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Stay weird Austin.

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Day 1 – SXSW

Main points and highlights:

Gary Vaynerchuk: How to Rock SXSW:

“Provide value up front.”

Vaynerchuk makes it clear that SXSW is not about selling upfront, it’s about offering value first and then (only then) pitching the sale. In other words, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

Austin Kleon: Show your work

“Don’t be a hoarder.”

Kleon implores creatives to share their work and collaborate in what he calls a “scenius,” where fans, artists, thinkers gather and steal each other’s ideas. You don’t have to be a genius, you just have to be willing to share your process and recast what others do best into your own art.

Always be Innovating: thinking like a startup

“You can’t outsource culture to HR.”

Culture starts from the top, the founders set the tone. Apple may still be innovating today but it’s not ‘creating’ because Steve Jobs isn’t there to push a vision. As a result, Samsung is eating away at its Smartphone sales.

Meanwhile, Facebook still manages to promote its hacker ethos while scaling on Wall Street. And Larry Page is making Google a design-first company in the name of Google’s altruistic tenet: “Don’t be evil.” But what happens to Facebook and Google if the founders aren’t there?

Why It Pays Not to Rush the Process of Innovation

“Creative tension has to exist.” – Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest

Nest never rushes its products; it takes its time to get it right and develop all ends (the complimentary app, customer service etc.) so that the first customers become the biggest advocates.

Nest steals right out of the Apple playbook. Rogers argues that the best marketing for your product comes from keeping it a secret. If you give everything away, there’s no new news to hype the product. In a twist of irony, Google now owns Nest because it’s trying to be the next Apple.

Day 2 begins now…

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On my way to Austin for SXSW. And this song just sets the mood perfectly.

See you later, New York.

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What is Tumblr?

Even Tumblr’s founder Tumblr David Karp fumbled his answer during his Q&A at SXSW.

I’m sure the more you know about Tumblr the more complex it really is. Tumblr combines the best elements of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. In fact, the user’s homescreen focuses on the primary pillars of content creation: images, video, links, and text.

In simple terms. Tumblr is a blogging platform built on top of a vibrant social community, made up of mostly creatives. Unlike Twitter and Facebook where content gets lost in the feed, content on Tumblr just seems to get recycled, “reblogged” and keeps on living on.

Tumblr is uniquely positioned to take over the waning excitement in Facebook, especially as Internet users are getting used to sharing content publicly. People now want to own their voice. They also want to curate the content they find on the web and share it like it’s their own.

Myspace actually provided the first public expression engine.  But it preceded the mass training of public expression that most people got from Twitter.

Tumblr just feels different and incredibly indispensable. Tumblr built to evolve and take advantage of the latest technologies and social networking trends.

Yes, I’m voting long on Tumblr.  And wishing I had some investor money to show for it. 

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The perils of too big

What goes up must go down. Everything that gains popularity hits an inflection point for both hyper-growth and slow decline.

As a result:

  • Bauer and his label will see limited royalties from his track all while less people consume it.
  • SXSW attendance will dip year over year.
  • Social users will gravitate to other social networks like SnapChat and Instagram

Popualrity signals decline. Hit tracks, events, companies may be around another 100 years but they’ll never be appreciated as they once were.

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“See you on Twitter”

That is the common going away message at SXSW this year for those who follow each other and communicate on Twitter.

Chances are re-meeting that person or developing a tighter relationship are slim. “See you on Twitter” is a nice way of saying, “I like what you have to say and will keep listening but I don’t necessarily need to see you again.”

Twitter relationships are only as meaningful as you make them. You must follow up with the person if you want to cultivate a real relationship.

PS: Thanks to Hugh MacLeod for blogging my picture of his Rackspace artwork. We’ve never met face to face but thanks to Twitter at least he knows I exist:)