Monday, March 26, 2012

Lessons from SXSW 2012

A great part of being located in Austin, is that it is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World”. Every spring, we have an amazing music festival called SXSW. For those of you not familiar with SXSW it is a weeklong festival of music, movies and cutting edge technology.  As I find myself in the trenches of SXSW this week, I continue to wonder, how did it all get started? I found an article that breaks down the origins of this well-known Austin festival (complete with nifty timeline and demographics):

The post begins by describing the amazing growth in popularity of SXSW:

 “What started out as a small avenue for 700 participants to share their common interest in music has since grown to more than twenty times its original size. The growth spreads across more platforms beyond music, including film and web tech. Today, South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) is a much anticipated international gathering of fun-loving and business-minded people.”

I believe that what makes the festival continue to grow in popularity is the central idea that people like to gather around and share their common interests. SXSW fosters a community of people that care about music, film, business, technology and emerging interactive trends. With the springboard in place, people will begin to congregate and share.

Looking at the highlights of this year’s SXSW interactive portion, we see buzz around applications designed specifically for improved sharing. For example, companies like Instagram , a very successful app for sharing photos with friends and family, joined in on the SXSW interactive panels, announcing 27 million users and plans to launch a new Android app very soon. There was also talk of a new app called Highlight. Highlight allows its users to learn more about the people in their nearby location. The app lets you look up names, photos, mutual friends and anything they have chosen to share. Meaning when you meet someone, you can see what you have in common with them.

The bottom line is that people will always find ways to connect around what interests them and what they care about. It is merely the changing technology, allowing us to do so, that makes festivals like SXSW so interesting and exciting.

At Sentient Services, we also believe in connecting people around their interests and ideas, just like SXSW and its event goers.

Our idea platform icanmakeitbetter can be used for market research, but more importantly, it’s a community where users can connect around what they care about and have in common. With icanmakeitbetter, members can post, share, follow ideas, participate in online discussions and take surveys with others. The end result of these conversations – help to improve what you care about.

See our platform at work with Dell and City of Austin.  

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