Our favorite quotes and comments from SXSW 2012 sessions and panels, with some great insights on branding, digital design and social media.

This past weekend Molly Auer and I gunned it to SXSW 2012 for a jam-packed weekend of social and digital learning (and some incredible breakfast tacos). After flying in to San Antonio Friday night, we drove the smallest car available in Texas through a rainstorm to get into Austin. The promise of killer panel discussions and new product launches helped kickstart our brains Saturday morning, and we got to the convention center in time to be among the first 100 registrants of the thousands that eventually swarmed the building.

Star Group At South By – Best Weekend Quotes From SXSW Interactive

From Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, we crammed in as much as possible. Here’s a sampling of our schedules, which we picked from literally hundreds of choices available each day:

  1. Brands As Patterns
  2. Real-Time Newsjacking and a Cold-Blooded Tweeter
  3. Crowd Sourcing Community Projects Like Tom Sawyer
  4. The Curators and the Curated
  5. Coolhunting and Coolfarming with Social Media
  6. The State of Social Marketing
  7. The Nick Denton Interview: The Failure of Comments
  8. Celebs and Causes: A Thin Line Between #Winning and #Fail
  9. Designing Experiences for Women
  10. HTML5 APIs Will Change the Web: And Your Designs
  11. Designing for Content Management Systems
  12. Interactive Keynote Live Stream – How to Read the World
  13. The Secret Lives of Links
  14. Physical Architecture Meets Interaction Design
  15. Excessive Enhancement: JavaScript’s Dark Side
  16. UX Smackdown! User Testing Techniques in the Ring
  17. High On Line: Applying Psychology to Web Design

Star Group At South By – Best Weekend Quotes From SXSW Interactive

Instead of re-hashing each session (there are a number of resources for notes/reporting from SXSW including Hackpad, a fun collaborative note source), we wanted to share some of our favorite quotes and comments that we heard from presenters. In no particular order, and highly paraphrased…here we go:

  • Today brands aren’t owned by corporations, they’re shared experiences, and the brand is just the interface – Marc Shillum (Method Inc)
  • A good conversation has conflict…hopefully involving wit and humor – Nick Denton (Gawker Media)
  • If all of the rules I’m following were built in the past, how do I use them to plan for the future? – Robin Lanahan (Microsoft)
  • The upper-left corner…where logos go to die. – Greg Johnson (HP)
  • Successful music is built through the right combination of what is expected and the addition of something new…the same is true for brands. – Walter Werzowa (composer of the Intel jingle among others)
  • Over-organizing kills spontaneity – Dave Olson (Hootsuite)
  • We are no longer designing for design or branding sake…we are designing for meaningful order. “Design is the conscious effort to impose a meaningful order.” (Quoting Victor Papabek) – Jared Ponchot (Lullabot)
  • On badges: We’re not in highschool…if you post a good comment we should publish it, not give you a gold star – Nick Denton (Gawker Media)
  • Don’t rely on technology to solve your social strategy, make it about using good business judgment – Joe Chernov (Eloqua)
  • Sharing content has become a sort of indoor sport (with the prize of notoriety and motivation of vanity) – David Carr (NY Times)
  • RedBull thinks of themselves as a media company that makes money selling drinks instead of ads – Noah Brier (Percolate)
  • If we look at the word university…we can see something of the words unity and diversity, which is important when it comes to a website. We need to have a universal look and feel that allows the visitor to experience the brand, but at the same time house and present a diverse amount of content – Jared Ponchot (Lullabot)
  • On brands reacting to negative feedback: Gap was bullied by a mob that was probably .5% of their base – Nick Denton (Gawker Media)

Even in only a day and a half, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the information and insights we took in. At Star Group we’re always keeping on top of hot trends and discussions in order to always be learning on behalf of our clients.

If you want to hear more about our SXSW 2012 experience, give us a call, shoot us an email, tweet us or link in. We’ll have plenty to talk about until next year’s conference. (And we will also tell you where to find the best combination roadside BBQ pit/gas station in Texas)