South By Southwest Redux
It’s that time of year.
One of my favorite times of year.
South By Southwest.
For those of you who don’t know what South By Southwest is, you clearly haven’t been reading this blog long enough!
South By Southwest is an Austin institution, a now film, music, and interactive festival which I first attended and spoke at in 2000.
In March 2000. Just before the Barron’s article came out announcing all the startups were running out of money (and how quickly).
Just when we thought the Internet bubble had been filled with nitrous oxide, but turns out instead it was filled with hot air.
I remember landing in Austin and having to fight my way through the airport with all the job recruiters running around grabbing resumes from existing passengers. I exaggerate, but not by much.
Those were the days, for those of you who might remember. In this economic and job climate, it might as well have taken place in James Cameron invented virtual world, Avatar.
That same year, a little book had just come out. It had started life as an Internet manifesto with 95 theses called The Cluetrain Manifesto.
Chris Locke, one of the co-authors (along with Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger), spoke at that year’s South By Southwest.
I remember listening to the panel and Locke in particular, getting my copy of the book signed, and flying back to New York City to announce to my associates at IBM’s 590 Madison Avenue office that the world was about to change, that marketing was going to be revolutionized by the “market conversation” and consumers’ participation via the network, and that we had to get on board and fast!
I might as well have been Chicken Little.
It was way too soon to talk about such things. At least, it was at IBM.
Mind you, at the time, there was no such thing as Facebook…LinkedIn…YouTube…bloggers (okay, maybe a handful)…SixApart and WordPress weren’t yet available, and most Internet denizens were just trying to figure out to get in on the next IPO.
Here we are 10 years later, I’m actually living in Austin (it’s a much shorter commute to SXSW), and social media is now basically an industry.
My how things change.
At this year’s SXSW, I’m going to reflect publicly on what’s happened during those ten years at IBM with respect to both our company strategy and social media — and I only have 15 minutes to do it!
The elevator pitch: Smarter social media at IBM has required an embrace of a more open and conversational approach to marketing and business, as well as an integration of the company’s revitalized, crowdsourced values with a simultaneous transformation of its business model. In the session, I will explore how social media helped invent and reveal to the world IBM’s smarter planet initiative.
For the record, my session is in the very last time slot of the SXSW Interactive event, at 5:40 PM on Tuesday, March 16 (in Hilton D). If you’re coming to Austin and are one of the few, one of the proud, who can stick it out for the full 4 1/2 days, I’ll look forward to seeing you there.
In future posts, I’ll also try to point out some of what I would consider the other “can’t miss” sessions of SXSW Interactive 2010.
Oh, and it turns out the sky wasn’t falling, that there was something to this whole social media thang.
And, if you remember your fairy tales well, Chicken Little was always a morality tale about courage…something early social media evangelists know a little something about.
So, don’t let Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey get you down, keep fighting the good fight, and whatever you do, do NOT follow Foxy Loxy into his den.
Of course, it’s fine to friend him on Facebook.
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