SXSW 2009: Try Making Yourself More Interesting

Friday, March 13th, 2009 5:00pm
Lane Becker, Get Satisfaction
Christina Halvorson, Brain Traffic
Byron, Texteria Design and Bike Hugger
Omit Gupta, Photo-jojo, Jelly!

“Do epic shit” is an (in)famous piece of art. Oberkirch brings it up in wanting to express his concern to make projects that imact and influence chatter. He brings into account an example of the recent Skittles website redesign. Oberkirch feels as though there are too many people who are releasing websites quickly without looking into what other people are doing. And their business fails because its not “original” enough. Although his speech is not, Oberkirch talks about how we need to be more interesting. How if your website is not original then you’re just everyone else. STFU!

Byron talks about his website Bike Hugger and how people try to put them into a “marketing box” and they arn’t necessarily just being who they are. He continues to talk about how there is a growing need of the creativity in bikes and how technology people are getting more and more interested in biking. “Finding like minded people who are into things, and have the oportunity to get together and be a geek about that.”

Becker talks about Get Satisfaction. When starting this site they wanted to get down the core principles and have them very solid. In their case they noticed there was an interesting break between people’s lifes and the way people use object. However, when they talked to a business about these objects they had a completely different view based on how they used them in real life. “If we can take all of that goodness when people connect to these objects and show companies this then we can make money.” This website allows customers/companies to come in and talk about products and services. If you’re a customer its a great way to connect up and learn. And if you’re a company you can view all of the value of your customers’ participation.

Gupta likes to experiment and see what works. They pitched some tents in the middle of times square and took pictures of how time-square looks throughout a 24 hour period. Jelly! is something him and his friend started in the basement. The whole concept was to have a networking environment where people would meet up and just work on their projects. Strangers would show up in your room and work for the day. Photojojo was another project where they thought they could start something where people could discover new  things they can do with their camera. They made an email newsletter where people could see the most interesting things they could find. Not being able to find things in store everywhere, they started making money off of the website by selling these rare items online and then ship them right from their house. Photojojo only has 4 employees. Then they started doing Photo Safaries to go around and take interesting pictures. The first attempt they had over 100 people and “got in trouble.” Since then they’ve done a total of 5 different outtings last year. He says a lot of people ask if Photojojo is a business, but says the website doesn’t look like one. Although they are making money off of different things, it doesn’t slap you in the face as an actual business.

Halvorson talks about Brain Traffic. This website was not an experiment, but it grew from a one-person web copy editor. People would seek them out and they’d ask for help making textual changes to their content, and then they’d do it, and then it would just sit there and quickly become out of date. Content strategy comes in this order: Plan, Create, Publish, Govern. Plan is something a company needs to think about what they need to do, what they want to do, and what they want to outcome to be. Govern is important when you need to continue feedback. It is the care and feeding of your “epic shit.” If you decide to launch a blog, what happens next? Does anything need to happen next? It probably does if you want to continue to be awesome. You have to believe in what it is you’re working on, and it has to be real. Courage is the biggest thing. Even if you have a lot of success, you need to stay focused on why you started it in the first place, why you loved it, and to be brave on mainting that.

You shouldn’t worry so much on numeric measurments, but instead verbal customer experiences. It is more important what customers are getting from your website, how they’re using it, and if they’re even your target audience. However, some clients/customers need to see that number. They convert that number into a mental similarity with financial gain. To help with budget, you should make small changes that will overtime influence your customer’s view of your company. Just giving a little comment in the email that says something like, “If you’d like to speak with someone, do XYZ.”

Posted in Geeky, SXSW 2009.

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