2010 August

SXSW Panels

Today is the last day of voting for SXSW panels. We’ve already asked you to vote for us (but, if you haven’t, today is your last chance!). But don’t just vote for us — there are tons of awesome panel options to choose from.

How to Vote

  • Visit the SXSW PanelPicker. (Our session is here.)
  • Create an account (it reduces fraudulent voting), but don’t worry: you won’t be added to any mailing lists (unless you want to be!).
  • Click the thumbs-up (or thumbs-down) to vote!

Who to Vote For

Don’t just vote for us! There are a number of great proposals out there. Need some guidance on where to start?

If you’d like to support other Minnesotans, check out this post by Kary Delaria that includes a list of panel submissions from MN.

Or you can check out this list of panels that have caught our eye as we’ve been browsing and voting over the last couple of weeks. These are all people we don’t know IRL, but whose topics looked interesting to us. And that’s what this is all about! Explore, find new topics and help decide what should — or shouldn’t — be at SXSW!

Project Management for Humans (No Robots Allowed)
Organizer: Brett Harned, Happy Cog
    • What is the most effective way to gather project requirements?
    • What’s better for my project, Agile or Waterfall process?
    • How can I manage the process as it transitions from UX to Design, to Development?
    • How can I effectively communicate with and educate my clients on web development process?
    • How do I deal with all of these personalities and keep my focus on the project itself?

The Emerging Role of Social Media in Education
Organizer: Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers
    • How are teachers using social media to bring global perspectives to their classrooms?
    • What are the obstacles teachers face in trying to use social media in their classrooms?
    • How is social media helping teachers create better learning experiences for their students?
    • How are mobile devices being used to increase student and parent engagement in schools?
    • Why aren’t more schools embracing the use of social media by teachers and students?

No Excuse: Web Designers Who Can’t Code
Organizer: Wilson Miner, Rdio Description
    • Why should designers know how to code their designs?
    • How can designers use code skills in increasingly specialized teams.
    • How can designers develop code understanding if their job doesn’t involve writing code?
    • How can hybrid designers work effectively with other developers?
    • Is there a place for developers with design sense?

Successful People-Based Acquisition: Buying People, Not Code

Organizer:  Bill Boebel, Rackspace Hosting  
    • What made this Webmail.us acquisition by Rackspace special?
    • What made employees and founders want to stay on board?
    • How can this be replicated?
    • What other companies have had success with this method and why?
    • What has not worked for other companies?

Viral Marketing with The Oatmeal

Organizer: Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal
    • How do I come up with creative marketing ideas for a boring product?
    • How do I get people to pay attention to my website?
    • I’ve created some rad content – now how do I get people to read it?
    • What’s a good creative process for brainstorming effective viral ideas?
    • How do I make funny things? How do I make things that resonate with an audience?

Girl Developers++: Getting Women Equipped to Ship
Organizer: Sara Chipps, Girl Developer LLC
    • How can we get more female software developers?
    • Why aren’t women comfortable in traditional educational settings when it comes to technology?
    • How can I start an initiative to educate women in technology in my community?
    • What are some of the roadblocks women run into when learning how to code?
    • As a man, how can I help make women feel more at home in the software community?

Startup Success: Entrepreneurial Women Share the Team-Building Secret
Organizer: Rynda Laurel, ryndalaurel.com
    • What is a successful team, and how do you build one?
    • How to be a team leader, and how to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can partner up with those that compliment you.
    • How to use Marketing, PR, Social Media and Networking to find your team and build communities around your startup.
    • How to look at the big picture and build international teams.
    • How we did it and still encourage others to take the plunge.

Social Marketing Lessons Learned on the Farm
Organizer: Nathan Wright, Lava Row
    • What cultural factors make farmers and rural people “naturals” at building community?
    • What can other businesses learn from the up-and-down commodity markets that drive ag and rural business?
    • How do Dust Bowl and Great Depression memories make for better business decisions?
    • How are smaller ag-related businesses effectively leveraging social media?
    • What makes social marketing a good fit for agriculture-based businesses?

Podcast #22: The Pain of Self Promotion

In podcast #22, we discuss walking the fine line between self promotion and being an annoying blowhard, and how to get over the resistance to self promote.

Podcast Summary

Originally, we sat down to discuss the ins and outs of Interactive Project Management. But, instead, we decided to talk about self promotion. Mainly because we are dealing with our own feelings of uneasiness about promoting a SXSW panel submission.

We discuss questions like:

  • Is this a “girl thing?”
  • How can you promote yourself without being annoying?
  • Do the people you’re connected with online mind if you talk about yourself?
  • Is there a difference between promoting your business and promoting yourself?
  • How do you get a sense of what your “personal brand” is online? Does it match with who you really are?

Things We Referenced

  • Meatspace:an idiom for the “real world”

Listen Online


SXSW or Bust!

Earlier this year, we gave a presentation at MinneWebCon called “Creating a User-Centered Culture.” The reception the topic received inspired us to submit it to SXSW. We’d love to go, but we need your help getting there!

We made it through the first round, which accounts for 40% of the decision. Another 30% is up to the SXSW organizers. The other 30% is based on the online votes at the SXSW PanelPicker — and that’s where you come in.

We need your help!

  • Please visit the SXSW PanelPicker and vote for our session.
  • You’ll have to create an account (which reduces fraudulent voting), but you won’t be added to any mailing lists (unless you want to be!).
  • Voting closes on August 27, so vote soon! In fact, do it now. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

In exchange for your vote, we offer you this video. We thought it was funny…we hope you do, too.*

*If you don’t think it’s funny, blame these guys.

Geek of the Week: Matt Wilson

This week’s Geek of the Week is Matt Wilson, who has the special honor of being our first male Geek of the Week.

Matt is the kind of geek that wears many hats (or capes, depending on the situation). Sometimes he’s an analytics geek (his profession), sometimes he’s a techie geek (taking things apart), and other times he’s a gamer geek (D&D, anyone?).

We think it will be obvious pretty quickly why we chose Matt: he’s smart, personable, funny and OMG: so geeky. He’s also been a longtime supporter of the Geek Girls Guide, encouraging us and cheering us on from day one. So we love him for that. Also? He’s the dad to two young girls, and he takes a lot of pride in encouraging them to take stuff apart and in making sure they embrace a little danger now and then. Fathers raising geeky girls? Gotta love that.

In this podcast, Matt explains his role as Manager of Digital Analytics at General Mills, talks about his early aspirations to be a doctor, and how he ended up doing web-related stuff for a living.

With so much to talk about, we found ourselves wrapping up after a whopping 45 minutes! He did leave us with a few final words of advice including, “Get yourself right, then focus on your skills, and then on your network. Don’t specialize too much. Being versatile is a great asset, and at the end of the day knowing business in general is better than knowing only how to optimize a web page for search.”

Thank you again to Matt for joining us and being our first manly Geek of the Week. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Listen Online


Are you a geek? Do you know a geek? Is there someone you’d like to hear from? Drop us a line at [email protected] or leave us a comment on our Facebook page!

Since today is Matt’s birthday we had to include a little birthday surprise!