Friday Fun Facts – What’s on at SXSW?

Well, for the past 6 Fridays I have written about the data we collect at crowdSPRING and how we put it to use. Today, in honor of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, I wanted to share a bit about some of the goings on down in Austin. I am sitting on a plane as I write this and looking over the great lineup of panels, speakers, and parties that await. I intended to give you a Top 10 list, but it was way too hard to cut it down. So, in no special order, here’s my list (with links) of the Top 20 events for Ross and I to attend…. I left the parties to their own separate list – I didn’t want them to clog up my 20!

1.Minority Report is Real: Sci-fi movies have long-celebrated beautiful, tangible, and immersive computer interfaces. Explore the interplay between fanciful Hollywood productions, one-off information visualizations, and useful real-world applications.

2.Plan B: Can an Ad Guy Bring Bike Sharing to America?: In increasingly turbulent times, it seems like more and more of us are wearing an extra hat or two in an effort to make a difference. Maybe that explains why Crispin Porter + Bogusky, one of the world’s most respected advertising firms, has joined with Humana and Trek bicycles in an audacious plan to bring bike sharing to America with a new venture called B-cycle. All three companies share one common goal: positive cultural change. It’s estimated that the U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gasoline a year by increasing cycling from 1% to just 1.5% of all trips. B-cycle can change the way we get around. And that can change our communities, our heath, our environment, and our future. Find out more about B-cycle and why Alex recommends we all begin sticking our noses in places where they don’t belong.

3.AMODA Digital Showcase: The Austin Museum of Digital Art presents a party featuring live electronic music and visual art. Expect video projections, interactive installations, and a Laptop Battle with musicians competing to outperform one another in a series of elimination rounds. Free for Interactive badge holders.

4.Social Media Marketing: ‘Social Media Marketing’ is the start of a conversation about marketing communications using social media forms Ð including internet sites and mobile telecommunication sources. The book discusses the importance of data and analytics both in helping to monetize these media, and in improving the way that the owners of these media market themselves. Marketers wishing to communicate with customers, or potential customers via social media need to adopt a new set of skills and techniques to be effective. The need for dialogue and involvement, for engagement, is paramount. This book discusses solutions that allow marketers to target and measure their activities within social media.

5.Curating the Crowd-Sourced World: With all the stuff we weed through online, good filters are crucial. Who’s best-suited to determine what’s best, curators or the crowd? People have their religion about one or the other, however this panel will focus on the overlap, the grey areas and how curating and crowd-sourcing enrich each other.

6.What your Startup Can Learn from Barack Obama and Howard Dean: made more money online than most startups. So did Howard Dean before him. We’ve spent so much time talking about what happened, but little about how it applies to you. We will go in depth on their strategies from the top consultants and strategists from the 2008 election cycle. We won’t be talking about what happened, but rather about how it applies to you and your startup.

7.The Future Of Social Networks: Social networks will be like air, in that they will permeate everything that we do online AND offline. We’ll look at the underlying technologies that will make this possible, how it will evolve, and the business models that will support it.

8.Designing the Future of The New York Times: What will the nation’s newspaper of record look like in the coming years? Learn about the continuing efforts of old media to reinvent its look, its feel and its mission.

9.Friendship is Dead: So what is a friend anymore? Is it a checkbox or something to collect? Have social networking tools diluted the meaning of “friend” to be someone to add to your collection? Or do these tools allow you to connect with people you’ve never met before? How does friendship differ offline and online?

10.Design for the Wisdom of Crowds: People are often dumb, so how can crowds be wise? James Surowiecki laid the groundwork in his book, “The Wisdom of Crowds.” In this solo presentation, Derek Powazek will apply those ideas to the web, concentrating on how to design websites that empower people to work together to create something truly awesome.

11.Sunday Keynote Interview with Nate Silver: was one of the biggest winners in the 2008 November election, successfully predicting the Obama landslide. Veteran BusinessWeek columnist Stephen Baker talks with Nate Silver, the man whose statistical analysis powered the site.

12.Old Media Finds New Voice Through Twitter: and are Twittering news and entertainment daily – and we’re not pushing an RSS feed. We’re using Twitter the way it is meant to be used: as an interactive, personality-driven tool. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Is this the life raft for Traditional Media?

13.Sex Ed Online: How Teens Self Savvy: Information about sexuality is out there as it never was before. How do kids sort through and use it? Bring your questions, fears and hopes and generational quandaries. Sexy prizes for the best questions.

14.Presenting Straight to the Brain: Is there a way out of the oppressive PowerPoint culture that surrounds us? Yes: skip the fonts and graphics talk, and explore how the human mind learns. When you accept what the research says about the brain, you’ll have no choice but to present a clear and compelling multimedia story.

15.Outsourcing 2.0: Is the World Flat or Not?: Are you building a killer web app or the next great Internet startup? You’ve considered outsourcing, but heard about the headaches. Come see four outsourcing experts share insights on collaborating across borders and time zones, avoiding project death spiral, and how smart startups are leveraging a global strategy that VC’s expect.

16.Cloud Computing: Defending the Undefinable: The brave new world of cloud computing is radically changing how we build web applications. What is a platform, what is a service, and how will the future of web applications be built? More importantly, how do these various clouds compare, and what do the differences mean? Are they ready for your world-rockin’ startup? In this panel, we’ll get nerdy with technical details, you’ll yell at us, and we’ll argue why your app should already be in the cloud.

17.Beyond Apple TV: Next-Generation Systems for Acquiring Content: Products like Apple TV and Roku’s Netflix Player are fairly recent examples of cutting-edge IPTV developments. As IPTV trends toward increased adoption, similar products must help fuel the market. This technical session will discuss requirements and challenges for building next-generation IPTV systems and services using both off-the-shelf and customized components.

18.Happiness (or Not) In Startups: All this talk about having a creative workspace, a nice boss etc. Should you be happy at your startup job, or should you work until you fail or succeed? Intrinsically, shouldn’t your days after a startup be the happiness you are working so hard for?

19.Tuesday Keynote Interview with Guy Kawasaki: In 2006, Chris Anderson introduced the concept of the Long Tail. His soon-to-be released book will talk about the power of free. Will his theories stand up to the tough questions of venture Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki?

20.Posse Blogging: Never Blog Alone: The thrills and tribulations of co-blogging. What’s it like riding herd with other bloggers? This panel of gritty bloggers discuss their experience blogging together on the same topic, but separately on their own blog. Be prepared for a shootout at the blog corral as these blog slingers agree and disagree.

Not to mention the part-ays:

1.SXSW Interactive Opening Party Hosted by frog design (): Celebrating its 40th anniversary, frog design will once again host the legendary opening night party for the 16th annual SXSW Interactive Festival. Featuring a surprising line up of uniquely Austin entertainment, this not-to-be-missed event brings together digital creatives as well as visionary technology entrepreneurs for an unforgettable evening. For more info.

2.Adobe 12th Annual SXSW Web Awards Ceremony – Presented by Adobe: The Web Awards Ceremony is the centerpiece of evening activities at the SXSW Interactive Festival. This year’s emcee is “conscious comic and vigilante pundit” Baratunde Thurston. The SXSW Web Awards are presented by Adobe, Web Awards Supporting Sponsors are Convio and All Web Leads.

3.SXSW Interactive / Film Fusion Party Hosted by Whrrl and JavaFX: Red Eyed Fly 715 Red RiverWhrrl and JavaFX invite you to join us for an evening of food, drinks and world-class entertainment at the official SXSW Film & Interactive “Fusion” party! Hosted bar and appetizers, the launch of Whrrl v2.0, and world premiere of Sparhusen, featuring actress Illeana Douglas.

4.SXSW Interactive Closing Party Hosted by Media Temple: Hot new venue with lots of surprises in store. Be sure to stick around for this end-of-festival blow-out.

And then of course, there is one more “must-see” event (our panel, that is):

Is Spec Work Evil? The Online Creative Community Speaks: The ‘no-spec’ movement has long held sway in the design community but the web has created a new model for design that allows a freer exchange of ideas and inspiration and more ways to enter the design profession than ever before. What does social creativity look like?