SXSW output

SXSW update: Since this is my first SXSW since 1990, I’ve had to re-orient myself to the pace and orgiastic creativity of the scene. Thus, no long posts on the relevancy of this year’s SXSW to the real estate industry until I’ve had a chance to digest properly. Nevertheless, here are the salient take-aways, as I see it:

10 Things We’ve Learned at 37signals: make tiny decisions, tiny decisions are easy to roll-back, easy to make forward progress. Break down problems to their “atomic” levels, which allows one to tackle a whole set of issues in a rational manner. Focus on non-consumers; that is, find the consumers that are not using a specific product but need the salient points of that product (why do I need MS Project, when BaseCamp works just fine, b/c I interested in quick iteration, team collaboration, and forward progress, not a status update using a GANTT chart).

The Science of Designing Interactions: Great conversation between an entrepreneur Ming Yeow Ng and Andreas Weigend, Stanford professor. Quote from Mr. Ng “Discovery is the new cocaine.” Brilliant. As social media hounds, many of us have a bit of Lewis & Clark in us. Discussion focused on how to set up metrics to gauge engagement and use metrics to determine what motivates behavior and how to motivate behavior. Glad I read Owyang here and here as well as Peterson here before this session. Here’s a quick search result from my site for more info.

Core Conversation: 10 Easy Ways To Piss Off A Blogger (And Other Mistakes Marketers Make): Go to Jonny Goldstein’s post on this session, he not only summarized the top 10, he adds relevancy.

Designing for Freedom: Anil Dash added great perspective that “freedom” in a vacuum is not “freedom”; sometimes constraints on user “freedom” actually promotes freedom (e.g., he analogized that the constraints of marriage freed him from the pressure to pursue women). My thoughts: Although the pace and iterative necessities dictated by Silicon Valley pressures force most early-stage companies to focus on product features over customer behavior analytics; it’s the analytics side of the equation that will really allow a company like Ning to create a better product than it already is.

Scoop the Story on Your Blog: This was the most interactive session I attended. What was a brilliant move by the panelists is that all five broke into separate groups and had hallway conversations, which delved deep into the many business applications of Utterz. Owyang challenged my group to focus on weaknesses of the product.

SEO 3.0: Optimizing Search & Social for 2008 and Beyond: For a competitor to beat Google, Google will have to 1) faceplant and 2) the product will have to be better than Google. Not likely to happen anytime soon. Google’s the search engine of choice in much of the world, except for China. Well-written content is the key over the next one to two years, as Google is beginning to “understand” contextual attributes in the penumbra of a site’s content. Online reputation management is important to focus on from a brand perspective (i.e., blogger digs and accolades, trademark infringement, etc).

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