We have returned. After 5 wonderfully long, informative and fun days in Austin, TX, the crew is back at home base. As mentioned in a previous post, 7 of us took the trip to SXSW looking forward to learning what's new, exciting and innovative in the social media and technology industries. We weren't disappointed. Highlights from the conference included:
- Online Media and Marketing Association (OMMA) Social: a half day conference that gave meaningful suggestions and techniques on how to talk to our community (you!) and use new social media tools.
- A talk with AirBnB's CEO, Brian Chesky, who shared his success story of launching the travel accommodations site. If you haven't checked out some lodging options on AirBnB, we highly suggest it! Fun fact: Brian lives in AirBnB rentals 100% of the time - talk about eating your own dog food!
- Dealing with 'Big Data': With so many social connections and online interactions now trackable, one of the biggest ongoing discussions across sessions, panels and speakers was the increasingly difficult task of effectively and actionably using this plethora of data to help a marketer better know, interact with and serve one's community.
- The Brooks "Cowboy Run" was a great way for a Chris and Brian to break a sweat on an early weekend morning in Austin. With faux mustaches on and shoes laced-up, participants used the Charity Miles app to help generate donations to worthy causes with every mile run. Oh, and we have to mention, several people ran this even in full cowboy garb...including boots (yeowch) - Now that's dedication!
- A conversation on the future of open source software development by Mik Kersten covered a slew of new tools that allow developers and entire organizations to communicate and improve technology products as they're being built, including visualization of the work being done to help track progress and "map" the iterations of software operations. It may sound confusing, but it was quite captivating!
Another highlight was having our own House Party networking event (a House Party away from home) while in Austin. On Saturday, we all gathered at the wonderful restaurant Parkside, and conversed with some great industry folk and SXSW attendees over some House Partinis. We even got some play in at the party with games like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots and Jenga. Have a look for yourself - pictures don't lie!
We also were able to get in some fun while in beautiful Austin such as spending some time in the Salesforce.com Cloud Lounge, enjoying some delicious authentic BBQ at the County Line and attending the Mashable Party for the 2nd year in a row where we got to meet some wonderful people in the biz and meet back up with others we've come to know.
Overall it was time very well spent in Austin, networking, learning ways to improve our products for you and get in some House Party team bonding!