERY excited to announce that Altimeter Group‘s newest report, Content: The New Marketing Equation, has been released to the public. It’s Rebecca Lieb’s first report with Altimeter Group and the first report that Jaimy Syzmanski and I supported as researchers. We conducted 56 interviews with content marketing professionals and used those insights to develop a maturity model and audit for organizations to benchmark their performance.
Five stages of content marketing maturity:
- Stand - Curiosity and consideration – Not yet practicing content marketing
- Stretch - Advocacy & experimentation – Begin to build strategy and support to publish content
- Walk - Strategy & Processes - Solid organizational and strategic foundation, teams formed, metrics introduced
- Jog - “Culture of content” – Sustainable, meaningful, scalable content initiatives, broad training organizationally, top-down and bottom-up
- Run - Inspired and inspirational (and largely aspirational) – The company actually monetizes its content, which has a separate P&L
If you’re curious where your organization falls in this maturity model, read the report embedded below and answer the maturity model audit on page 13. All of Altimeter’s research is released under our Open Research policy, so feel free to download the report and share it however you see fit.
What I Personally Learned From This Research Process:
- Content breaks through the noise. Marketers face a huge problem right now because consumers have access to more information online than they’ve ever had before. Breaking through the noise online is incredibly difficult, but I think content marketers are on the right path. I’ve never heard marketers focus so much on solving problems for their audience, which was a breath of fresh air. The content produced for a brand shouldn’t promote a product, which is counterintuitive for marketers. Instead, it should focus on solving customer pain-points and telling the story around the product, not about it.
- Story-tellers are a hot commodity. Nearly everyone we interviewed emphasized how important it was to tell their brand’s story. Every brand, product and employee has a story to tell, but not every organization has hired people with the skill set to actually tell those stories. Brands are looking to hire journalists because their skill set aligns very strongly with the talents they need to produce a high volume of quality content.
- That film degree might come in handy. As brands move to more visual content, artists and filmmakers will see their demand increase as well. Journalists and editors are the primary hiring target for organizations right now because they need people to produce a steady stream of blog posts, but online video is a high priority for content producers and they’re just starting to figure out how to do it quickly and professionally.
- You get what you pay for. Like social media (and social media is often a large chunk of content marketing), people still think about content marketing as being free. They don’t see the costs associated with writing blog posts, managing twitter conversations, replying to Facebook comments. The channels might be free, but managing and producing content for them is not. You can tell a lot about an organization’s priorities by looking at their budget. We’re seeing more budget dedicated to content marketing, but it’s still too small a slice for the value it produces compared to traditional media spending.
Read and download the full report here:
This is my first attempt at live-blogging a panel at a conference. I’ve copied the notes I took below with very few edits to give you an authentic feel for what it was like to be in the audience at Social-Loco. I apologize if they’re a little discombobulated, but that kind of comes with the territory of 6 people talking at the same time on stage.
The Future of Geo-Social Apps
Moderator: Di-Ann Eisnor, VP, Communtiy Geographer, Waze
- Ian Heidt, Product Lead, Neer
- Sam Altman, CEO, Loopt
- Alexa Andrzejewski, CEO, Foodspotting
- Robert Scoble, Managing Director, Rackspace
- Andreas Winckler S. Advanced Technology Engineer, BMW Group
It all starts with context.
- It’s before you go out. Can it help you find what you want? (has to go beyond search though)
- Then once you’re at a place, what do you do? Can it help you figure out what to do when you get there?
- Third is sharing your experience with other people.
- Location-Based Apps (LBA) help you when you’re searching for answers in a foreign environment. Those are the situations where LBA can be magical.
- There is a lot more potential for LBA in cars.
- All of the censors being integrated into cars can add a lot to the driving experience.
- The censors in your gas tank can power an app that intelligently suggests refueling options based on proximity and price.
- The camera is one of the biggest censors for delivering context in any device, including cars now.
- How do we take all these inputs and make them “human-understandable”?
- We’ll start linking emotional state to locations. How are you feeling in a place? Do you dig the vibe?
- The camera drives augmented reality.
- Color is an app that leverages these techniques. It’s aware of the devices around it. It maps the audio of a room.
- There are multiple ways to get these answers around mobile social. Battery is the killer. What’s the most efficient?
- You can use accelerometers to count steps, audio to recognize ambient noise, etc. What’s the most useful and efficient use of your device’s limited capabilities?
- Mobile devices aren’t just used on the go. They’re used in our homes. How can we add value to the home experience?
- What about location-tracking? Privacy?
- Companies have been tracking our cell phones forever. They tracked OJ in 1992 by his cell phone.
- Personalized control. Balancing user-customization with ease of use can be difficult because privacy fluctuates greatly in different contexts.
- Foursquare is integrating everywhere, which is why it isn’t over-hyped.
- We’re wasting a lot of energy because we haven’t optimized our traffic experience, leveraging data about traffic jams, energy
- You can compete with your friends about who can save energy.
- Only 21% of people are motivated by gaming mechanics – limited potential there.
- We’re refining our understanding of game-mechanics and adapting to what’s useful to people.
- Game-mechanics are a great way to jumpstart a service, but it needs to move the product forward to realize its potential.
I am very excited to announce that I’ve joined the Altimeter Group! I’ve posted it already on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but I wanted to announce it here because I’m expecting to devote more time here as a result of this career move. I’m taking on the role of a researcher in support of the incredible analysts at Altimeter and will be spending most of my time working closely with Charlene Li (twitter, blog), Alan Webber (twitter, blog), and Jeremiah Owyang (twitter, blog).
Much of my research at Interpret LLC focused on the new technology disrupting the entertainment industry, but I’m eager to expand that into studying how disruptive technology (and especially social media) are affecting the best business practices in other industries. The level of research into this area at Altimeter Group is unparalleled so I’m both excited and humbled to join their excellent team at this time.
Of course this means a big move for me personally as I just relocated from LA to San Francisco, so keep an eye out for a post on all the websites and digital tools I used to aid my relocation.