6 Images that Defined Success at SXSW
You’ve read all you probably need to about this year’s SXSWi and if you haven’t, this Mashable article – the Year of Infectious Optimism – did a fantastic job of highlighting some of the experiences and new technologies on display on the Interactive Expo floor. But this article is about 6 images that defined success at SXSWi. We all have our reasons for attending and amongst the glitz and glamour, the screaming plush monkeys, and the semi-useful chotsky, brands, booths and individuals were able to stand out for a variety of reasons that might surprise even the most seasoned event-goer.
Tiny Details, Huge Impressions – the Evolution of the Business Card
Between apps like Bump and DubMeNow and others that have continually tried to digitize the business card, the lack of critical mass to any one application has allowed the older medium – the physical card – time to evolve and deliver a first impression experience that might make you think twice before believing everything must go digital. Is this the last hoorah for the physical business card, or a better way to make a tiny detail create a lasting impression? And yes, that mini-LEGO man IS his business card. Another stand out favorite card was handed to me by the Skool of Life blogger Srinivas Rao. The back of each card was an action photo of him doing what he loves most, surfing. It created instant conversation and allowed Srinivas to describe the particular wave and location he happened to be riding in that forever encapsulated moment. At an event with so much pizazz, it was the little details that made the lasting impressions.
You might be thinking: OK, two guys with near identical fro’s – so what? The expo floor and the event in general begged for spontaneity. If you were timid or afraid to go after an in the moment chance to create a memory, then someone else did. So who are these two gentlemen with the hair? One, I’m still not sure, the other I now know because he took the opportunity to create a moment. The man to the right of the picture was at our TopCoder booth when his “Fro-ternal” brother hopped out of the booth across from us and demanded – cordially – a photo together. Cameras flashed, tweets were sent and then something interesting happened. A community member from TopCoder saw our tweet and wrote in to inform us that the guy to the left is famed photographer Jared Polin whose work has been featured in Rolling Stone, SPIN and scores more magazines. I highly encourage you to check out Jared’s About page on his site. You’ll be surprised to find an incredibly touching story “behind the fro” that will put real meaning to the image above. Jared saw an opportunity to create a memory, he was spontaneous and now he’s got at least one new fan in myself. Well done.
Changing the World, Literally
Self-Plug Alert: During the panel – Open Innovation: Millions of Us Solving Problems, which featured TopCoder founder Jack Hughes, Innocentive CEO Dwayne Spradlin and Popular Science editor and author Jacob Ward a tweet emerged from Alex Howard – the Government 2.0 Washington correspondent for O’Reilly Media – and it really hit the nail on the head.
If You’re Going to Be a Bear, Be a Grizzly
Or as the case for this white puffball, be this. From the moment this oddly cube shaped mascot slowly turned the corner towards our booth, we all began laughing and pointing. Later, on a jaunt across the expo floor, I spotted this distant Stay-Puft cousin and was compelled to wait in a short line to have this picture taken. If that’s not the definition of event floor success, I’m not sure what is. This event was chock-full of cute and fuzzy and odd “things”, still the Glomper guy stood out amongst the crowd and made you smile.
Be Fearless AND Have Fun Doing It
How do you take on an empire like WordPress? You do it with superior usability and a smile. I walked the entire show floor and this seemingly simple – when compared to some of the over the top booths – presentation caught my eye. The name is OverBlog, the mission is to take the simplicity of Tumblr, the power of WordPress and to create the greatest blogging platform ever created. I was fortunate enough to catch a short demo and it truly looked smooth, easy and purposeful. It reminded me of the difference anyone who has used a 37signals product notices compared to Salesforce, it simply looked easier to navigate and done so in a more compelling, cleaner fashion. The 3 co-founders aren’t just partners, they are friends who believe in what they are after. Follow co-founder Frederic Montagnon on Twitter and request beta access via email@example.com
You’ve Got to Come Original
If print is dead, nobody told the team from Jakprints. It was one of those near triple-takes before you realized what you were seeing and after snagging (and tweeting) this image, I headed over to their booth to learn more about this quirky all-things printing company that hails from Cleveland, Ohio.
Yes, there were beautiful booths presented by Chevy, a great Plinko board demonstration of Otterbox and others that caught the eye. But these 6 images that were born at SXSW defined what it means to succeed at an extraordinarily busy event. At TopCoder, we’re used to delivering extreme value outcomes for our clients, at SXSW, we were able to experience a few that really stuck with us. Thanks for the memories Austin!