Shortly before midnight on Tuesday our team landed safely back at home in Portland, Oregon from SxSW. If you have never been, it is a very tiring but energizing event. The tiring part for me comes from long days with little sleep and constant interaction with people. The energizing part is the fact that I get to see people I may only interact with online the rest of the year. The conversations we had are very motivating to where the industry wants to go and how we can be a part of that. My general observations of this year's SxSW was that it was quieter than previous years in a couple ways. The first thing that I noticed was a significant drop in sponsors inside the convention center. This was my fifth year at SxSW and there has been a growing trend of more and more sponsors setting up large spaces in the convention center. This year they were almost non existent. I'm not sure what drove it but it was an obvious difference. The other area of relative quite was the lack of any really big buzz around the next big thing. In 2012 it was applications like Highlight, Sonar or Banjo. None of these seemed to be much of a factor this year. I did try out Highlight again since Robert Scoble and I had a conversation about it recently. He is still very bullish on it. The big app for 2011 was Group.me. I didn't pay much attention to it in 2011 but in 2012 and 2013 it was a core part of my communication with friends. Then you have things like the introduction of Twitter in 2007 and Foursquare in 2009.
I did have the chance to be on a panel this year which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I was on The Secret Dangers of Influencer Marketing with Jure Klepic, Ekaterina Walters and Debra Kaye. I had talked with Jure and Ekaterina at length in the past but this was my first time to really chat with Debra, which was great. It was a privilege to be on this panel with this accomplished group.
The conversation was a ton of fun because it was around what we passionately discuss every day here at Tellagence. As opposed to talking about "Influencers" I really tried to push the conversation towards building community. Influencers has become a very overused word. There are so many tools that give you a list of people that are meaningful in some way but community is much more than that. It is beyond friends and followers and more about the relationships people develop which makes up a community. It was great to see the response to the groups conversations from some huge brands in the audience.
Sessions at SxSW are great but the event is really about building relationships for me. I had a chance to meet with many people that I only see a couple times a year as well as new relationships. Online relationships are great but they are much more deeply formed when you have a chance to sit down and chat with that person face to face.
Overall SxSW was a great success for us. It tends to be a launching point for the next wave of activities for us here at Tellagence and this year was no exception. We have been quite for a bit but for good reason. Stay tuned and you will start to hear more of what we are up to and what Tellagence is all about.