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SXSWi Keynote: Tina Roth Eisenberg on Side Projects, Eccentric Aunts

Perhaps best known by her nickname “Swiss Miss,” graphic designer and entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg took the SXSW Interactive stage for the second featured keynote of the festival.

Aside from running the popular design blog and studio Swiss Miss, Roth Eisenberg is the driving force behind nationwide events series Creative Mornings, collaborative workspace Studiomates, to-do app TeuxDeux, and temporary tattoo company Tattly. In other words, side projects are pretty much her thing. While yesterday’s keynote featuring SpaceX/Tesla Motors CEO Elon Muskfocused predominantly on technology, Roth Eisenberg used her time to inspire creatives to use their enthusiasm to find success. Inspired by her Swiss aunt, a fashion designer and artist, she emphasized the importance of creatives surrounding themselves with other creative people saying, “Nothing more refreshing than being around people who are passionate about what they do.”

For creatives hoping to find the same type of success as herself, Roth Eisenberg listed these 11 steps:

  1. Invest your life in what you love
  2. Embrace enthusiasm
  3. Don’t complain, make things better
  4. Trust and empower
  5. Experiences > money
  6. Surround yourself with likeminded people
  7. Collaborate
  8. Ignore haters
  9. Make time to think and breathe
  10. If an opportunity scares you, take it
  11. Be someone’s eccentric aunt

“Real connections are not made through computer screens,” Roth Eisenberg says. The immense growth of Studiomates and Creative Mornings in a short amount of time is undoubtedly a testament to Roth Eisenberg’s own passion and emphasis on creative collaboration.

SS+K Bows ‘SX6S’ at SXSWi

In case you missed it here in Austin this weekend, you may have caught SS+K’s unveiling of its new Vine search tool, dubbed “SX6S,” which lets you plug into all #sxsw tagged Vines from Twitter during the festivities and for specific #sxsw related vines via hashtag. Yes, barbecque lovers need not waste time with other silly apps when this one will fill you in. If you have a minute, watch the teaser above and look for the New York-based SS+K’s full highlight reel after the event closes.

Our SXSWi Begins with Revelry in JWT’s Turf

Yeah, the time change didn’t work in our favor,  but yes kids, we are here and broadcasting as well as we can. After flight delays and getting our badge just in the nick of time last night before the Austin Convention Center shut down, we hit up the JWT party at Lustre Pearl. Following a brief encounter down the street with a very cordial Alex Jones, who was doing his usual ranting and raving fresh off a protest downtown, we ventured down Driskill and encountered the homely spot, Lustre Pearl, where JWT played host to the band, Walk Off the Earth (below). Gotye cover aside, we were not so enthused with the multi-instrumental act, which sounded like a jam-band version of Arcade Fire, if that’s possible.

Nevertheless, talking shit with industry heads and all the JWT top brass including Jeff BenjaminMauro Cavelletti and Perry Fair, the last of whom is promoting the agency’s pop-up shop, Walter, was fine enough. Besides, don’t tell me you wouldn’t dance like an idiot in a sea of fog to Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” if you didn’t just retain a major client. We will be hitting up Draftfcb, Crowdtap and Barbarian events tonight and will promptly be in bed my midnight. But we’ll talk to you beforehand with some panel thoughts.


Here’s a SXSWi 2012 Infographic

Whether you needed it or not, we present you with this SXSW Interactive 2012 infographic that comes to us courtesy of Dallas-based digital shop Agency Entourage, which culled info from the likes of our sibling site Social Times as well as other destinations such as Mashable, People Browsr and Business Insider. As anyone could have predicted, attendance numbers skyrocketed this year and yes, we’ll let this year’s fest go, once and for all, with this. Check out the full-size infographic, which gives a little year-to-year perspective, after the jump.

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Let’s Wax Nostalgic with ‘One.Mega.Pixel’

Just when we thought we were out, SXSW pulls us back in. This should probably be one of the last remnants, at least on this site, of what was at SXSWi 2012.  If you haven’t heard about this, well here goes. From what we’ve been told, a team from RAPP New York decided to activate four first-generation camera phones and go-a-photoblogging in Austin.

The end result is a Tumblr destination called “one.mega.pixel,” which shows you just how far our little handhelds have come in 10 years. According to the tipster who sent us the link (and who we assume is from said RAPP team), “In an era of apps that recreate nostalgic film quality like instagram, we use old digital technology to create an ‘old filter. Though the 2012 Interactive portion is now in the books, it’s perhaps worth taking a quick peek at some of the grainy goings on this year.

So, What’s Our Takeaway from SXSWi 2012?

To sum up our literally 52-hour experience at SXSWi this year, we decided to just break down a couple of things that came to mind in terms of notes, what stood out and what was learned. Well, first of all,  yours truly literally flew in Saturday afternoon, dropped stuff off at the Embassy Suites on South Congress, got the press badge, and then met up with a certain partner-in-crime of mine here named Bob Marshall.

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SXSWi Party Recap: The Barbarian Group and Tumblr ‘Robotrip’

SXSW Interactive 2012 went out with a bang this year, as Tumblr and the Barbarian Group took over one of Austin’s most famous indoor/outdoor venue, Mohawk.

Aside from holding claim to maybe the best venue in Austin, the Barbarians were able to bring SXSW Interactive’s most-impressive musical lineup to the show, with the bill including the likes of Japandroids, Kool Keith, Bear in Heaven, Matthew Dear, and Wavves (pictured above). While advertising industry concertgoers schmoozed in the upstairs VIP era, the standing area near the stage was at a constant level of intensity, featuring relentless moshing and body-passing, especially during Wavves’ set.

Outside, the waiting line snaked around the block. But, a lucky few had access to the R/GA Shuttle, a double-decker bus that carted around R/GA employees and their clients throughout the course of the conference. Why wait in an hour-long line when you can peer over the fence from the comfort of a party bus?

The “Robotrip” party (I don’t know what’s up with the name, either) served as the perfect transition from SXSW Interactive to the Music portion of the festival. Sure, you could’ve celebrated across town at GSD&M’s “Industry Party,” or you could’ve rocked out with some Barbarians and a ton of non-industry, non-badge-holding music fans dancing feverishly to their favorite bands. To be frank, I’m happy I picked the latter. Now, on to Music!

Op-Ed: Carmichael Lynch Strategist Shares His SXSWi Experience

Since yours truly is back home from SXSWi, figured I’d give the floor to someone who can offer some fresh, outside perspective on the Austin happenings. This little ditty comes to us from Tim Letscher, senior strategist at Carmichael Lynch, who like others can’t help but mention Highlight.

SXSW Interactive is called many things – geekfest, spring break for nerds, networking lovefest, etc. – and of course there’s the inevitable debate about whether or not it’s jumped the shark. But with thousands of tech/startup/marketing folks packing the streets of Austin, there’s no doubt that at SXSW we collectively crash into the future.

One of my personal highlights this year included Sunday’s keynote from futurist Amber Case, in which she boiled down the advancements in computer interfaces into the three properties of water – solid, liquid and air. Your thousand-button TV remote is a solid, with a tiny nub for every function. Your contextual iPhone keyboard is liquid, adding or changing buttons to suit any task at hand.  What’s to come is the invisible interface, one that is ambient and helpful based on the context of where and what you’re doing. Millions of us walk around with supercomputers in our pockets and bags. iPhones and Droids and Windows phones that know where you are, where your friends are, what time it is, what the weather is like, etc.  And we’re headed towards an even more connected future based on proximity and commonality.

Speaking of proximity and commonality, one app making a big splash at SXSW this year is Highlight, which uses data from your Facebook profile and in real-time shows you who is close by and if you have mutual friends or shared interests.  Already, a colleague noted that he “found” a friend he hasn’t talked to since junior high.  Pretty cool.

So where do brands fit in? Soon enough they will soon forge relationships around those serendipitous moments provided by apps like Highlight — though they must tread carefully, and it won’t be right for every brand. (Especially because of the potential creepy “Minority Report” factor.)  Done right, brands will augment these experiences in a way that’s useful and valuable to consumers. Done wrong, the damage to a brand’s reputation would be hard to repair.

SXSWi Recap: User-Generated Chuckles at the CNN Grill

In case you missed the rumor mill today, Austin is buzzing with the news of CNN’s acquisition of social media and tech journal, Mashable. Of course, just because everyone from Reuters to The New York Times is predicting the sale doesn’t mean that anything’s changed at the SXSW CNN Grill, where the show went on for the fourth consecutive day.

Brooke Baldwin, anchor of CNN Newsroom, sat down with two young Internet celebrities to discuss the world of viral Internet comedy. Kevin Wu, best known online as “KevJumba,” spoke of his move from MMORPG’s to online video. After his parents shut down his World of Warcraft account, Wu moved to the online stage to, as he put it, “make friends.” “Friends” of his have included the likes of NBA star Jeremy Lin as well as Chicago-based singer-songwriter, Richard Marx. Kevin’s online popularity has led him to become a YouTube partner, profiting off of the site’s revenue-sharing system it has in place with viral sensations.

Also featured on the panel was Issa Rae, best known for her web series, “Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl.”  Rae began her rise to online comedy stardom as a student at Stanford University with a series called “Dorm Diaries,” focusing on what’s it’s like to be a black student at Stanford. Now Rae is setting her sights higher, saying, “I want to make a difference in the world.” With her Kickstarter campaign to raise capital for season two of “Misadventures of an Awkward Girl,” Rae raised over $56,000 in just 30 days, well exceeding her initial $30,000 goal. Recently, her videos have included cameos from the likes of Emmy-winning writer, rapper and star of NBC’s Community, Donald Glover.

Despite web popularity, Rae and Wu are finding it hard to break into mainstream media, predominantly because their racially charged humor isn’t all that appealing to traditional broadcast channels who find comfortability in “safe” content. Despite that hurdle, both are dedicated to using their popularity and celebrity contacts to continue their comedy. So, advertisers, if you’re looking for “hip” online sensations with a rabid fanbase to endorse one of your products or star in some viral content, look no further.

How to Speak With Confidence At SXSW

Stepping in front of that Austin audience may not sound hard at first, but public speaking pros warn that being an engaging and helpful panelist takes planning.

“Many people think they can just wing it — I’ve seen it a hundred times — but it’s important to do your homework,” said frequent panelist Nicole Williams, founder and CEO of the career website WORKS by Nicole Williams.

South By Southwest organizer Christine Auten advised, “Look [the panelists] up on LinkedIn and see what groups and organizations they’re part of.” By reading up on interviews they’ve given in the past, you can glean clues as to what they’ll say again and how you can add to that perspective or counter it.

For more tips on wowing the South By crowd, read How to Be a Great Panelist at SXSW (or Any Other Conference). [sub req'd]