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SXSWi ’08

SXSWi ’08: Michael Eisner on ‘Old Moguls’ Learning New Tricks

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Former Disney CEO Eisner surveys his new project, The All-For-Nots, in concert Tuesday in Austin alongside Adam Schiff, SVP of Dan Klores Communications.

Modern media player Michael Eisner believes that in the next five years the internet will be the No. 1 distribution method for entertainment. “Those people working in it are going to be the Steven Spielbergs,” he said Tuesday in Austin in a SXSWi conversation with Dallas Mavericks owner and Internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

Eisner’s new media studio, Vuguru, tapped the creators of the scrappy Web comedy The Burg to develop a new series. “Once they get over that you worked at Disney or someplace,” Eisner explained, content creators have been generally excited about working with him. The new series, The All-For-Nots about a half-baked Brooklyn band, launched this week with sponsorship from Expedia and Dodge.

Taking advantage of all possible modes of distribution, it’ll be available online, on mobile devices, and on the HDNet cable network; plus users can link to their favorite character/bandmates on social networking site Bebo, which is being acquired by AOL. In an offline twist, the group will play real-live rock shows in order to support the series. “I’m now convinced they’re the next Beatles!” Eisner told Cuban. “Maybe not, but you never know.”

What makes this group so appealing?

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SXSWi ’08: Zuckerberg Speaks Again, We Make It Personal

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at SXSWi in Austin on Monday, just before we got personal with him.

Developers’ Garage at SXSWi. Doesn’t really suggest much intimacy, does it? That’s what we thought. So when the time came to pose questions to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg yesterday afternoon at Austin club Pangea, we were the ones to veer away from talk of API and other initials of which we’re blissfully unaware and launch Zuckerberg smackdab into the realm of the personal that we hang out within every time we log on to his site.

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SXSWi ’08: Breaking: Facebook Founder to Give Another Talk Today

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Hopefully Zuckerberg (left), who spoke personably with complete strangers in the SXSWi conference hall immediately after his Sunday keynote, will bring that affability to an impromptu address today for a hyper-engaged crowd craving substantive talk from him.

According to someone who attended his panel just now, Robert Scoble told the room that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will speak again today at 4:pm at Pangea in an unscheduled session here at SXSWi in Austin. Word has it Zuckerberg wasn’t happy with how he came across in yesterday’s keynote session with interviewer and SXSWi honorary persona non grata Sarah Lacy, and today’s impromptu session will be an effort to correct that.

If this thing happens, we’ll be there to bring back a full report. Stay tuned…

SXSWi ’08: Julia Allison on Facebook Keynote Debacle: ‘They Were Just Mismatched Communicators’

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‘Gossip’ panelists, from left: TMZ’s Alan Citron, Valleywag’s Owen Thomas, moderator Heather Gold, Star editor-at-large Julia Allison, Shaila Dewan of The New York Times, and Twitter’s Evan Williams.

In a SXSWi panel in Austin dubbed, fittingly, ‘Gossip,’ blogger/online schadenfreude supplier Julia Allison leapt to defend journalist Sarah Lacy just after the former BusinessWeeker’s trainwreck interview with keynote speaker-cum-Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that was the talk of SXSWi on Sunday.

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SXSWi ’08: Zuckerberg Reacts to Own Interview Trainwreck

Hustling, post-liveblog, to our 5pm panel of choice, we saw what initially looked like just another cluster of chit-chatters on the SXSW floor. Lo and behold, it was this afternoon’s keynote speaker, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. We got his thoughts on what went down in the keynote heard ’round the world [of Austin, Texas].

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SXSWi ’08: Liveblogging the Failed Interview of Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

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“Trainwreck” was many attendees’ way of describing the much-anticipated keynote.

Straight outta SXSWi, former BusinessWeek writer Sarah Lacy could not have failed more miserably in her onstage interview of keynoter Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. We chronicled the misery.

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SXSWi ’08: Scoble Bumrushes Panel: ‘I Don’t Trust What I See In Blogs For 24 Hours’

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Not his panel? No problem according to Bob Scoble, who leapt to the mike multiple times at a Saturday talk.

In a two-man panel that often seemed more needling accusation than challenging question, Forbes Silicon Valley bureau chief Quentin Hardy and Google senior director of information systems Doug Merrill kept a 100-person crowd on its toes with a spirited back-and-forth on navigating the glut of media we encounter today [Merrill: "I want to be searching [the Web with more context." Hardy: "Well, you're the one with Google on your card."] But the real fun started when, unable to keep from entering the conversation a second longer, leapt up from his front-row seat and literally ran to the mike to rebut not the panelists, but a fellow audience member. What got Scoble so fired up?

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SXSWi ’08: Frenching Fire @ Frog Design Fete

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Overheard: “I wish I could lick that big frog to see if I get high.”

We’d heard plenty about FrogDesign’s storied SXSWi annual opening soiree, and with party lines here in Austin stretching lengths of city blocks, we were wary. But the shindig didn’t disappoint: Keeping the crowd agog was a salsa band, break dancers, and women playing with fire (allegedly, before we joined the slobbering circle, the women passed an open flame from tongue to tongue). We spotted Julia Allison at one point, but her entertainment value was well eclipsed by those hired to put on a show. Our Circus blog has video here, and more pics follow:

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SXSWi ’08: Pete Doherty, Morgan Fairchild Lone SXSWi Stars

Though the real stars of SXSWi are Mark Zuckerberg [whose keynote we'll be liveblogging at 2pm Central today] and Steven Johnson, we have found a precious few who fit the bill for the rest of the world. A good four days ahead of the SXSW music festival which ostensibly should be his Austin raison’d'etre, occasionally drug-addled British rocker Pete Doherty was spotted making the rounds at Austin bar Jackalope. We hear he hopped from table to tableful of women, presumably enlisting acolytes to aid his cause of getting hot chicks to inflate his attractiveness quotient through proximity. On a comelier note, we had a run-in with Morgan Fairchild the other night, whose security [one word: why?] had some choice words for us.

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SXSWi ’08: Dooce Duo Less Corporate Than Us

Joy mingled with pain this morning around 8am, when we were riding the elevator in our Austin hotel (AKA SXSWi’s tech-nerd dorm, where you can’t swing a USB cord without hitting a semi-attractive hipster expounding on “creative potential” in the hallway while sort of giving you the flirteye but mostly trying to check out your affiliation to see if you’re the next millions-making accidental Internet success story they should be sidling up to). What had us so bifurcated?

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