Archive for March, 2008

Picture Time

Hi everyone! Giving y’all a break from the discussions with picture time! :)

Antonia and I were living baller status on the 20th floor (highest level of occupancy) on the first night. But, the smell of paint and our well being was over ruled so we had to change rooms. We got downgraded to the 6th floor. The view changed from over looking downtown Austin to this…

Looking out into another building…into someone’s office.

More glass.

Looking down into the waiting area.

My badge. “The?!” Gap Inc.

Tote full of nothing good (ton of brochures/magazines/flyers, 3d glasses, fortune cookie, etc….)

Entrance to the convention…

Lego Land!

Cool little Lego building.

Excuse the reflection, but it was a cool line up of Legos.

Miss Antonia is ready to start taking notes on her laptop – so tech savvy.


Random people in the convention.

Austin Convention Center
Side stairs of the convention.

This building looked like a painting…

Never found out what this building is called. But, it was beautiful.

Wu Tang

Don’t Mess With Texas
Don’t mess with Texas!


March 18, 2008 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

Applications, Widgets, Media That Sort of Thing

Peas in a Pod: Advertising, Monetization and Social Media
Tim Kendall, Product Manager, Facebook
Ellen McGirt, Sr Writer, Fast Company
Kent Nichols, Ask a Ninja
Seth Goldstein, CEO, Social Media Networks

This panel was in one of the larger ballrooms, but I still had to sit on the floor in the very back. I had no idea who was talking since my view was obstructed by many chairs. Sitting on a hard floor was uncomfortable within 10 minutes, but I still managed to get some interesting thoughts from the panelists…

Facebook expresses one’s identity and lets you share it with your friends. Applications that can express this identity are successful. Widgets are bling for your blog (ie, sports scores). The minute they turn interactive or social, it becomes an application.

The key to applications is to always provide a social context. An easy way to let the user invite friends (without spamming) will also help sustain a successful application.

The virtual world enables social relationships that you can not do in reality. For example, the food fight application, everyone wants to do this in real life, but they can’t. By having this fun, quick and easy to use application, you’re able to throw a pie at someone’s face without getting in trouble.

A social dynamic offline can also be transitioned to online. The happy hour application lets you have a virtual happy hour with all your friends with a click of a button.

Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, McDonald’s…all these big corporations want to reach the FB user. But they do not succeed because it is a communicating problem. Also, FB users do not care about the brand. Who wants to have a Crest application on their profile page?

These companies want to embrace the new technology. But, they have been in the traditional advertising medium for so long that it becomes a very slow transition to the interactive world. They are scared to take the lead and it will take a long time to change the culture of norm.

Advertising on FB has become an extremely attainable and profitable convention. It only costs 50 cents compared to $20-30 for digital. “Peerfluence” – how do you come up with an ad that will influence you and your peers? That’s the challenge. Another challenge is how do we weave advertising into the platform. You don’t want it to be intrusive (in my opinion, MySpace’s homepage – ads fill the entire screen).

Social ads are very targeted and can produce great results. If you want to buy a camera, you will get an ad for a camera on FB. We understand more and more of what you don’t like and like.

March 13, 2008 at 1:02 am Leave a comment


Dinner for Monday night was at Manuel’s in downtown. Unfortunately, the theme of most eating events is getting stuffed to the point where our buttons are popping. :X Everything IS truly big in Texas.

Antonia and I heard of this dish called, Queso – cheese in Spanish. We heard great things about it and immediately wanted to order it when we saw it on the menu. I’m not a big fan of cheese, but hey, I was determined to have an authentic dining experience in Texas.

Turns out, it’s a bowl of melted cheese (what else was I expecting? No idea). It came in a small bowl of Monterey jack and cheddar cheese with chopped jalapeños and a scarce amount of tomatoes….all topped with a layer of oil. Sounds gross and definitely did not look that appetizing to me. I put a little amount of the mixture into a tortilla and I was instantly satisfied. Basically, a quesadilla.


Oh my…and the chips and salsa! Before the queso came, I was munching away on chips (on too many, I might add). It was fresh and hot when it arrived to our table. The salsa was ok, but I LOVED the chips. I’ve never had this type of tortilla chips before. It tasted like Sun Chips – the same texture, but without the flavor. Surprisingly, they weren’t greasy and left your fingers oily. They tasted like they were baked…yum. I would love to order a bag if I could….

My next dish was a plate of chicken enchiladas in mole sauce with black beans and rich. It was raved as “Austin’s best enchilada.” Quite good, but after finishing only my first enchilada, I could not eat anymore. Somehow, I did finish both. :X

Looks like a blob, I know, which it was.

Antonia’s sizzling beef fajitas

I was too stuffed for dessert but I was ready for them to roll me out of the restaurant and carry me to my bed.

March 12, 2008 at 6:43 pm 1 comment

A Mixture of Mediums

The Web Agency: There Will Be Blood
Chris Bernard, User Experience Evangelist, Silverlight/Microsoft Corp
Kevin Flatt, Exe Creative Dir, Tribal DDB
Garrick Schmitt, VP, User Experience, Avenue A | Razorfish
Brooke Nanberg, Exec Creative Dir, ip pixel
Peter Eckert, Chief Creative Officer, Projekt202

There Will Be Blood

According to Garrick Schmitt, the number one tool to succeed is to understand and analyze data of how the customer interacts and behaves. From this data, you can adapt to the customer.

You must know the customer. Maybe the customer doesn’t want you to be there and certain channels make sense than others. You need to find what’s right for the customer and engage it.

Old advertising is working with print, tv and radio. It is no longer that way. We need to mix interactive mediums with audio, visual and motion. The distribution of our messages no longer rely on these traditional methods. Ads are blending marketing messages and entertainment to keep the customer amused.

Social media NEEDS to be in the business model no matter what. Clients and marketers need to embrace the new medium. We need to sell the connection of people – an emotional aspect that adds human-ness to our product. It is the most effective way to attract customers.

Lastly, sustain the experience of the customer and engage them to interact with each other.

March 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment


Design Eye for South By
Andrei Herasimchuk, Principal, Involution Studios
Bronwyn Jones, Sr. Writer, Apple Inc.
Paul Nixon, Sr. Art Dir, Apple Inc.
Keith Robinson, Creative Dir, Blue Flavor
Ryan Sims, Lead Designer, Virb Inc.

Design Eye

Design Eye is an experiment in which a team of designers and writers collaborate to bring a fresh vision to an existing web site. You can check out their site to see their new ideas for Craigslist and a couple of other sites. This year, they’ve decided to change the online registration page on SXSW’s web site.

Design Eye

The team wanted to showcase the actual experience of being at SXSW. They broke the idea down to:


Design Eye

SXSW is not just about the information you learn from all the different panels, but it’s also about meeting people and having face-to-face interaction. I find this very true. I’ve met several people already. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation at one of these conventions. SXSW has even incorporated “hallway-conversations,” a place where you can discuss the panel you just saw with others.

The redesign is a portable social network. Instead of focusing on the 3 major conventions – music, film and interactive, the team chose to focus on profile, events and parties.

The new profile page captures all the other social networks you use (Twitter, FB, Vimeo, Pownce, LinkedIn, etc.) in one place – your profile page. By having one place for this, you’re able to share and interact with people on a grander scale. A user can go to your page and gather all the information they want about you. It encapsulates our normal behavior of how we already do things.

Design Eye
Click to view larger

In the events, the user can include all the panels or other events she’s going to. This page will enable another user to find out if she wants to attend too. A quick, interactive map is also necessary to navigate around the city.

Design Eye
Click to view larger

Lastly, the parties page is quite straight forward. Which parties are you going to? I want to go too! Photos and videos are highlighted a lot more on this page, because seriously, that’s all we care about.

Design Eye
Click to view larger

The actual process is supposed to be easy. Filling out a form really quickly to include what you and don’t want on your personal space. From there, it will dynamically feed from all of the user’s other networks.

The pages use the original SXSW design style (block, 3D letters, grainy background), so I personally, don’t think it is amazing in that sense. In terms of the content of the pages, I really like it. I think it’s smart to have one page with all your social networks. It’d be easy for me to find out which panel that random person I just met is going tomorrow. The redesign is a lot more accessible than having to go to that person’s Twitter and then having to go to Flickr to see her photos.

It’s an interesting concept and really captures the greatness of SXSW – interacting with each other. It also enables the user to get ready for the conference, enjoy it and then relive it.

March 12, 2008 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

The Most Inspiring Keynote

Keynote: Frank Warren

“We don’t keep our secrets; our secrets keep us. And sharing them takes courage but ultimately allows you to be free.” – Frank Warren

If you haven’t heard of PostSecret or Frank Warren, please check out PostSecret when you have the chance.

I went to this panel with excitement. I really like PostSecret and couldn’t wait to hear Frank Warren speak.

Post Secret

He started the presentation with this touching video:

PostSecret started as an art project a few years back. He went around Washington, DC with index cards and passed them out to strangers on the street. One side was blank, while the other asked the person to write a secret, any secret and to drop it in the mailbox anonymously. Soon, he started to receive these postcards back and he was amazed by the art, beauty, wisdom, soul and thoughtfulness of each one. But, the postcards didn’t stop. He kept getting them and getting them, from all over the world. Warren quickly became “the most trusted stranger in America.”

Currently, Warren has a collection of 200,000 secrets and posts 20 every Sunday. He receives secrets written on everything from wedding announcements, parking tickets, a Rubix Cube (the person wrote 6 different secrets and he had to solve it to read them) and Starbucks cup (“I serve decaf to customers that are rude to me”).

Before the panel began, attendees were allowed to write their own secret to be shared to the audience. One secret that immediately got a huge reaction was, “My job sent me to SXSW to steal ideas from start-ups. I’m here pretending to be a freelancer.” Wow.

Warren wanted to share these cards with the world, so he started a blog. The Internet is a powerful, free and open tool fore everyone. It’s an online community that is self-growth and organizes itself. By creating a blog, he was able to share the human experience with everyone.

Warren noticed two themes while collecting these postcards:
1. The secret is underneath – we face the problem
2. We all have potential to change our life – we can liberate ourselves from the secret

The secrets reveal humor, beauty, art, wisdom, the soul of the creator. Each artwork is meticulously designed and each word is painstakingly chosen. Warren articulates that there’s an artist born in all of us. These postcards show that the role of the artist is expanding.

One extremely powerful quote he said during the presentation was “All of us have a secret that breaks our heart and if we find it, we’ll understand and have more compassion in the world.” He believes that together, if we share our secrets with each other, we can change the world.

Next came a huge surprise! Warren asked if anyone had a secret to share. A guy walked onto the stage and proposes! WOW. There was a long pause and everyone was looking for the girl. When he saw her make her way down the long aisle, he said, “Hurry, I’m shaking up here. There’s a lot of people.” She came on stage and of course, she said yes. It was so sweet.

Post Secret

“Free your secrets become who you are.” Every time I read or hear that, it gives me chills. It is so strong and inspiring. With those last words, the entire audience gave him a standing ovation.

Wow. Definitely a lot better, amazing and heart-warming than yesterday’s disastrous keynote from Zuckerberg. :)

Here’s the keynote visually from Sunni Brown of Brightspot Information Design:

Visual Information Design - Frank Warren Keynote
Click to view larger / Photo Source

March 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

You, You and You

Social Networking and Your Brand
Paul Boag, founder, Boagworld
Jina Bolton, Sushi & Robots
Mark Norman Francis, Web Architect, Yahoo! Europe
Steve Ganz, LinkedIn
Steve Smith, Web Guy, Ordered List

Steve Ganz with his mullet. I really wish I took the other panelists’ pictures…they were all funny, but this was the funniest…

This panel turned out to not be as applicable as I thought it would. When I had read the description for this panel, I thought it would be about your brand – the company you work for, whatever it may be. But, it was more about YOU, personally, as a brand in the Internet world.

This panel defined social networking as any kind of interaction between two or more people online or offline. Paul Boag had a great description of brand, “The promise of an experience that the customer will have with that entity.”

There were tips and tricks such as using just one common brand name to differentiate between you and the world. By doing this, you are creating consistency and being memorable to the audience.

You should also commit to your brand by keeping active. By being active, you can increase your posts, threads and responses. The more active you are, the more your brand will be recognized and reputable.

Lastly, you should be you. The more genuine you are, the better and more reputable you will become.

March 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

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