It’s been an amazing time at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive this year, and yesterday – the final day – might have been the best yet.
I stopped by the onsite bookstore. Attendees (as well as bookstore staffers) had raved to me about Neuromarketing publisher Roger Dooley’s SXSW presentation, “How Brain Science Turns Browsers into Buyers.” Based on their recommendations, I picked up an autographed copy of his book, Brainfluence. Dooley, who’s also the president of Dooley Direct, LLC, describes 100 ways to use neuroscience and behavior research to improve consumer marketing effectiveness.
After attending the panel centered around Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann, I stayed for presentation called “Surviving Technology,” which hadn’t been on my must-see list. And yet, in the end, “Surviving Technology” was a must-see presentation.
In his first public speech since the hacker collective Anonymous attacked his firm in December 2011, George Friedman, CEO of Austin-based intelligence firm Stratfor gave a defiant presentation. Occupy Austin activists interrupted Friedman’s opening remarks and, after a relatively lengthy mic-check-style protest, were eventually escorted from the room.
Politics aside, the most important takeaway from the entire Stratfor experience wasn’t overtly offered during the presentation: it is crucially important to secure data. Friedman conceded the hackers removed tens of thousands of customer credit card records and millions of internal email files.
At the end of the day, I walked through the very crowded SXSW trade show to see new and featured offerings by established brands and startups. Here are just a few that caught my attention. This short list will also give you some idea of the wide range of organizations that showcase products and services at SXSW:
- Dell gave demos on its latest machines, including the new Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. I made a point of examining the new laptop and was amazed by how thin and lightweight it is. Attendees received a $50 off coupon for systems or accessories.
- Enterprise social management software company Shoutlet unveiled its new mobile optimization and social segmentation enhancements at SXSW. According to company officials, the new mobile Facebook app gives marketers a more seamless way of creating and uploading content across a variety of devices. The mobile app is also accompanied by enhanced capabilities in social analytics segmentation. Shoutlet’s booth was crowded with attendees who waited for demos.
- Technology accessory manufacturer OtterBox lured attendees into its booth with a game of chance, a 20% discount, and a large array of protective cases for just about every model of smartphone device you can imagine.
- Tokyo-based Mashroom showed attendees its new music video mashup platform that makes it easy for users to upload video, mashup sounds and music by many users, and create something entirely new.
- Moofaces was at SXSW to promote its social community and online directory that connects creative people at their real life jobs and schools. At its booth, the company ran demos and handed out invites to join.
- Data equipment manufacturer Isilon Systems (a division of IT solutions provider EMC) spoke to attendees about its scalable, enterprise storage solutions. According to company representatives, Isilon’s goal is to remove barriers that exist between businesses and their data – to help their customers get to the information they need so they can act on it.
- Foundit.net is a Seattle-based startup whose goal is to connect people who lose their stuff with the people who find it. For a subscription fee, FoundIt customers receive tags with unique identifiers and QR codes and phone numbers that can be affixed to virtually any item of value. If the item is lost, a finder can easily contact FoundIt to reunite the item with its owner.
- Representatives from Texas-based startup FONEPOLE told me the new company launched just one week ago, after 11 months of development. The social platform gives an easy way to see and share what’s going on around the location of the mobile user. Using FONEPOLE, users can communicate with friends, neighbors, and even people they don’t know.
- Finally, eBay showcased its new mobile app that displays merchandise related to whatever the user is watching on television. It’s an commerce enablement play for eBay that consumers are going to like a lot.
SXSW Interactive is over now, but you can get a kickstart on learning about the 2013 event by keeping a watch on announcement at www.sxsw.org. The process of selecting panelists and topics for next year’s event starts in just a couple of months.