We’re going deep into the heart of Texas this month – along with about 15,000 other digital professionals, enthusiasts, evangelists and just plain obsessives for the Interactive part of South By Southwest 2011.
I’ve been trying to get to this event for a few years now and am thrilled that Ogilvy have committed to sending a small team from the office here in Sydney. I’m even more thrilled that I’m on that team, along with a couple of real heavyweights from the digital marketing industry, Brian Merrifield and Damian Damjanovski. The three of us will be covering as much of the event as we can, live and daily, to try and give our clients and colleagues a view of the very near future of digital marketing.
We’ve had great support from Mike Boyd and his team at Appcast, who are whipping up a custom site that aggregates the various twitter, flickr, video, podcast and blog feeds that three of us will be generating from the festival. Feel free to hit the site and sign up for daily updates via email.
The plan is to divide and conquer.
There’s an overwhelming amount of content on offer – some 700+ presentations, panels, keynotes and workshops are on the official schedule, with countless meetups, tweetups, parties, lounges and the inevitable guerilla/ambient marketing assaults on a fairly tech-heavy audience. Plus, there’s a giant trade show/exhibit hall where plenty of startups are betting the farm on becoming the next ‘breakout app’ of SXSW.
I actually met a young Aussie company at a pre-event mixer in Sydney last week that will be launching iTourU, their guided audio tour app for the iPhone at the trade show in Austin – great to see a local crew stepping up to what is arguably the world’s biggest stage for startup launches.
My focus will be to look for trends, ideas and innovation in the areas of content development, curation, apps, mobile, digital publishing, B2B marketing and beyond – and then to try and put that into context for my clients both in Sydney and throughout the Ogilvy network.
Of course, I’ve used it as an excuse to get some gadgets in my kit bag: a completely mobile audio podcast rig.
This one is built from an iPad, an Optimus mic, manfrotto mini tripod, Twisted Wave app, and the Podbean podcast hosting service. I’ve managed to record, edit, upload and publish test files all from the iPad, even on 3G. Stay tuned for the first episode of the official Ogilvy #ausxsws podcast early next week.
I’m spending the next few days off the grid, breathing deeply and thinking about the utter madness that SXSW interactive promises. I’ve got some schedule planning to do, and a few interviews and meetups that I’m trying to orchestrate but I also have an old friend and colleague who is now an Austin – and Digital marketing – native to help me when i hit the ground, so I’m feeling confident.