Sunday, 14 March 2010

SxSW - Fire Alarms, Billionaires, Porn, Crowdfunding and Public Speaking (Part One)

Right, two days in and I am super happy with this conference thus far.  Here is what has been happening in the 3 days I have been here, in no particular order:

1.  the first session I went to was #battleforyourtv - this was an awesome verbal battle between Mark Cuban (sold his broadcast.com for almost $6bn, now runs HDNet) and internet legend Avner Ronen (founder of Boxee).  Essentially, Cuban asserted there is no business model for HDTV across the Internet - a post-event blogpost summarising his points well.   It had been brewing for about a year via blogposts between the two.  The argument got heated at times with Cuban resorting to Argument by Dismissal (by being richer - Cuban made the point that Avner hasnt made any revenue yet).  To his credit, Avner stayed cool (are all Israeli's this calm?) and won the crowd over.  But as Cuban said, the crowd was pretty self-selective (internet nerds), so they were likely to side with Avner's point of view (free TV)... Half way through there was the fire alarm and this classic tweet by Andy Volk (@downtempo):



Needless to say, we sat still.  Good reviews here and here.

2. Then there was the Battledecks session fed back to me by Ivo.  As described by SxSW, it is:
Battledecks is a fast-paced, fun, laugh riot where "contestants" have to put together a presentation on the fly as slides are randomly projected for their confusion and the delight of the audience

It sounds like something we should do back in SA.  Maybe at a 27Dinner.   I loved this porno tweet about battledecks, forwarded to me by Sarah Blue (@superblue):



3. We then had our panel on CrowdFunding, set up by the indomitable Eve (@eved).  We had almost 60 people there and of those we had about 10 questions from 6 people.  A presentations success is measured in terms of its interaction in my view, and 10% is very high, so hopefully that meant it was successful.  There was a nice review of it written here by Dan Oshinsky (@danoshinsky).  Although it was Heather Ford who spoke of the "ubuntu" meaning, not me.  That would be ironic:  Aussie tells crowd about South African ubuntu.

4. The Public Speaking session with Tim Sanders (@sandersays) was excellent.  He spoke of the "deliverables" (he gives these all the time, great MO in my view) on how to become a $15k-per-gig public speaker.  He mentioned there we two ways to get into this league: write a book taking a contrarian view on something or being very skilled at one niche' topic and write about it in a fresh manner.  (He rightly pointed out you cant orchestrate a tier 1 $60k-a-gig plus career a'la Clinton, Gladwell, Seinfeld, unless you have a blockbuster).  Bottom line: you need to write a book to get into this league.)  He did mention you can publish a serialised blog on a popular topic in place of a book and even get published this way, but it is very rare.  Other things you need: a 5 to 20 minute DVD that is done professionally of you speaking at a gig.  Podcasts are a good part of a CV and easy to do, he said.  You need to the register with a "Bureau" (translation: talent scouts that put together speaking arrangements for events - not sure what they are called in South Africa).
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