SapientNitro at SXSW 2011

It always amazed me how SXSW calls for speakers about 11 months in advanced and has to lock down all sessions 6 months in advanced. Of course there could be some timeless sessions that will always make sense, but it’s hard to know how topics will be relevant 9 months from now … With that said, SapientNitro submitted 19 visionary topics that I think will make great sessions; some returning speakers (including Freddie and myself) and some great new speakers.

It’s great to see so much variety of expertise: creative, strategic, business, technology … from SapientNitro, Government Services, Financial Services, and from so many different people like our CCO, Business Lead, Creative Directors, Technology Directors, developers, and even recruiting. Tells a lot about the diversity, multifariousness, mixture of SapientNitro ’s capabilities and expertise.

Please read below and provide feedback or questions on these topics … what else would you like to see us cover? If you like a topic please take the time to follow the link and vote for it to make sure we have the opportunity to share it with you.

Bringing the Love Back to Brands by Gaston Legorburu

Technology has liberated the dialog between brands and customers, sating consumers’ love of sharing, connecting, raving, venting… But in many ways, it’s also driven isolation as we press “skip intro” to proceed to our desired action. In this discussion, Gaston Legorburu, SapientNitro’s worldwide chief creative officer, will explore the unique paradox that technology has introduced to the consumer/brand relationship. From isolation to sharing, technology is driving a massive social revolution. Learn the art of combining design and engineering to create relevant experiences, experiences that transform barely personable brands into “builders of moments.”

Location-Based-Services is so 2010 - Behold Context-Based-Services by Rob Gonda

Defined as using large mashup of data services to enable amazing experiences through mobile devices. What’s not digital nowadays?! Mobile is replacing the pc and becoming that unique personal technology gadget that no one lives without – and with it, comes connectivity, content, productivity, and entertainment. The magic is that mobile links the gap between digital and real world, extending experiences, and more importantly, making is easy, simple, and intuitive. Foursquare and Gowalla gaining momentum, Twitter added Places, Facebook launched their location based service and integrate with the Open Graph, Google “Me” relies on Latitude, location-location-location. But checking-in requires too much effort… Location will evolve from a reactive engagement to a proactive engagement … background services will be always-location aware. Apps will automatically react to actual location, history, friends, places, and a new set of data source mashups such as weather, humidity, light sensitivity, noise ambiance, and more. If you want to get inspired by innovations galore, this is a session you can’t miss.

Found the Crystal Ball - Unveil the Future by Freddie Laker

The world is evolving at an amazing pace and if companies want to keep up they need to evolve too; but evolution is not a simple concept; what are the right choices? where should you invest? what do your customers want, and what are your competitors doing about it? The best VC firms in the world cannot predict the future, but a good understanding for trends, culture and behavioral shifts, technology advancements, brand evolution, micro and macro economics, and having insights on R&D and new product launches. The best brands in the world excel in designing amazing experiences. Loyalty driven through rewards, direct response advertising, and frequency / reach is a concept of the past. Loyalty is a consequence of providing great experiences across any touchpoint with the brand. What if you had a crystal ball that hint you on upcoming trends that will drive and set customer expectations? Good news, we found it!

Old is the New Black: Content’s Comeback by Kevin Nichols

You think you know what content strategy is? Ha! If you think it’s just about marketing or Web strategy…that just scratches the surface. Join industry experts on Technology, Experience Design and Content Strategy as we talk about how content strategy is not just about content, not just strategy, and certainly not just about the Web. Oh, and it’s also not new. This panel will bring together unique viewpoints on the topic and address not only what content strategy is, but where it is going, and why you should in fact care about it. It will bring a focus to content that is largely under-represented in all the hoopla and buzz that is currently going on about the practice of content strategy. The conversation will review how web content strategy, semantic web and portable content are just a few things in a multiplatform and multichannel universe. We will also unveil how content strategy relates to technology and experience design. We will address content strategy as an ‘enterprise’ approach while contextualizing semantic Web and Web content strategy as just pieces to a much larger picture. Join a very diverse group of people as they explore this topic and its various implications.

Privacy Debate: Straddling the Line Between Improvement & Intrusion by Nathaniel Perez

Imagine this: guy meets girl in a bar and offers to buy her a drink. Girl intrigued, but before accepting she snaps a photo of the guy with her iPhone and scan for background info. Seconds later results come back with personal ratings, reviews, comments, and he scores 1/5 stars, is emotionally unstable, and selfing in bed. Needless to say, girl walks away. Technology is advancing at an amazing speed – nothing new here – and enabling amazing experiences. From augmented reality, facial recognition, conversation mining and analysis, mobile payments, and it’s setting expectations of instant gratification; instant gratification that comes at a price: technology needs access to data. Media has driven fundamental culture shifts in what we find to be normal or acceptable about privacy – who would have thought they would share every action, location, check in places, preferences, products and services they like, and make it mostly public. Marketers want personal data to enhance and personalize experiences which will result in better conversion. People want better services that use data to provide value. But when is it enough? There’s a very fine line that divides value and creepiness. Come to discuss and engage in an interactive session to explore boundaries of what’s acceptable.

What Can a Three-Year-Old Teach About Experience Planning by Juan Morales

While baby boomers have been driving purchase power in today’s economy, Gen Y has been driving today’s brand experience … but the true innovators, the digital age, are actually Gen Z. Everyone is trying to crack teen marketing. Everything changes: culture, attention span, intuition, expectations, communication habits … and they are driving the ultimate customer experience thereafter modeled for the rest of us. The best brands in the world excel in designing amazing experiences. Loyalty driven through rewards, direct response advertising, and frequency / reach is a concept of the past. Loyalty is a consequence of providing great experiences across any touchpoint with the brand. Learn how to focus on the right audience to build the brand experience of tomorrow.

Peer-to-Peer and HTML 5 by Rudo Boothe

HTML 5 allows communication over efficient, low-bandwidth connections called WebSockets. Many different types of applications can be built on top of this new architecture; none more exciting than a web-based peer-to-peer network. AWE. SOME. Join me for a brief discussion during which I’ll show you how this immediately impacts everything from widgets to mobile apps.

The Great Paywall Experiment: Evolving Digital Subscription Models by Donald Chesnut

New devices, new experiences, and new ways for making money: the world of media and publishing is on fire. This panel will explore the rapid evolution of content subscription models that are bridging the worlds of offline and digital, presenting new models for customers to subscribe to content, and the opportunities to create new experiences based upon a more market-dynamic and mult-channel approach to subscriptions. All types of content are undergoing evolution as a result of the changing digital landscape: Magazines, newspapers, cable and broadcast tv stations, music… Each is experimenting with new ways to address the iPad, mobile, Web, iTV, and offline. Newer services like Zinio, HBO GO, MagHound, Hulu are part of the newer landscape, while longer-term players like Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast, and Time Inc are continuing to evolve in their approach to content subscription and distribution. Looking at the landscape, who is innovating and leading the pack? What models are working better than others for both the content/media company AND the customer? How does the type of content change across distribution platform? And where do we think the concept of “subscriptions” is going? Intended for both experience designers or digital business innovators, this panel will bring together diverse leaders from the world of content, media, and publishing to share their thoughts on the emerging trends that are shaping the future of paid digital content.

Rise of the (Vending) Machines: Interactivity that POPs by Michael Leonard

Gone are the days when ”interactive” meant online. These days, interactive technology meets consumers at every touch point via mobile phones, digital signage and even smile-activated vending machines. Interactive technology at the point of purchase (POP) is the next wave of innovation in consumer engagement. As one example, SapientNitro has designed the world’s first smile-activated ice cream vending machine for Unilever, the world’s biggest ice cream manufacturer. A demonstration video of the machine can be viewed at the following link: . To create this groundbreaking experience, creative technologists at SapientNitro harnessed the power of the latest technology across a number of realms, including facial recognition, 3G and Facebook. Designed in a lab by specialist teams intent on creating a machine unlike any other, the unique features of the smile-activated vending machine include: 3G technology to enable uploading and sharing of smiles via social media with the user’s permission and ground-breaking technology. A spokesperson from SapientNitro can discuss the machine, as well as highlight additional examples of interactive technology being used in new and innovative ways, such as signs that interact with consumers, augmented reality on mobile applications and more.

Designing iPad Interfaces - New Navigation Schemas by Lynn Teo

With every new “form factor” comes a unique set of design conventions and interaction paradigms. The emergence of tablet interfaces such as the iPad marks a new chapter in digital design. How much of web navigation or smartphone conventions persist in this new world? And what are we seeing that’s new? Are there specific wayfinding and browsing mechanisms that make for a satisfying and productive iPad user experience? Based on an assessment of 50+ iPad applications that run the gamut from utility/transactional interfaces to comic readers and other publishing apps, this presentation provides a focused analysis and assessment of navigation methods in a distilled format. Navigation schemas will be explored by interaction design themes, supported by examples, and recommendations on when best to employ them.

Digital Deprivation: 9 Unexpected Days Without My iPhone by Cory Siansky

Unforeseen circumstances cause a 9-day technology blackout. Practical and surprisingly, emotional reaction to the situation = this humorous and poignant SXSW discussion, and a thread on my popular blog, Well Known Fact ( The iPhone4 wasn’t in my immediate plans. Then, a good friend mentions 3G units selling well in the um, let’s call it “secondary” market. He explained that I would probably sell my old unit for about the same cost of a new iPhone. Hello, eBay. I listed the phone and watched the price soar. I timed my listing so that the old phone would ship when my new one arrived. Then I, and my 1 million best friends tried to pre-order new iPhones all at once. I was successful 18 hours later. By that time the initial delivery lot was sold out. My delivery date was two weeks away. More than a week would pass between when my old iPhone shipped and the new one arrived. Quickly, my loss was profound. Living, and working, without my iPhone was a much bigger deal than I imagined. Along the way I had to rework routines personal and professional. 3-part presentation: first, a quick discussion of my old iPhone 3G, and how I loved it. Second, my eBay selling process and new iPhone buying process in a Zupruder-film style timeline. Third, the arrival of the replacement phone and getting it set-up. If you’ve read this far, I think I’ve caught your attention. My emotional journey is now your entertainment. Sit back and enjoy.

4chan and /b/ - Internet’s Darker Corners Exposed by Ted Koszuta

4chan is a cultural black hole that most often is overlooked for both complexity and relevance to our business and the general populace. Right or wrong, this single “site” is matter-of-factly known for creating the vast majority of “memes” any digital community adheres to or looks towards/at — as well as being the sole-source impetus for tens of hundreds of digital and IRL movements, raids, protests etc. Black hole? According to the general theory of relativity, a black hole is a region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. The same is true of 4chan. Nothing that is ever placed online is outside its grasp. Any bit of content (advertising, marketing, media etc.) is not only seen by the folks on 4chan – its chewed up and spat out. The only different is whether they blow a bubble with it, abandon it under a coffee table or throw it on the sidewalk for passers by to walk all over. The simple fact is the Internet has “darker corners” that our work is ultimately disseminated to/through, and the greater our understanding of their reasons for existing and the way they function the better. They are single handedly changing the way we do business, and how we all work and play online, whether we like it or not.

Thin is In. The Future of Digital Wallets by Christina Nguyen White

The growing hole in your back jeans pocket is getting a bit too personal. No need to swipe anymore. Just scan. When can we get rid of our wallets without losing the cash? We know mobile is here. Now learn how far we can take it. Digital wallets are within very close reach. With RFIDs, QR codes, and Big-Brother-like tracking, the technology is already in place. Checkout with your phone. Instantly grab coupons when you checkout. Scan your digital ticket at Friday’s ballgame. Digitally split the bill with your friends. The possibilities that we’ve always wished for are now within reach. Get a glimpse into how retailers are edging towards digital, understand the impact of how this will change the way we buy, and ultimately, as designers, understand how this will change the way we interact with our mobile phones.

Secrets from Five Masters of Multichannel by Brad Simms

It’s clear that Web-only businesses, social networks and highly-capable mobile devices like the iPhone have forced a shift of power to consumers. Consumer expectations continue to rise as large traditional businesses grapple with the design, organizational and technological challenges in presenting a truly integrated experience. Consumers aren’t channel bound but companies are–this troubling fact is easy to recognize but hard to resolve. This panel introduces five leaders driving multichannel integration in Fortune 500 companies–“Masters of Multichannel”–across industries including retail, consumer package goods, automotive, travel, retail finance and the customer experience firm SapientNitro. The panel will be led through a lively and timely discussion of multichannel evolution across industries, highlighting common pitfalls, successes and what to expect next. Special focus will be put on contrasting industries to bring together different perspectives on the term “multichannel”. We see the term used everywhere and marketing tends to overuse it. This panel intends to get past the buzz to make it applicable and relevant.

Bodies Buried Under Social Media’s Front Porch by Dan Willis

re you already dead? In this Age of Disruption, death is swift, but not always obvious. An organization’s lifeblood can drain out long before they board up the windows, shutters the doors and files all the necessary papers. Trivial tweets, user-generated videos and user-rated product reviews look innocent enough now, but just as surely as the Commercial Web has already killed dozens of newspapers and magazines, the Social Web’s treads will soon be clogged with the crushed skulls of organizations too inflexible to get out of harm’s way. To date, we’ve only found a tiny percentage of the bodies. This presentation will examine the characteristics common to Social Media’s known victims and hypothesize about both those least likely and most likely to survive in the future. More significantly, this presentation will help the audience identify the keys to their own survival. But survival isn’t enough. User content and influence has emerged as a powerfully disruptive force that, if harnessed properly, can radically improve the world. The Gov 2.0 movement, for example, isn’t about federal agencies adding Twitter to their communication plans. It is a multinational effort to use Social Media tools in the restructuring of government’s very core in order to create an unprecedented partnership with citizens. This presentation will show that organizations bold enough to experiment and strong enough to weather change have the potential for significant and meaningful evolution.

The Death of the Mouse by John McHale

The discussion examines all new interface interaction possibilities (touch, gesture, kinetics, mobile, etc) and how quickly users are adapting to new technologies. It will not only contain a historical retrospective, but will examine breakthrough interaction models that are setting the standard for what is the future. It’s not about us. It’s about what is possible. We plan on demonstrating this through an interactive experiment asking the audience to create art using their devices.

Kiosks, Mobile and the Evolving Retail Experience by Hilding Anderson

New opportunities for sophisticated in-store and digital interactive experiences are fundamentally changing the way retail stores connect with their customers. These changes – from interactive kiosks, sophisticated mobile devices, digital & interactive vending machines, and the wireless delivery of software - are creating opportunities for brands and marketers to connect and interact with their customers more richly. We will share how are clients are leveraging these tools, and our vision of where it is all going.

Manufacturing Serendipity: How Mapping Moments Integrates Multichannel Experience by Zachary Jean Paradis

Just 15 years ago, the relationship between consumers and companies was relatively simple. And linear. Customers learned about products through one of a few channels–TV, radio, print, mailers or in stores. Competition was more limited and local. The web, mobile phones and digitally enabled social networks (remember The Well?) were experienced by a select few. Now? Competition has multiplied and globalized; communication channels and media have both exploded and fragmented; the world is more virtual, more “social”, more mobile and more context dependant than ever. As UEX strategists and professionals, it’s our job to help clients untangle this mess and make sense for consumers. This presentation will outline a series of tools and methods focused on modeling experiences, discovering “moments”–opportunities for organizations to make the greatest positive and negative impacts with their customers–and identifying critical communication “channel pairs” which allow for more straightforward and impactful experience design. Illustrations used will be pulled both the professional and academic worlds.

Job Seekers - This One’s For You by Emily Brewer

Your work kicks ass, speaks for itself. Your resume couldn’t be tighter. But ever wondered what happens once it enters the black hole of the online application process? Are they into you and just too busy to call? Maybe they aren’t into you, but what if it’s because they missed something? What do you do? Sit back and wait for the call or take charge and make them notice you? Fret no more, this panel will answer all those questions and more! Senior recruiters representing a cross section of leading companies lead a presentation and Q&A discussion for job seekers in the creative and agency space. Learn everything from what they look for in a candidate and what they want to see in a portfolio and resume to dos and don’ts if you land the interview as well as keeping your options open if the timing isn’t right.