Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for March 2012

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With Twitter-Challenged Cisco Social Video Guru Tim “Washtub” Washer

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I apologize in advance for the following interview.

A colleague responded to my posting of this video on Facebook and wrote “Wins the award for least content in an interview.”

Noah, you’re really being far too generous.

That said, there’s nothing more fun than interviewing Tim “Washtub” Washer, former IBM social media pioneer and now social video guru with Cisco.

Tim is a comedy writer and actor whose credits range from The Late Show With David LettermanLate Night with Conan O’Brien, Saturday Night Live, and more recently, The Onion.

As you’ll see from our interview, all Tim has to do is show up and breathe and Scott and I would laugh.  Really! The fact that we couldn’t seem to land an actual time to conduct the interview amidst a SXSW chock full of social mediated, geo-located smartphone applications…well, that tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

During his tenure at Big Blue, Washer produced one of the most brilliant corporate social video campaigns ever, “The Art of the Sale,” which was selected as a Comedy Central “Staff Favorite.”  And you know they were reaching for the bottom of the barrel when selecting an IBM video series for such a distinguished honor.

Tim’s work has been covered by Advertising Age, NPR, and The New York Times, and he holds an MBA from the University of Texas.

When we weren’t laughing, Scott and I spoke with Tim about his having left IBM under auspicious circumstances, how he came to be a corporate comedian, and why it was that we couldn’t use Cisco Telepresence technology to conduct such a scintillating interview.

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With Mark McKinnon, Political Innovator…and The Most Interesting Man in the World!

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When I realized I had a way to reach out to and speak with Austin’s-own “political innovator” Mark McKinnon, a former Bush media strategist and longtime political maverick, at SXSW Interactive 2012 I seized the opportunity.

Mark has been a familiar part of the American political landscape for several decades, having worked for causes, companies, and candidates ranging from 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, late former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Congressman Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong, Bono, and many others.

Most recently, McKinnon has served as Global Vice-Chairman of Hill & Knowlton Strategies, an international communications consultancy, and the President of Maverick Media. He is also co-founder of No Labels and serves on the Board of Advisors of Americans Elect, an organization whose stated goal is “to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters—not the political system.”

We spoke with Mark about a number of topics, not the least of which included his experiences working with Congressman Charlie Wilson, the role of social media in politics, and the opportunity Americans Elect has to alter the U.S. presidential election landscape.

Turbo Sports Update

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I’ve been so consumed with technology these past few weeks that I’ve all but forgotten to mention what really counts in life, and that’s sports.

First, and my first love, golf.

What in the world got into Padraig Harrington yesterday at Transitions?  Harrington comes out roaring with a 10-under 61 in the first round, and is already -1 for the day today, still leading the pack.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods says no Achilles heel, or in this case, tendon, will keep him from the Masters.  I just hope his game keeps him in through the Masters weekend.

And Rory McIlroy continues leading the FedExCup points, not to mention the official world golf ranking. Oh, yeah, AND the money rankings.

I’m keeping my eye on a few golfers for the Masters, we golfers’ SuperBowl of Golf. Yes, Rory should be in the running this year, but I also have my eye on Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Lee Westwood, and Keegan Bradley. We’re only a couple of weeks away, so we’ll see how they stack up the next two weeks.

Turbo is 12 for 16 thus far in his brackets for the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Then, there’s the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. I went to ESPN and picked my brackets the other day, and so far, I’ve had four bad picks and twelve good ones.  Pretty good for not having really handicapped the teams this year. Although my Texas Longhorns had better get it together — they currently trail Cincinnatti by 3 in the 2nd.

Way over in another part of the world, congratulations go out to Sachin Tendulkar, cricket “god,” who finally scored his 100th international ton in a match against Bangaladesh earlier today (a match which, in a theme not unfamiliar to Indian cricket fans, India lost!).

And my Premiere League fave, Manchester United, lost 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League, exiting them from this year’s tourney.  This will be the first time since the 2001-02 season they won’t contest a cup final.

And alas, for you fans of the new HBO David Milch series about horse-racing, “Luck,” well, you won’t have much of it. The series’ filming has been stopped due to some horse-racing deaths (three so far) during production.  Once again, a Milch series won’t make it to the HBO finish line, leaving the series’ denoeument to its viewers’ imagination (the same thing happened to “Deadwood,” some of the most brilliant TV I’d seen in years).

Too bad, the characters’ complexity were just coming more clearly into view, with stellar performances by Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, among others, and the cinematography some of the most gorgeous I’d seen on TV in eons.

Written by turbotodd

March 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm

SXSW Interactive 2012: The Turbo Debrief

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A picture from the SXSW show floor coverage from TechCrunch at SXSW Interactive 2012. Be sure to keep an eye here on Turbotodd.com for more interviews conducted by Turbo and Scott Laningham through the course of this year's event.

Well, SXSW 2012 is finally over… And over 25,000 computer geeks from around the world were probably about ready for it be over, fun as it was.

There was lots to be said about this year’s SXSW, both good and bad, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was the best SXSW interactive ever, and I’ve been to quite a few.

I was there for the Mark Zuckerberg and Sarah Lacy interview debacle several years back… I was there for the yawner Twitter interview with Evan Williams a couple of years back… I was even there when Christopher Locke introduced The Cluetrain Manifesto in 2000, just before the bubble burst, and burst hard.

And despite the insane and torrential rains that we had in Austin, which we had been waiting on for well over a year, in the midst of our atrocious drought, it didn’t surprise me at all that the rain clouds followed the digerati to Austin before the heavens would completely open up.  Geeks bring rain!

There really wasn’t any huge new new thing at this year’s SXSW… It was really a lot of the same old thing with a few new ingredients mixed in. But lingering in the air, there was an optimism and sense of opportunity that transcended the often selfish inclinations of SXSW past, one that was more worldly and altruistic in nature.

A spirit that attempted to bring people closer together in small networks to be able to meet and to get to know one another and to get things done. I ran into Robert Scoble, the renowned tech blogger whom I’ve never before met, and he explained to me on the expo floor that the big deal of the event was “Highlights,” an iOS-based application that helps do just that, bring people together in the most serendipitous of ways based on their location and data from their Facebook graph.

Assuming one can get past the privacy implications of such a tool, it’s actually very cool. And I certainly wish I had had it once upon a time in my virtual dating life.

There was also a lot of almost Beckett-like absurdity, including the registration badge pickup line that seemed to linger all the way into South Austin this year. I spent over an hour waiting in that line for my badge, when it seems to me, it would have been just as easy for SXSW to have mailed it to me well in advance. Ever heard of RFID tags??

I did use that waiting time productively, and met someone from a startup whom I spoke with about the mobile boom for most of our time in line. But I’m sure somebody from IBM’s smarter cities initiative would be more than happy to sit down and discuss with SXSW the opportunity that a smarter queuing solution might present.

There were more companies at SXSW this year than ever before, and by companies I mean enterprise companies, not just startups. I saw attendees from the likes of Oracle and Microsoft and IBM in more numbers than ever, just to mention a few, and so the former digital divide between startups and developers and the enterprise seems to have started to close at this year’s SXSW, which I think is a good thing: We need them, and they need us.

The keynotes from the likes of Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram seemed to suggest we’re on the brink of breaking through in AI and speech recognition — the former invented core speech recognition technologies being used today in product’s like “Dragon Dictation” (which I used to assist me in writing this blog post), and both mentioned Watson as demonstrating this new direction. I’ll be looking forward to the day soon when I can run most of my computing devices, smartphone and otherwise, through voice and facial recognition.

But we also saw some nods to the past, including on the SXSW expo floor. There was a machine that presses vinyl records (I’m sure most of the attendees had never seen a long-play record!), along with a killer jet black keyboard from “Daskeyboard” that mimics the clickety-clack spring action of the old IBM Model M keyboard.

What’s old is new, even in technology.

Be sure to come back and visit turbotodd.com in the days and weeks ahead, as I’ll continue to post the fascinating interviews that Scott Laningham and I recorded with a garden variety of digital thought leaders in the IBM “Future of Social” lounge.

In the meantime, I’ll be preparing for SXSW Interactive 2013.

Wouldn’t miss it for all the Austin rain in the world!

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With Clover VP Mark Schulze On The Mobile Boom

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Sometimes, you just have to look to the person standing in line next to you to spark up a vibrant conversation about one of the industry’s most vibrant topics, in this case what I’ll call the “mobile boom.”

There’s no question, mobile marketing was a topic on the minds of SXSW Interactive 2012 attendees, and the person standing in line with me to get our badges for SXSW Interactive 2012 was a perfect candidate to talk to us about it, Clover Network Inc. vice president of business development, Mark Schulze.

Mark is an interactive industry veteran, having held senior positions at IAC/Match.com, AOL, AltaVista. His company, Clover Network Inc., is working to bring smarter payments to the mobile commerce realm, a still hugely-undertapped market opportunity where the industry is witnessing increasing demand for easy-to-pay mobile payment schemes.

Mark talked about this, and the broad sweep of the mobile boom, in this discussion at the IBM Future of Social lounge at SXSW Interactive 2012.

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With Newsjacker Dead Head David Meerman Scott

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Scott’s interviewed David Meerman Scott several times for developerWorks, but never on camera.  That changed at SXSW Interactive 2012.

If you’re not familiar with Scott’s work, you’re missing out on one of the early voices analyzing and detailing the opportunity presented by social media.  From The New Rules of Marketing & PR  to his latest book, Newsjacking, David Meerman Scott has been a consistent and practical voice in helping organizations large and small, as well as individuals, navigate the contours of the new and social media.

He talks about all that, and the marketing lessons he learned from the Grateful Dead, in our extended interview below.

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Digital Influence Group CEO Glenn Engler On Social Media In Regulated Industries

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When you get the chance to a meet a true veteran of the digital marketing wars, it’s a real pleasure. Why? Because you’ve met a kindred spirit, a fellow warrior, someone who has seen the beast and lived to talk about it.

Glenn Engler, the CEO of Digital Influence Group, is one of those veterans.  At “DIG,” Glenn oversees the agency’s strategic direction and operations and serves as senior advisor to established brands including IBM, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, GE, and a host of other organizations.

Glenn’s also a participant in the social media, particularly with his informative podcast series, “Market Edge,” and his blog, “Random Patterns of Thoughts.”  You can learn a lot about a person by the company he or she keeps, and by the people they hire, and at DIG, they’ve hired some of the best.

Glenn sat down with me in the IBM Future of Social Business lounge to talk specifically about social media in regulated industries, the subject of his panel and an arena rife with both opportunity and landmines.

Of course, turnabout is only fair play — Glenn grilled me about IBM and social business on “Market Edge” in October of last year.

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With Converseon CEO Rob Key On The Art Of Social Listening

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Rob Key, the CEO of social media consultancy Converseon, was social media longgg before social media was cool. Rob’s company has been a leader in the art of social intelligence — putting one’s organizational ear to the cyberground and listening for actional signs and signals about one’s brand — well before most of us knew there was an opportunity to be had.

Rob sat down with me at the IBM Future of Social Business lounge to discuss the art and science of social intelligence, explaining both the challenges and opportunities in this burgeoning and, for marketers, critically important space.

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With SearchEngineLand’s Danny Sullivan On Google, Bing, And The Search/Social Intersection

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When I introduced myself to Danny Sullivan at SXSW Interactive 2012 here in the IBM Future of Social Business lounge, I bowed down, as if before a monarch, and explained “I’m not worthy.”

It may seem an over-the-top gesture, but considering the value that Danny has brought to search engine marketers, optimizers, and Web masters over the past decade, the tribute is most appropriate.

We spent a good 15 minutes chatting with Danny, covering everything from Google to Google+ to the emergent intersection between search and social…and much more.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With IBM Social VP Sandy Carter: 5 Social Media Surprises

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Nobody at IBM has been a bigger champion of social media and social business than Sandy Carter, our VP of Social Business Enablement.  Sandy has had a long and storied career at Big Blue, including helping run and transform our Tivoli line of business as its vice president of marketing (where, in the spirit of full disclosure, I once upon a time helped run that line of business’ Web site).

Sandy’s been spending a lot of time on planes lately meeting with customers from around the world and hearing their needs, challenges, and opportunities with respect to social business.  If you’d like to discover what she’s been hearing, check out her informative interview below.

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