I just got back from SXSW Interactive 2011. What an amazing experience. I learned so many new things, met tons of awesome people and had a great time. Here’s my experience there, as told through my iPhone camera and iPhone screenshots, enjoy!
foursquare American Express SXSW Deal
News broke of this deal with American Express as I was on the way to the airport in the C&J bus. Pretty cool!
Even the rental cars are bigger in Texas
This is the rental they handed me on the ground in San Antonio (had to book a last minute earlier flight due to scheduling of my Foursquare Day kickoff event on Friday). It wasn’t bad to have this to cruise around Austin with for a night.
foursquare court on the Pepsi MAX lot
Here you could play foursquare with foursquare (and win a tshirt) – a huge leap up from what they had last year and by far my favorite place to go and relax in between sessions. Free Pepsi MAX and hanging out with the foursquare team? YES PLEASE!
Celebrate Foursquare Day Cards
These are the cards that Infinite Imaging donated to Foursquare Day – we put them out on the foursquare swag table next to the foursquare court and I stopped by every day to make sure there was always plenty on hand.
Foursquare Day Kickoff Swag
This was the swag table at the Foursquare Day kickoff event I organized – we also gave out foursquare tshirts for playing foursquare just like foursquare did at their foursquare court (phew, that’s alot of foursquares!).
Playing Foursquare at the Foursquare Day Kickoff
If you made it up to the fourth square (the mayor square) you got a foursquare tshirt. Included in this picture: Antony Francis and Alan Danzis (I think) playing foursquare while Miss Destructo looks on.
I got to meet almost the entire foursquare team in Austin (and they rock!). Here foursquare’s Nina Yiamsamatha and I bust out our laptops and do some superuser editing to fix some urgent issues with SXSW panel venues.
SXSW Austin Convention Center
Here is the epicenter of SXSW, the Austin Convention Center or ACC for short
Seth Priebatsch Keynote Ticket
This year the keynotes were on the 4th floor, and to help keep the lines organized they gave out cards to ensure people who stood in line got in.
Seth Priebatsch Keynote
Had great seats for the Seth Priebatsch keynote, here he talked about the game layer. Read more about his keynote here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/pda/2011/mar/14/sxsw-2011-scvngr-seth-priebatsch
Inside the ACC
People, moving, constantly.
foursquare Baby Stroller
Spotted a mom and her little girl putting foursquare stickers on their stroller at the foursquare court at SXSW. So cool!
Sharing a Charge At SXSW
Enjoying some BBQ at Iron Works (THE BEST!) and letting my table-mates charge their iPhones on my Splash Intense battery pack. It’s got more than enough juice to go around!
American Express foursquare Reward Push Notification
Because I checked in on foursquare and used my American Express I got a $5 rebate on my Iron Works purchase. Yeah, I can’t think of anything cooler either! In background: SXSW veteran Ramon Vawda’s twitter profile, whom I randomly met in line at Iron Works and got to have BBQ with.
foursquare’s Austin Unlocked Party
This was the scene at the foursquare party at the Cedar Street Courtyard. It had lines going around the block *on both sides of the building*.
Pee-wee Checks In At The foursquare Party
Wasn’t surprised to see this pop-up on my phone. I didn’t see him though.
foursquare’s Groupon Style Discount
They had a special at the foursquare party that unlocked if 500 or more people checked in. That wasn’t a problem!
Is it live or is it Android?
Sometime’s its hard to tell- oh wai (was on a tshirt I spotted)
Legos at SXSW
Legos, everywhere. Not sure what’s going on here, but they were thinking hard about what they were doing.
Geo-Fencing Panel at SXSW
The CEO of Placecast gave us a download on the latest location-based tools for mobile marketing.
Bacon Cone SXSW11
One of my favorite parts of SXSW is the bacon cones. Yes, you read that right- cones made out of bacon. This one has chicken cooked in bacon, breaded with captain crunch with some strips of bacon thrown in for good measure. Here’s a picture of how Bacon Cone at SXSW10 looked. Seems consistently awesome!
Christopher Poole Keynote
Had seats near the very front for the Christopher Poole keynote. Here’s more on his keynote: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/13/christopher-poole-4chan-sxsw-keynote-speech
Charging the Splash Intense
Due to a mixup my Splash Intense was not charged for one night and it died. Fortunately I had my TRANS4M AC / DC USB Charger as a backup. You can throw any power you want on it and it’ll charge USB devices. It takes AC, Cigarette Lighter DC, 9 volt and AA batteries.
SXSW Future15 Mobile Panels
This was the room to be at at SXSW if you were into mobile. Back to back to back panels on mobile web, apps, design, development, strategy, platforms, NFC, what’s next- you name it.
Aboutfoursquare.com Podcasting: Eric Leist and Chris Thompson
Had the opportunity to guest host the Aboutfoursquare.com podcast at SXSW. Here’s Eric and Chris during the recording, talking about, what else, foursquare. You can listen to the podcast we recorded here.
Aboutfoursquare.com Podcasting: Alan Danzis, Eric Leist and Chris Thompson
During the podcast Eric ran the show and Alan, Chris and I relaxed in deep concentration while we waited for Eric to call on us. Either that or we were tired from our day at SXSW. Yeah, one of those :)
Firefox Mobile’s Real Life Badge
Not only did you get a nice foursquare badge for checking in at their ice cream truck (and did I mention, get ICE CREAM?) they also gave away these cool analog badges to boot!
Firefox Mobile Ice Cream Truck
Be sure to check in on foursquare!
Firefox Mobile Ice Cream Truck Menu
The Awesome Bar. Would you order anything else?
A hole in the wall pizza place off 6th street in Austin. The inside is sharpified. Can’t recommended the food but the sharpie-fied walls are a spectacle.
The CMajor and Her Frisbee
We got handed frisbees by groupflier (a group texting app) while in line for bacon cones. Afterwards I texted my Beluga pod about the experience. *zing*
foursquare Golden Ticket Badge Unlock Display
foursquare was randomly giving out “golden ticket” badges that would get people into a special concert they were throwing with Pepsi. Here golden ticket holders CMajor and Chris Thompson pose with the sign.
SXSW11 = iPads
iPads were EVERYWHERE. It didn’t hurt that Apple opened a special popup store for the event to sell the iPad 2. Forget your laptop at events like these, touch devices are the only way to make it happen at SXSW.
foursquare Golden Tickets
These are what the golden tickets looked like that foursquare was giving away to golden ticket badge holders.
Seaholm Power Plant Smokestacks
This is the venue for the foursquare golden ticket badge holders concert. Unusual and cool!
RVIP at SXSW
It’s a roving RV where you can sing karaoke (and earn a foursquare badge). It was parked outside of the golden ticket concert entrance. If I wasn’t about to go into the concert I would have taken it for a ride!
Inside the foursquare concert
This was on the inside floor of the power plant. The power plant is inactive and used as a music venue in Austin. Very cool!
Notice anything Xtranormal?
Outside the convention center were two of the characters from Xtranormal: the animated video service AdAge said would redefine web creativity and economics. I met members of their team and posed for a picture with them.
Goodbye Austin, Goodbye Southby
Downtown Austin as viewed from the taxi on the way to the airport.
Flying east, watching the sunset over the wing aboard a JetBlue A320. Sarah Wallace had the seat next to mine and made the 4.5 hour flight feel like 5 minutes.
As soon as I turn my phone on after landing I got this text message alerting me that I’d won a giftcard that I entered to win at the tradeshow earlier in the day. Doh!
By far the most valuable tech device at SXSW, aside from my iPhone, was the Splash Intense battery pack. Here I am, already missing Austin and SXSW, making good use of the battery pack while waiting for the C&J to take me back to New Hampshire.
I hope you enjoyed my photo blog of SXSW 2011. Did you take pictures or blog about the event too? I’d love to see what you shared, so please post a link in the comments!
I’ll be writing about this in more depth over the coming weeks, but for the benefit of you and all the Podcamp NH attendees I’d like to share my slides and related links from my Winning the Location-Based Services Game session.
Here’s the session description for context:
Winning the Location-Based Services game – Much has been said, tweeted and blogged about foursquare and Location-Based Services. But what exactly are Location-Based Services and what can you do with them? Why does it matter and what does it mean to win at them? In this session we’ll explore and discuss the different ways we can make Location-Based Services like foursquare work for us, from both consumer and business/marketing perspectives, so we can all become winners of the game.
Please feel free to re-use any imagery/slides/etc from this presentation (and please leave a comment and link back to me because I’d love to know!). If you check the attribution slides you’ll notice that most images are creative commons licensed by their original authors with the following exceptions: The “On a boat” pic, the check in on foursquare to donate $10 poster, the Jimmy Choo contest, the Radioshack checkin screenshot, A winner is you, and also the happy lolcat dog. So keep that in mind.
Here are related links from the presentation:
- Forrester/Myxer 300% LBS growth
- Foursquare Facebook tab app
- Gowalla – Best Buy eyefi story
- Scvngr Patriost find the ring campaign
- MMA LBS ad effectiveness
- Foursquare in space
- Jimmy Choo foursquare campaign (and results)
- Earthjustice campaign
- SXSW Checkins visualization
- Planet Fitness Mayorship Battle video
Tweet the revolution!
Over two weeks ago Nate Bonilla-Warford (of Foursquare Day fame) and I started telling the world about our SXSW panel proposal (Today’s the last day to vote! Please vote if you haven’t and please tell a friend!).
Since then, we’ve had over 1,000 clicks on our bit.ly links and have received a ton of retweets, tweets, facebook posts, likes and comments posted from people wanting to share the news about the panel (including a tweet from a certain someone that uh, had a large effect on our stats as shown in the pic – thanks @dens and @foursquare!).
And that’s only the measurable stuff – we don’t even know how many votes we got. I am overwhelmed and super excited about the response for this and INCREDIBLY appreciative of all the support! So I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone, literally! (Or atleast, as best as I can from the logfiles I have available – and if I missed anyone please accept my apologies and thanks!) So I’m proud to say, and I’m sure I speak for Nate here as well, THANK YOU everyone for voting and spreading the word!
A very special EXTRA thanks to Monica Wright for encouraging me to submit a panel idea, Nate Bonilla-Warford for joining me to make this panel legit and to Jessica Barnett and Margot Bloomstein for all the guidance, support and ideas.
The first round of selected panels will be formally announced September 20th, so we’ll keep you posted. But regardless of whether we’re selected let’s keep the Foursquare Day conversation going – and I hope to see YOU at SXSW! Thanks again!!!
In case you haven’t heard, it’s SXSW panel voting season. This year (thanks to Monica Wright‘s encouragement) I’ve submitted a panel that combines three of my favorite subjects, SXSW (My trip there this year blew me away!), foursquare (you know I’m addicted!) and Foursquare Day (zomg you didn’t know I was all up in that?). It’s titled Foursquare Day: Realizing the Location-Based Services Revolution. Foursquare Day founder Nate Bonilla-Warford will be co-presenting with me on the proposed panel! (UPDATE: Voting ends THIS Friday night so vote now!)
With special thanks to the thoughts and insights from Foursquare Day co-organizer Jessica Barnett and SXSW alum Margot Bloomstein (who has her own awesome panel up for vote!) Nate and I were able to put together a kickass proposed panel (atleast foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley thinks so! [Thanks @dens!]). The panel discusses the current and future possibilities of Location-Based Services, using Foursquare Day 2010 as a case study for how we helped accelerate that future and discusses how YOU can help realize the full potential future through participating in Foursquare Day 2011! Please check out our panel and vote for it! (Be sure to leave a comment here or on the panel picker if you do, thanks!)
Now, as you know, Facebook launched Facebook Places last week, and during the launch event they shared the stage with foursquare (and other partners) to speak about possibly integrating with Facebook Places. Now comes the ensuing discussion about foursquare’s relevance now that Facebook will be deploying Location-Based Services to their 500,000,000 users. Given the panel topic and our thesis about Foursquare Day 2011 I feel that I need to weigh in on the subject: I don’t think that foursquare is going to go away anytime soon. I think that Facebook Places will either integrate smoothly with foursquare to their mutual benefit or foursquare will march on without them to continued success.
On one side of the argument I think that the opportunity for foursquare here is tremendous. Facebook included foursquare at their Places launch event and appear to want them to integrate with their Places service in some meaningful way. They’ve also opened the door up for others to integrate as well (Gowalla, MyTown and Yelp so far). Effectively Facebook has handed the keys to their 500 million users to all these services. Given Facebook’s simplistic “check in and find out where your friends are checked in” service model I think there is a very strong possibility that Facebook intends to completely leave “value-added” experiences like badges, discounts and mayorships to 3rd parties to deliver. This might play out in the way Facebook applications have played out – 3rd parties would compete on the merit of their value-adding check in experiences through the marketplace of Facebook users choosing to integrate their service, or not. Given this opportunity the future is bright for foursquare: Facebook Places integration means that foursquare’s user base can grow as Facebook Places goes (which is already happening, by virtue of Facebook Places being a mainstream LBS educator). A win, win.
Now on the other hand, there is the possibility that Facebook and foursquare will never play nice and/or Facebook Places will not become a force for foursquare to reckon with. Some of these points were explored during the August 24th #4SqCHAT (which I strongly encourage everyone, especially fans of foursquare or LBS, to check out). I found the discussion to be very interesting- here are some tweet-highlights that shed light on this “other side of the coin”-
To recap, the feeling is that Facebook Places is currently just barely viable, Mashable readers atleast still prefer foursquare, yet if only 1% of Facebook adopts Places it’ll be bigger than foursquare. One of foursquare’s opportunities here is to convert Facebook Places users (as I discussed above). But hope for Facebook Places integration should be tempered by the fact that Facebook and Twitter have not played nicely in the past. Of course, since only 1% adoption makes Facebook Places huge the business opportunity is also huge, but it if only businesses are excited about this (I too am guilty of this, thinking from a marketing perspective and being excited there more than anything) then that’s a bad sign. This led the group to think on motives behind why foursquare was created versus Facebook Places, which pointed out that the spirit behind each yields different community reactions (Facebook rebellion as a movement versus Foursquare Day as a movement).
With either possibility, Facebook Places integrating smoothly with foursquare to their mutual benefit or foursquare marching on without them to continued success, it’s pretty clear that foursquare does not need to check out of the Location-Based Services game. Facebook Places may earn the “uber-mega-super-duper swarm” badge for having a larger user base, they won’t take over as mayor anytime soon. However by growing the LBS community, be it through Facebook or foursquare, we all stand to benefit- and that’s why I’ve proposed the SXSW panel. Please give it a vote, spread the word and let us know what you think!
Today has been a foursquare kinda day for me (not foursquare day, that’s different). Today I wore my, cherished, favorite foursquare shirt (that I won at SXSWi by literally playing foursquare on the street with the foursquare team), I got to register a new venue on foursquare as well as log 5 check ins (including checking into a totally new venue for me [nope, it was not the one I setup]), AND I got to spend some time exploring a hot new foursquare analytics tool from a hot social marketing software company. (disclaimer: my good pal CMajor tipped me off to this because she knows I love foursquare and she works for Awareness.)
That said, onward with the awesomeness:
After re-confirming that I am, indeed, the mayor of all 3 MicorArts checkin locations (sans MicroArts SA of course), I started to explore this tool and realized I could use it to find out some awesome stuff that I can trot out to possibly get brands to pay more attention to foursquare and to start maximizing the value of the foursquare opportunity they’ve got in front of them (while helping to grow foursquare at the same time [which, in case you don't know me, is something I'm passionate about]).
Let’s start with Planet Fitness. Take a look at their foursquare analytics. Over 400 venus have been registered with more than a third of those venues having 50 or more checkins. That kind of active check in distribution is similar to Starbucks! Granted, there are over 16,000 starbucks venues registered and Starbucks is a foursquare sponsor, but still- there is a reason they are a sponsor- because people love checking in at Starbucks. And you know what, Planet Fitness? People love checking in their too- so why don’t you step up and recognize? I know you’re atleast aware of foursquare. But think of how great it could be to formally make foursquare part of the Planet Fitness experience! As the video in that link shows, being mayor of your Planet Fitness is awesome, and desirable. Us foursquare users who are also PF members know this. But Planet Fitness, you could harness this desire and bring it to the rest of the smartphone-toting Planet Fitness members (and potential members!) and create so much demand you’ll have to create new franchise rules to accomodate it! Ok, I can’t guarantee that kind of demand :P – but think of the possibilities!
The other brand I wanted to highlight is, Cumberland Farms. Take a look at their foursquare analytics. The check in distribution is similar to McDonalds’ foursquare analytics – about a quarter of the 314 Cumberland Farms venus have had 11+ check ins. WIth only a slightly higher distribution of checkins in their favor, McDonalds embraced the Foursquare Day movement (and heck, they even became an early adopter of Facebook’s yet-to-be-launched location based service). But where is Cumberland Farms with their location based services…ahem…foursquare strategy? While I have to hand it to them for their pretty fun and effective Facebook page, I’ve got to say: Cumberland Farms, look at the numbers! You have a great Foursquare opportunity in front of you and you need to take advantage of it! Here’s an idea- how about free chill zone for the mayor? (disclaimer: I’m toooootally the mayor of my Cumberland Farms- but that’s only a small reason why I want Cumberland Farms to jump into foursquare :) ). Atleast experiment with it guys–at the very least, I’d like to see some participation in next year’s Foursquare Day. The opportunity is yours to make happen!
So, what about you? What brands would you like to see take advantage of the foursquare opportunity? Let’s talk about it and perhaps we can make a game plan for how we can get them involved!
I first heard of Foursquare from my usual news-source: Twitter. I think it started showing up in my stream over the summer last year. I downloaded it, played with it, but wasn’t in one of the covered cities so I didn’t think I’d be able to use it meaningfully. It seemed interesting, maybe something to check out later.
It wasn’t until I was at IMS09 and I was figuring out lunch plans/who was doing what when Rachel Levy (THE Boston Marketer) said “looks like a bunch of people are all checked in at Five Guys on Foursquare” that I realized Foursquare was going to stick and take off. That evening at the #IMS09 Tweetup at the Twenty8Restaurant I loaded up my Foursquare app on my iPhone and Rachel showed me how to make using it fun and awesome.
Then I was psyched for it, I totally got it and I wanted it to show up in MY town and wanted all my friends to start using it- last month that happened. That was almost 3 months later and I had almost given up on Foursquare and even with the announcement I didn’t pick it up right away again. But then someone new joined us at MicroArts – Monica Wright (SEM ninja and all around badass) and she showed up in full Foursquare mode and immediately my Foursquare habit started in earnest. Now I’m hooked and I’d like to get you hooked too. Because the more people who use it, the more fun it is!
What’s the fun of Foursquare? Some highlights: First, it turns life into a game (complete with awards and points to keep score). Second, it lets you connect with your Internet and real life friends in new and interesting ways (“Oh I didn’t know you went to xyz too!”) and gives you plenty to talk about (“I’m taking over as Mayor of XYZ, whatcha gonna do about that?”). Third it helps you coordinate and find your friends if ever the need should arrive (see my earlier example). But there’s another point here that is a real game changer: because you can post a note when you check into a new location on Foursquare you can now give a new location-context to your Tweets and Facebook status updates.
For example: Are you at the Red Sox game? Check in on Foursquare and share your thoughts about the game – it’ll tag your Tweet with your location so you don’t have to explain that you’re at the game – it’ll just be evident that you’re there. Just got a hookup from the drive through at Dunkin Donuts? Check in there and share the love. This means going from tweets like this:
“I’m at the Red Sox Game – terrible call! Anyone seen anything like that before?”
“Terrible call! Anyone seen anything like that before? (@ Fenway Park) http://4sq.com/123456″
And taking tweets like this
“Fun! I’m at DD in Portsmouth and just got an extra donut hookup. The Portsmouth DD staff rocks!”
“Fun! I just got an extra donut hookup! These guys rock! (@ Dunkin Donuts) http://4sq.com/abcdef”
Now, that may not seem like a huge change, but #1 you don’t have to explain where you are and #2 your Tweets contain a hyperlink to a page for the location you’re tweeting from that lets people know exactly where your experience just took place and who else is there too. It makes everything much more conversational and natural – when you’re at Barnes & Noble talking to a friend you don’t have to remind them that you’re at Barnes & Noble when you’re talking to them to help them understand the context of your conversation. Foursquare enables Twitter and Facebook status updates to be just that much more conversational and natural. This makes the entire experience richer and conversations more meaningful. It makes the whole “social network thing” more fun.
To underscore the importance of this concept I’d like to point out that Google made sure to build this feature into it’s Google Buzz service out of the box for mobile users. Anytime you post from your mobile on Google Buzz it asks you to tag your post with the place of business you’re currently located at based on your current location. Google got it right by adding location tagging to Google Buzz – it’s one of the reasons why I’m addicted to Foursquare and it’s going to help propel Buzz’s adoption rates sky high (which is already happening!). As a result I expect Twitter (or Facebook[!]) to ramp up whatever plans they may have had to make a move on Foursquare, or on adding in that functionality to their systems, ASAP.
So, does any of this interest you? I hope so. Foursquare is more fun when more people you know are on it, so get the app and give it a try today! If you’re not ready to jump on the Foursquare love train then why not? Either way I’d love to hear your thoughts…