Archives for posts with tag: SXSW

– Just met a brilliant user experience designer from Iowa. Very insightful and forward-thinking.

– Shared a cab with an entrepreneur developing an VRM application. I didn’t even have to sign an NDA.

– Stood in a coffee line with someone who’s working feverishly to help the Earthquake/Tsunami victims on Japan through Social Media.

And, I’ve been here for only 2 hours.


I proposed a keynote entitled “Let’s kill advertising and start over.” The keynote will explore the journey beginning with CRM to Social CRM to my hope for the future: VRM.

In brief, VRM gives people the power to interact with brands on their terms. People will regain ownership of their personal data and decide themselves who they want to share this information with. This has many advantages for all stakeholders:

  • It gives companies a much better understanding of the market, reducing the waste of the current guessing game we call advertising
  • Data is not housed in silos, allows for more opportunities to interconnect systems
  • VRM is based on opt-in, improving trust between brands and people. Increasing likelihood they will be open to your message
  • It opens the market up for real competition
  • VRM is the perfect companion for the evolving prosumer.

Here are a few more thoughts about VRM: Let’s leapfrog from Social CRM to VRM and Edison, Insull and planning for the future of VRM.

VRM is a logical evolution of the inefficient seller-buyer relationship we’re experiencing each and every day.

Does a world ruled by VRM need advertising?

Yes. But we need a big reset.

The advertising industry is in an arms race with people right now. Gather as many data points as possible, hoping for more relevancy, and then let’s hunt down the target. Banner Blindness? Let’s add bigger ads to the mix. Declining Engagement Rate? Hide the close button, design the ad and page in a way that people have to engage. Declining metrics always lead to more disruption. To new ways to segment people. To annoy them more. That mindset has to go. And I don’t know many people who would cry if the disruption race would finally take its last lap.

That doesn’t mean advertising will disappear. VRM will help advertising to have a very profitable renaissance.

I love good advertising. And I can’t stand bad advertising. I’m pretty sure most people feel that way.

  • Good advertising gives me valuable input for my decision-making process. I would like to find out about new products through an entertaining commercial
  • And, if that commercial pays for a good network show, even better
  • Some ads (just look at fashion magazines) provide an emotional and cultural undertone, and change the way I feel about myself, the world and the product. Sure, it’s superficial. But true. Can you imagine seeing an Old Navy ad in Vogue? What would that do to your connection with the magazine?

To create demand for a product/service, we need good advertising. (And better marketing) But not top-down advertising driven by data silos. We need to develop new ways to advertise to people, incorporating co-creation and collaboration. By regarding people as partners and not targets. By showing respect to people (opt-in) and not as victims (opt-out).

The combination of VRM and an advertising reset is just plain exciting and offers benefits to everybody. More people need to join the conversation and discuss the implications of VRM for all stakeholders. And, that’s why I want to speak about VRM at SXSWi.

Interested? Please vote for the keynote here


No, Twitter didn’t announce their new ad platform. Yes, Foursquare and Gowalla had a breakout conference with more people checking in everywhere, annoying their friends and loved ones left behind. No, there was no new Twitter. And, yes, the future for digital technologies and Social Media is still very bright. But it’s time to shake up conferences like SXSW.

While some talks were insightful (Clay Shirky and Jaron Lanier come to mind), most panels didn’t rise above the mediocrity of typical Interactive conferences: Many unprepared panelists, content didn’t match advertised topics and, most importantly, too much talk about “joining the conversation”, “transparency”, “authenticity” and other tired buzzwords.

I went to SXSW and all I got was a Social Media 101 for beginners?

While the networking opportunities continue to be tremendous, all of us need to up the content game. We need to talk more about ROI, adoption of new technologies and Knowledge Management. We need to talk frankly about failures and successes and share them through case studies. Isn’t it ironic that everybody praises failures but nobody wants to share their failures so all of us can learn from them? And, most importantly, we need  to let people outside of the industry in. We need more input and insights from sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, small businesses, Fortune 10 corporations and (insert your idea here).

In short, we need to leave the technology and Social Media echo chamber and let some fresh air in. The air at SXSW 200 felt stale and sometimes almost pungent with Social Media celebrity self-importance fueled by breathless fanboys and the always present booze cloud above us all. This post is not directed at the organizers of SXSW 2010. They did a fantastic job by delivering a flawless conference. A small point of criticism: Maybe less crowdsourcing panels (fueling the echo chamber), more crowdsourcing topics, themes and objectives of participants.

No, this is a wake-up call to all of us: Let’s open the echo chamber and let’s learn from and with others. The sessions from were a good start: Getting people from all walks of life together to end hunger in America. That was a good start. But while we thought, discussed and collaborated about solving a serious problem, the majority of visitors were busy checking in at various parties. While they thought they were busy checking in, they were busy checking out.