New Trends from SXSW


[A follow-up post on my SXSW experience]

In past years, hugely popular companies/apps/trends came out of SXSW. Some of the well known ones from recent years are Twitter and Foursquare. At SXSW is where they just blew up.


This year nothing in particular (to me) stood out that big. But here’s just a few things that I came to think of, more as macro themes of the conference.


  1. “Game Layer” on top of the World – Perhaps because SCVNGR Chief Ninja Seth Priebatsch gave one of the keynotes, or because there were countless panels, and talks about the rise of gaming layers using social mobile products (think Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, Google Places, and millions of other location-based services). But given the plethora of talks, panels, and attention there seemed to be a certain theme to SXSW in that sense. For me, I do see value in using gaming elements to promote, inspire, and incentive positive behaviors. But I still think we’re at a very nascent stage in this market/concept.

  3. The one (fairly new) app that I found very useful the past few days is GroupMe. A very simple to use group messaging service. I’m surprised something like this took so long to come out (or at least so long for me to know about). All it does, allows you to take a group of friends, add them to one phone number, and you can concall everyone at once, OR txt msg everyone at the same time. Excellent way to coordinate between groups, AND you DO NOT need a smartphone. Our Sloan group used GroupMe to coordinate throughout SXSW.
  • This idea and concept of group coordination devices also seems to be gaining stream. Particularly a shout-out to a Sloan 2010 startup – Message Party, which coordinates groups based on location (Think chat rooms based on where you are – i.e. subway station).


Last year when I volunteered at the Tech Crunch Disrupt Conference, some themes that I came away from it was Mobile, Social, Local. In SXSW in many ways confirmed those same themes. Though, I would add on one more theme…Mobile, Local, Social/Games. Definitely still social, but there’s seems to be a rising gaming aspect that enhances that.


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