SXSW 2010: When Swine Flew: Embracing Innovation in H1N1 Response

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:00am
Ann Aikin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
David Hale, National Library of Medicine
Andrew Wilson, Dept Health and Human Services
Andre Blackman, Pulse + Signal

Session Description

With social media and emerging technology, public health agencies can utilize more tools than ever in a public health emergency. In this panel, social media strategists and researchers, working in the front lines of the pandemic H1N1 response, will discuss strategy, innovations and the changing relationship between citizens and government.


“That particular genetic combination of swine influenza viruses has not been recognized before in the U.S. or elsewhere”

Situational Awareness: the ability of a group, organization, or individual to have access to everything they need to make active decisions to create results.

Monitoring Twitter with NLP

  • Processed 1200 Twitter posts (within the first hour)
  • Preprocessed to accommodate format

Schema: UMLS Semantic Types

  • Focus output
  • Schema for influenza epidemic

MetaMap and SemRep Output

  • Tweets: Texas confirms third case of swine flu

Results: Filtered through Schema

  • Disease or Syndrome: Influenza
  • Sign or Symptom: Coughing
  • Location: Mexico
  • etc.

…Basically they analyzed Tweets within the first hour of the outbreak in a calculated system (NLP) defined by some specific search terms to see when outbreaks were occurring, and how fast they were spreading.

More Information


SXSW 2010: Is Too Much Math Killing Marketing?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:30am
Rand Schulman, The Schulman Thorogood Group
Mike Teasdale, Harvest Digital
Joanna Burton, Crescent Communications

Session Description

Breakthrough marketing used to come from creative genius, from big ideas, from empathy with customers. But now all the attention goes to rigorous testing and algorithmic approaches to customer insight. So is the science driving out creativity – or are we focused on the wrong kind of maths?


Amazon‘s PHAME methodology:

  • Identify the Problem
  • Formulate a Hypothesis
  • Propose and Action
  • Identify key Metrics
  • Run the Experiment

Amazon noticed the best way to get someone to buy someone was to suggest to them something in their wish list.

At Google they questioned if they should use green or blue, so instead they decided to test over 40 shades in-between until they discovered which one resulted in the best user interaction.

Google has discovered the most articular formula of all time. Before google came around and made page ranking, and ad ranking. Ad ranking is: Ad ranking = bid price * click through rate. And thus, this causes the most clicked results to bubble to the top making more money for Google and more changes of views for the advertisers with good marketing.

The battle lines

  • Math vs English
  • Reason vs Instinct
  • Right brain vs Left brain

So when does data go wrong?

  • When we start with the data, and not with a problem. Many people look at data with no goal of what they’re finding. Data is really not that great.
  • When we only focus on the things that are easy to measure.
  • When it stops us from taking giant leaps.

You can optimize a better version of the present. But it takes imagination, not math, to take a leap into the future.

The Internet changes the equation. Why?

  • Empirical Data vs. Guess Work or Extrapolated data
  • Tools exist today for optimization
  • But, left brain process thinking!

What is a “Content Engineer?”

  • One part Creator Director
  • One part Data Analysis
  1. Monitor
  2. Measure
  3. Maximize… the do it again!

What’s a better call to action?

  • Buy today – get half off
  • Buy today – get one for free

My math: creativity without conversion = 0

  • Use the Scientific Method
  • Create a Thesis
  • Set up a Control
  • Test against the Control

Many types of conversion events

  • Macro Conversions (ROI)
  • Micro Conversions: conversion to the homepage, product page, forms, optimizations, etc.
  • Revenue Life Cycle Stages

Know your tools – become a Content Engineer

  • Web Analytic & Site Optimization
  • Marketing Optimization
  • CRM
  • Sales 2.0

But this is hard work… too bad! It can be fun. Check out SalesPop.

More Information

Slides (set 1, Teasdale)

SXSW 2010: Customer Support in a 140 Character World

Monday, March 15, 2010 5:00pm
Caroline McCarthy, CNET News/CBS Interactive
Frank Eliason, Comcast
Lois Townsend, HP
Toby Richards, Microsoft
Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group

Session Description

Gone are the days of traditional customer support. In a world of Twitter, Facebook, and customer complaint sites like GetSatisfaction, customers are now jumping online to vent and publicize their customer support issues. But does it work for everyone and can complex customer service issues really be resolved within a 140 word limit? This panel of experienced customer support experts, analysts and vendors, will discuss the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to social media centric customer support. Recent snafus and success stories will be highlighted, along with a unique insider perspective of the internal business and operational requirements that companies must keep in mind when going online. This panel is sponsored by HP.


Social Media is a place the customer owns. And thus, it becomes a place feasible to gather customer feedback. The question becomes is what should businesses do with the feedback? Twitter seems, in most businesses, to be a way to connect with the customer but not converse with the customer.

  • HP has 11 people dedicated, and about 75 actively supporting customers in social media.
  • Comcast reviews over 2000 tweets per day.
  • Microsoft supports about 1200 customers per month online through 6 people.

Basically what you say online hurts their company image, and they’ll respond. But a phone call? Ha! (read the past blog post, and you’ll see why that’s bad).

More Information

#140customersupport OR #140cs
ClaraBridge (Microsoft uses this)
Blue Ocean (Microsoft uses this)

SXSW 2010: AI 2010: Wall-e Or Rise Of The Machines?

Monday, March 15, 2010 3:30pm
Mason Hale, OneSpot
Doug Lenat, Cycorp
Bart Selman, Cornell University
Natasha Vita-More, H+ Lab
Peter Stone, UT Austin

Session Description

Computers have come a long way since green screens; they have evolved into complex creatures. This panel explores artificial intelligence, from advanced cooking robots to algorithms that learn your musical preferences. Do we control AI or does it control us? Are we headed towards cute trash collectors or deadly terminators?


Today AI is still limited to logical questioning and answering. By 2015 it’s estimated that question answering, semantic search, and syntatic search will all be possible. By 2020 there will be a “cradle-to-grave” mental prosthesis. These both assuming AI-learning will become more prevalent giving AI greater potential.

The goal of AI is to create robust, fully autonomous agents in the real world. Well, how can we do this?

  • Build complete solutions to relevant challenge tasks Complete agents: sense, decide, and act – closed loop Challenge tasks: specific, concrete objectives
  • Drives research on componenet algorithms theory: improve from experience (machine learning), interact with other agents (multiagent systems)
  • A top-down, empathetical approach

What happens when we achieve this goal?

  • Utopia view? (Like the Jetsons)
  • Or not? (like Terminator)

Question: would you rather live 50 years ago, or 50 years in the future? It’s not really clear since the world is changing in many ways for the worse.

Complex Issues

  • Enhancement
  • Normality: What do we consider to be normal, and what will be considered normal in the future?
  • Behavior: What type of biology or behavior will they have to communicate with humans?

AI metabrain: The concept of AI being placed in human brains to make “super-humans” and allow us to naturally interface with devices or with each other differently.

AAAI Presidential Panel on Long-Term AI Futures

More Information


SXSW 2010: Gary Vaynerchuk Presentation

Monday, March 15, 2010 12:30am
Gary Vaynerchuk, Vaynermedia


“No matter your profession what’s going to happen is we all have one thing in common. You better listen, because it’s coming hard and it’s coming fast. We’ll all soon be doing Customer Support/Relations.”

You can have a really great product, but if you don’t care about the consumer, then it doesn’t matter. Now a days no one even cares. That’s why when companies, like Zappos, even care then you love it.

Most people want twitter followers so they can spam them, and hit them up with advertisements.

“Everybody is trying to be a 19 year old dude. Everyone is just trying to close too fast, give it some time!”

We love our parents because they loved us first. And we really need companies to love us too, otherwise we’ll never love them back. People have awesome “bull shit” detectors and people need to start caring or they’re going to loose.

We need the “Thank you Economy.” You need to do good first, because someone else is going to do it first and then it will not be you.

More Information

Gary’s book “Crush It!” on Amazon