It may be a few months late, but I'm still thinking about things I saw/heard at SXSW this year. Here's my recap of the event.
1. The New Age of Money
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the economic collapse
I had a 15 minute talk in the Future 15 series where I crammed in as much information before showing Flowers for Grandma. After my talk, one woman whose company builds applications, came up to me and asked - when is this launching!? People get very excited when they see the example products in these visions of the future. Link to the Presentation (slideshare). Link to Audio (SXSW).
2. LATAM Startups
I attended a panel on LATAM startups and met key connectors of the startup community in Chile and Brazil along with several Mexico VCs. I'm very interested in exploring and building relationships in my favorite southern hemisphere to give local innovations a regional spotlight through my work at Innotribe.
3. Activities in the Payments Space
ISIS had a big presence and was pushing their mobile payment application, a hardware integration of NFC (Near Field Communication) and credit cards. Partners are Capital One, Chase, Verizon, T-Mobile & AT&T. I got a demo of the app and it looked well designed and slick - however my concern with NFC is adoption and ubiquity.
The adoption problem will not come from shoppers/purchasers - many of us are used to various applications on our smart phones and we like to experiment with new payment methods. The long road of adoption will come from Merchants/Vendors - they need an easy, cheap way to extend their payment infrastructure to accept NFC. ISIS launches their program in Austin and Salt Lake City later this year. I'll be watching to see how things go.
3B: Barclay's Crowdsourced Credit Card
UNBELIEVABLE!I was really impressed with this credit card offering. It's a mashup of a credit card + crowdsourcing + radical transparency. The community of card holders decides how they want the card serviced. Things like, what do you want your late fee to be? DO you want outsourced customer service experience, paperless statements, etc.
A perfect example of what I call a positive wildcard: a low probability event with a high positive impact. (Innovation team: these people are one of us!) Read the release.
I was so impressed with this card, I invited Paul to join my panel at the Future of Money conference. I'm definitely watching what they do and how people respond to
3C: Community Currency
The most interesting community currency at SXSW came from a woman in the Chilean startup community. Her challenge was to build a vibrant startup ecosystem that required/encouraged participants to give back and reinvest in the community. Companies that participated in the 6 month program had to earn 4000 points and there were a variety of activities they could do to earn those points; for example mentoring programs, giving a workshop or talk. I was fascinated and impressed with this way to encourage participants to reinvest in the ecosystem, strengthening and growing it.
The most fascinating thing I saw at SXSW was Bina48, a robotic panellist: a head and shoulders sculpted with a mindfile uploaded into it. Bina48 could understand speech and speak and the audience asked all kinds of profound questions. I was personally transfixed, overcome with emotion at seeing this "robot" answer profound questions.
From a future of identity perspective I was transfixed. Today you can create a mindfile of yourself, by scraping and collecting our data and information, very soon, you might be able to do something with that file. A previous article on Bina48.
5. danah boyd's talk on fear and hate on the Internet
I had not heard danah speak recently and really loved her talk. A few pull quotes: "Power is no longer hierarchal, power resides in the network." And "we view the world as a linear story - but these paths are not linear. Historically they ebb and flow."
On the fun side, I picked up a sweet pair of cowboy boots and filled my belly with delicious avocado rich Tex-Mex.