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SXSW and Community 2.0: New Friends and Favorite Topics

We're still reeling a bit from back-to-back conferences in two places that don't cater well to sleep or overall health: South-by-Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas and Community 2.0 in Las Vegas. Conferences are a fire hose and six solid days is just too much to document. This entry is focused on some of the people and talks that mattered most to us.

One of my favorite sessions of SXSW was called "People-Powered Products" with Derek Powazek of 8020 Publishing (makers of JPG Magazine), Heather Champ, Community Manager at Flickr and folks from self-publishing site and music remixing site Another favorite was moderated by my Clue Unit partner Jake Mckee called Community Ecology: Finding Balance When Working with Fan Groups. Part of what made this one interesting was the mix of panelists: Betsy Whalen of Discovery Education, Rebecca Newton from the kid's virtual world Habbo and, of course, Terrence Ryan from alt-porn site Suicide Girls. An interesting mix indeed.

The real action at SXSW is social and away from the conference itself. Vendors sponsor multiple parties that go into the night, giving everyone a chance to hang out, drink heavily and make new friends. I won't try to name the all folks we met.


While SXSW was all about the leading edge of the web, Community 2.0 was about how the business world is reacting to online communities. This event was a broad mix of innovators, practitioners, leaders and companies who see the future impact of community. While it might not have been as "cool" and tattooed as SXSW, this conference was much more real and practical for me. I enjoyed it more than expected.

I moderated a panel called "In the Trenches: Community Best Practices" and owe a debt of gratitude to my panelists: David Churbuck of Lenovo, George Jaquette of Intuit and Michael Prosceno of SAP. These guys are all driving change in large, traditional companies and have perspectives that you'd expect to hear from start-ups. As an example, David Churbuck, the VP of Global Web Marketing at Lenovo, takes the time to comment on critical blog posts himself. We decided to have the entire content of the panel run on audience participation and they made it work with stories, humor and practical advice.

I enjoyed hearing from folks like Scott Wilder at Intuit, Bill Schreiner of AOL, Bill Johnston of Forum One, Richard Gotham of the Boston Celtics and the Chrises: Chris Carfi, Chris Heuer and Chris Tolles. It was also great to meet folks like Kathleen Gilroy from Otter Group, Nate Ritter from Eventful lots of community managers from all over. One of my favorite attendees was Mikal Belicove from Doba who always asked pointed and pertinent questions, sometimes causing a little controversy. We met a number of community managers from Seattle that were new to us. I feel a Seattle community-people event coming on.

Most of the people linked above have great perspectives on the event as well. I'm sure I left a lot of folks out - it's not personal!

See also: Community Lessons from Community 2.0 and SXSW.