Alright alright, this entry is a little delayed… As you may know, on March 13th, Google announced that it would discontinue Google Reader in July. It has just taken this long to sink in.
I’m not a huge book reader, but I am a pretty avid blog reader. I feel a little bit like my bookcase is going to be set on fire. While I am standing in front of it. Mercilessly forced to watch it all burn to the ground.
Do you feel me? Maybe I am the only one with 70 subscriptions on my Google Reader.. Maybe not.
Today I finally decided to face my fate and find a new feed reader. It quickly became obvious that Feedly was the front runner.. “After [Google Reader's] closure announcement, Feedly said that more than 0.5 million new users had joined them in the following 48 hours, and 3 million in the following two weeks.” (source).
Feedly integrates with most browsers, including Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. The migration is pretty simple, too – you can log in with your Google account to have your subscriptions pulled over automatically.
So all in all, the switch has been pretty seamless. I guess I can be proud. And honestly.. between you and me.. Feedly’s interface is better. If you tell anyone I said so, I’ll deny it!
Whitney Burnett is a project manager at Shelton Interactive. Follow her on Instagram @tummies.
This blog post is a brief overview and my interpretation of the first chapter of Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro.
A web designer solves problems within a set of constraints
Web design is, and always will be, about problem-solving.
“I’ve been amazed at how often those outside the discipline of design assume that what designers do is decoration—likely because so much bad design simply is decoration. Good design isn’t. Good design is problem solving.”
– The Art & Science of Web Design by Jeffrey Veen
Web design is not a magic fairy tale land where you wait for creativity to come to you, nor is it merely collecting inspiration from galleries. With that said, when a designer looks for inspiration for their current site or when a client sends over examples of competitor websites they like, designers remember that what they’re looking at is the result, not the process.
The process involves working with constraints, such as lack of available materials, funds or business requirements and problems such as “We’re a realty business and we want more people to contact our realtors and view our properties”.
As Mike Monteiro mentions in the book, “More likely than not, clients show up with a solution in mind, even if they can’t fully articulate the problem. It’s a designer’s job to walk them backward from the solution they envision to the problem and how open they’re to that process.”
A web designer understands goals and gathers information
Setting goals based on a client’s needs can dictate design and navigation choices and ultimately determine how a designer measures the return on investment. Understanding the website’s purpose and the visitor’s purpose are very important in setting these goals. For the design process to deliver, it has to link a site’s offerings with its visitor’s needs by establishing the following:
Who are you?
What is your expertise, background, Unique Selling Point and Emotional Selling Point? What does your brand stand for?
What benefits do you offer?
How your products or services really help your visitors, rather than just what they do?
Who are your visitors?
Aside from just demographic and analytics information, it’s important to really get to know the site visitor, their lifestyle and values, and engage with them.
What are they looking for?
What are the needs you can satisfy, the pains you can ease and/or the problems you can solve?
What will they act on?
How can you make propositions clear and attractive to the visitor?
A designer imposes order or “The Design Part”
Once the designer receives and digests the above information, something needs to be created from it. This is usually what people refer to as “The Design Part” of design, because, as Mike mentions, it is visible, involves pictures, and you can do it while wearing headphones.
A designer creates novel forms
This is also another “designy” part of design. Aside from the general layout, hierarchy and visual aspects of the site, a designer creates new forms and interactions in an effort to engage and delight the user. This little bit of customization can go a long way – the hope being that the visitor will stick around a bit longer and make a purchase or conversion on the site.
A designer sells his work and talks to Clients and Stakeholders
No one can explain why design decisions are made better than the designer. Web design is more about function than aesthetics than other design careers, so this step is especially important. Designers must demonstrate their design skills and show how the design will help a client meet their goals.
A designer is a Gatekeeper
This is one of my favorite parts of web design. I enjoy putting myself in the visitor’s shoes, being the advocate for the person who will ultimately buy, use or experience what I am designing. My goal is to make site communicate the message so clearly, the experience be so user-friendly, and the aesthetics so close to the visitor’s values and needs, that they feel like there’s a person at the end of the connection, not a machine.
Tiffany Stepp is a designer at Shelton Interactive. Follow her on Twitter @TiffanyStepp.
As a publicist, a large amount of my job is reaching out to bloggers and journalists to try and get book reviews for my various author clients. 98% of the time, the reviews comes back positive. But sometimes someone dislikes a book so strongly that they deem it absolutely necessary to share their hatred to the entire universe by permanently plastering it on the Internet. I know, everyone has a right to an opinion and it is good to get honest feedback from a wide range of folks – but it still makes me wonder, what is the real value in trash talking someone work online? Personally, if I had nothing but negative things to say about someone’s writing, I would toss it in the trash, ignore follow up emails from the publicist and never post anything about it. But that is just me.
I have recently been able to fully sympathize with our clients who have ever received a negative review, because I had one myself. In addition to hustling and bustling as a publicist, I am also an author. The past few months since publication have been a roller coaster ride – a few weird Amazon reviews, some amazing blog reviews, and even an article in the paper. But then this week, a blogger, who had been oh-so-cheerful in emails, posted a terrible write up of my book. She actually called my book annoying. ANNOYING. How could I, the crazy loud blonde with way too much energy, a huge mouth and multiple cats ever be considered annoying? (Sigh).
So, how do we handle bad reviews? How do we keep going after dreams and doing what we love in the face of negativity or even name-calling? (coughannoyingcough).
While there is no perfect way of processing these types of situations, we can sure as heck try our best. Here are my five tips to gracefully deal with a negative review:
1. Get some tough skin. If you are going to make art, there is going to be some bad feedback eventually, even if you are some freak genius prodigy. Feel free to give yourself a moment or two to be sad, pout or eat a large quantity of chocolate. Then, pick up yourself up, get re-inspired, and keep working towards your goals. The persistent become the successful.
2. Really try to be honest with yourself, and scan the article for any redeeming feedback. Hey, maybe your dialogue actually is awkward, or your main character unlikeable. It is ok – nobody is perfect, and the fact that you have enough guts to share your stories with the world already puts you ahead of most. Really think about the feedback, get a second opinion from someone you trust (not your mother), decide to take it or leave it, and perhaps your craft will be improved because of it. However, if there is no valuable critiques but only rude personal opinions, this is what you do: print out 100 copies of the review, plaster your kitchen floor with it, drink some whiskey and tap dance all over the evil words. That should make you feel better.
3. Don’t ever try to argue with the reviewer, especially online for all to see. That will just put you straight into the “crazy author” bin. If you were in communication with the reviewer previously, feel free to say thank you for your honest feedback while silently cursing them in your mind. But always be civil, don’t argue and move on with your life.
4. Bury your bad review with a bunch of good reviews. Yes, a girl on the internet said I was annoying, but a few weeks before that a blogger said my book was the best book she ever read. (Gasp! I still can’t get over it!). Keep looking for blogs or reviewers who enjoy your books genre, and pitch pitch pitch. Pretty soon, your bad review may just become a small bit of seaweed in a sea of high praise. (Too dramatic?) Just keep at it.
5. Anonymously mail a dead fish to the blogger who spoke such blasphemy against your book. Think about it, you already sent them a review copy, so you likely have their home or office address. Ok obviously I am kidding – but this is my final point. Keep a good sense of humor about it all. Poke fun at yourself and the review; just turn it all into a big joke. That is an excellent way to get through most uncomfortable situations in life, really. Soon enough, this will just be something you can giggle about while you frame the New York Times best sellers list that has your name there, right at the top.
What do you do to get over a bad review? I would love to hear your tips!
On my first day of high school, I walked into my English class to find that my teacher, Mr. Contorno, did not look like any other teacher I had ever had before. He wore the typical male teacher uniform – slacks and a tucked-in button-up – but he was also wearing flip-flops and sporting a ponytail. I later found out that he had made a lot of money in finance early in his life and decided to retire from that career and start a new one as a high school English teacher. This gave him the luxury of not needing the job and thus was considered a bit of a renegade (hence, the overall look). His outlook on his job as a teacher – that he actually wanted to be there – is probably one of the reasons he was so influential as a mentor and remains one of the most memorable and one of my favorite teachers to this day. It’s probably also why, on this first day, he had four words written on the board: “Ship High In Transit.”
Mr. Contorno went on to explain to us that in the 16th and 17th centuries, large amounts of dried manure were shipped across seas to be used as fertilizer. This dried manure was shipped in the hull of the ship, which caused a problem when it would absorb water from the trip. The manure began to expand and chemically began to give off methane gas. One spark, one rogue lantern and the ship would explode. To avoid this problem, the crates of this manure were moved out of the hull of the ship and up on to the deck where they wouldn’t get wet. To ensure no crate carrying manure was accidentally loaded below they were stamped “Ship High In Transit” or “S.H.I.T.”
This past week, the small town of West, Texas experienced a similar catastrophe to those 16th and 17th century sailors. The devastation this explosion caused is horrific and the number of people who lost their lives or were wounded is almost too much to comprehend. The explosion in West came on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing, yet another horrific event that claimed three lives and wounded many more. All of this senseless loss and pain occurring in just one week makes you take a good look around and realize your problems really aren’t that big.
I know West, Texas well. It’s on my route from Austin to Fort Worth, where I went to school at TCU. I’ve traveled it many times over the years and more recently it became somewhat of a tradition for my friend and me to stop in West on the way to TCU football games. There’s an unassuming, but extremely delicious, gas station/ convenient store/ bakery there (only in Texas, right?) called the Czech Stop that serves world-famous kolaches. My friend and I would pull in and pick up some good luck strawberry kolaches and pigs-in-a-blanket as our last stop before Fort Worth (because nothing rallies your team to victory like empty calories). The Czech Stop served almost as our lighthouse; a ray of light on a long and empty highway signaling that the worst of our journey was over.
As I watched the cell phone footage of the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas online and on the news last week, I saw one that was particularly terrifying. A father is filming the blazing fire at the plant from his truck with his son sitting in the backseat when all of a sudden the explosion occurs, hurling fireballs and flaming debris right at them. The video goes blank, but the audio continues and amidst the noise of the frightened and stunned child in the backseat, you hear the dad utter, “Oh shit” just before he drives off. Watching the Boston Marathon bombs explode and seeing the news coverage of the destruction in West evoked a similar reaction in me.
As the week went on I began to act a little differently and notice things I hadn’t before. I spent extra time talking with my parents and had more patience with my younger siblings. I read articles of the brave and selfless first responders in Boston and West; those people who ran towards the devastation, not away from it. I came across a particularly inspiring Facebook post from actor Patton Oswalt that ended up going viral, but had one line that stuck out to me in particular: “So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.’” There will always be more people running towards disaster to help than those willing to commit the acts that caused it in the first place.
As I thought about this last week, I started to notice kindness all around me. I read where the Czech Stop in West, Texas had remained open after the explosion to feed evacuees and first responders; a ray of light during a long and empty time for those residents signaling that the worst of their journey was over. I saw kindness in my own life. My younger brother will turn 17 soon and he plays on the golf team at his high school. As a birthday gift I wanted to get him this certain golf hat that he’d asked for, so I went to Golfsmith in search of it. After browsing for a while and not finding what I was looking for, the manager noticed me and came over to ask if I needed any help. I described what I was after and he informed me that apparently my brother is not the only one interested in this particular hat – it was so popular that they were never in-stock and there was such a backorder that you couldn’t even order it online. I explained my situation to the manager – that I was looking to give the hat to my brother as a birthday gift – and he replied, “I have one at home, tags still on it, never worn. It’s yours if you want it.” Surprised and excited we arranged to meet in the store the next day where I’d buy it from him. I showed up to Golfsmith the next morning and offered him more than sticker price in cash for the hat. He wouldn’t accept it. I offered him the retail price in cash. He wouldn’t accept it. I offered to purchase something from the store that he wanted or needed and trade him for the hat. He wouldn’t accept it. He handed me the hat and said, “I hope your brother has a happy birthday,” shook my hand and walked away.
A few years after leaving Mr. Contorno’s high school freshman English class, I discovered that the “Ship High in Transit” story was an urban legend. I wondered why my teacher had told us that story on the first day of class if it wasn’t true. Maybe it was just to get our attention – wide-eyed 14 year olds on their first day of high school learning the “origins” of a cuss word. Being an English teacher, maybe he was trying to show us that backstory is what gives characters and stories meaning and makes them memorable. Looking back now though I think he may have had another motive. He loved metaphorical and allegorical stories, deriving ulterior meanings from seemingly meaningless messages. Ship High In Transit. It was a shitty week. But let’s move our cargo from the hull and up to the top deck; let’s help others do the same. Let’s raise each other up with kindness. Disasters will happen, but no one can destroy your spirit unless you let them. Remember, the good outnumber and always will.
Travis Wilson is the New Business Consultant at Shelton Interactive. Connect with him on Twitter: @HeyMrWiiilson
If you don’t get the reference, Google “lol cats.” You’re welcome.
At the beginning of each campaign here at Shelton Interactive we have a strategy session, in which we all gather in the “great hall” (as I, a Harry Potter-for-life nerd likes to call the main room where the publicists, interns, and social media department reside) to discuss the client and various media angles. When someone sends out a blast email calling for a strategy session, we all are on the same page about what they are asking for. But sometimes, especially in the business world, the world “strategy” is thrown around a lot without a clear definition. It’s a common problem that leads to an unstable foundation in a business.
One of the author’s we’ve been working with lately has a new book out that deals precisely with this issue: Howell J. Malham Jr. and his new book, I HAVE A STRATEGY. NO, YOU DON’T. The message of the book is that anyone and everyone can understand and use the word strategy, whether or not you have an MBA or an entire department devoted to making charts and graphs. At the end of the day, saying you have a strategy isn’t the same as understanding what a strategy looks like.
Malham says it’s all about starting a conversation about what a strategy actually means. A strategy is only a strategy if it has:
A sequence of actions or tactics
A distinct, measurable goal
One way Malham has been encouraging conversation is by asking people to submit “strategy photos.”
“You can fill it out with your profession, your passion, your status in life – it can be anything you’d like, because no matter who you are, you are capable of making a strategy,” Malham says.
Here at Shelton Interactive, we have a strategy. Do you?
Shelby Janner is a publicist, recent UT Austin graduate and chips and queso enthusiast. For more cat memes, Harry Potter references and brilliant business insights, follow her @shelbyjanner.
There are tons of email marketing systems out there, and it can be hard to know where to start when looking for the product that works best for you. Here at Shelton Interactive, we are pretty fond of MailChimp – so fond that we don’t use anything else. Here’s why.
MailChimp is free! (For up to 2,000 email recipients on your list)
No one can argue with free – especially when it’s amazing and free! Some quick Google searches for pricing info on some of the other popular email marketing systems proved that Mail Chimp is by far the best deal – unlike Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, or Aweber who do not offer free plans.
MailChimp integrates seamlessly with your WordPress website and Gravity Forms.
Frederick Von Chimpenheimer IV, A.K.A. Freddie
Each site we develop is created on the WordPress platform. We feel it’s important to customize the sign-up form to not only look great on your site but to create a user experience consistent with every other touch point for your brand. We also love Gravity Forms, a simple form solution for WordPress websites. Even for those of you who classify yourselves in the “non-technical” group, MailChimp with WordPress and Gravity Forms gives you the ability to fully customize your sign-up form to collect the information you want from your subscribers.
MailChimp saves a ton of time.
MailChimp handles the dirty work so you don’t have to be a designer or write a bunch of code every time you want to send a beautifully designed message to your subscribers. The developers at MailChimp have made it easy to create forms and message templates that match your website.
MailChimp keeps it real – Eep! Eep!
One of my favorite things about MailChimp is that they are serious about educating you on what is legal and what is not. Knowing what’s kosher can save you a lot of headaches, and they have a way of making learning the law less painful than it sounds. Working on your email newsletter could end up being one of the more entertaining – or educational – parts of your day. Don’t believe me? Just check out the links Freddie recommends.
MailChimp support is there when you need them.
Whether I’ve needed some help preparing an email campaign, or was just wondering “can I do that with MailChimp?,” I was able to easily find answers. They have a “Getting Started” video library, some other great video tutorials and are available via chat. One time I couldn’t get logged in to my account, and strangely the support guy asked me, “Are you in a Panera Bread?” I was … I thought that was scary crazy until he told me that Panera’s internet had a serious firewall and blocked the login screen. These guys are good.
MailChimp helps you send out your blog posts in style.
The RSS-Driven Campaign allows you to set up an email to automatically send your blog posts to your subscribers. You can create a custom design for this email in just a few easy steps.
MailChimp reports are impressive.
Reports are perfect for encouraging and explaining the impact that MailChimp makes on SEO – specifically by increasing traffic on your site. Within moments of sending your email, you are able to see stats for things like opens, email bounces and clicks within the email. You can also compare your activity to others in the same industry. You can see what kind of browsers are being used, maps indicating your recipients’ locations, and the emails of people who have decided to unsubscribe. Reports can integrate with your Google Analytics account, social media and many other services, and the best part is that you can download lists, graphs and charts displaying all of the data you could hope to see. Who knew you could track this stuff?
Get MailChimp for your website!
Whether you are a brand, author or blogger, you can create a significant impact on your website traffic by using MailChimp. Engaging your direct audience by sending a monthly newsletter, an announcement of an upcoming event, or your blog posts via email will keep your brand front-of-mind. MailChimp takes the hard work out of email marketing – even a monkey could do it. That’s something to go bananas about.
Questions about MailChimp and your site? Let us know how we can help.
Amber McGinty is Web Director at Shelton Interactive. Connect with her on Twitter: @ambermcginty.
On the dawn of SXSWi, when techy hipsters from all over the country will descend on our beloved Austin, we wanted to arm you — a loved mob of visitors — with a go-to list of things you might find useful during your visit. At Shelton Interactive, SXSWi is one of the most anticipated conferences of the year and we are profoundly proud of Austin, so we hope you’ll find the picks from food and plug-in spots both charming and helpful. While these in their own right could satisfy your craving for all-things Austin, we understand you’re here for a reason (i.e. interactive programming), and our esteemed colleagues Rusty Shelton and Richard Ricondo will help you find that inspiration you didn’t even know you needed with their daily programming recommendations! These will be announced every morning throughout the duration of the event, so be sure to check back each day for these!
All the sponsored lounges open at 9 AM, though we recommend that you take the opportunity to grab a bit of extra sleep before kicking off interactive.
Last year we started you out at the convention center, but this year we’re going to get you rolling at the AT&T Conference Center, where OMMA is putting on an all-day marketing track. The programming looks good and, if you look at the schedule, there’s really nothing else happening Friday morning, so it’s a good time to be off-site at the AT&T Center.
The description of this session aptly stats that users have been defining mobile platforms for years (how they want to use them) and companies and marketers are scrambling to catch up. Let’s catch up together at this session.
Speakers: Mike Proulx (Hill Holliday), Rob Griffin (Havas Media) & Thom Kennon (Brabble)
There is another OMMA event at 3:30 PM, but we’re not going to make you hang around the AT&T Conference Center for two hours waiting for it – time to grab some lunch en route back to the Convention Center.
Check out Iron Cactus on Sixth Street – it’s right on the way back. Great rooftop patio and it’s not likely to be nearly as crowded as it will be Saturday – Monday.
Bre is the CEO of Makerbot and he’s going to split his presentation into two parts – a look ahead at the coming 3D printing revolution and his thoughts on lessons learned at SXSW Interactive. You need to hear both.
This is the first time slot we had to sweat about a bit because there are a lot of options. Although we were hoping to keep you at the Convention Center so you could rest your feet, it’s day one and you can walk.
If you haven’t already, you’re going to be hearing a lot about the power of GIFs at this year’s Interactive and this session will help you understand the realities of producing them.
Speakers: Fernando Alfonso III (Daily Dot), Jimmy Repeat (MTV), Lindsey Weber (Writer) & Mark Portillo (Artist)
You don’t have to be a designer to appreciate great Web typography and as we head toward a world with more responsive design, typography will play an even bigger role in well-designed sites.
Speaker: Richard Rudder (Fontdeck.com)
Ok, day one in the books. How are you feeling? The best parties will happen Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so grab your friends and hit the town—there is no shortage of fun to have in Austin.
- SUNDAY, MARCH 10 -
How are you feeling this morning? What, a tough night? Cheer up, because it’s going to be a good day – you have the Shelton Interactive/Cave Henricks Communications Books & Bytes Party tonight, along with plenty of great panels throughout the day.
I’m going to help you have a great day by recommending that you sleep in and then head over to Juan in a Million for Migas to get your day started right. There aren’t too many panels in this time slot that will treat you better than this.
My SXSW pals Rachel Deahl and Cal Reid organized this panel on behalf of Publishers Weekly and it should be a great one. Those who saw Friday’s WSJ feature article on Hugh Howey’s runaway bestseller Wool and his unique deal with Simon & Schuster got a sneak peak at the importance of this topic area in publishing right now. (Just realized after writing the overview – Hey look! Hugh’s on the panel)
Speakers: Rachel Deahl, Austin’s own Erin Brown, Kirby Kim, Hugh Howey
Anyone who has a nickname “swissmiss” is someone to pay attention to – right? Apparently so – Tina runs one of the most popular design blogs in the world (www.swiss-miss.com) and is going to talk about the changing world of design and how to take your side projects seriously.
I’m going to be really honest with you – I don’t really get the Nate Silver mania that seems to have swept the U.S. since the election. The guy is literally everywhere. What have I missed? Yeah, he runs a good blog, but he’s a mini-rockstar these days. I’m going to try to find out why during this presentation.
This panel looks really interesting – a good way to kick off the day. Based on the description, it is focused on killing off demographic data-based marketing and focusing your ad budgets on purchase data-based marketing. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
Speakers: Ann Zimmerman (WSJ), Bonin Bough (Kraft Foods), Joe Magnacca (Radio Shack) & Todd Morris (Catalina)
Great panel title. This topic area is important to anyone in a leadership position. Millennials get a bad name in most business-related media coverage, but they have plenty of upside too. This panel will look at how some companies are approaching this generation.
Speakers: Amy Mixa (PepsiCo), Betsy Flanagan (Altius Entertainment), Jay Adelson (Center Electric) & Luke Davids (Walt Disney)
This year was a big one for podcasting – more and more big names entered the space and we’ve seen it really moving the needle for a number of our authors. This panel is going to explore what’s next in this space – how do you set your podcast up for maximum impact?
Speakers: Colin Anderson (BBC), Helen Zaltzman (Answer Me This), Jesse Thorn (Maximum Fun) & Roman Mars (99% Invisible)
2012 was the year of crowdfunding and 2013 seems to be much of the same. This conversation will look at the challenges associated with it and how to chase your dreams in a way you couldn’t do in the past.
Speakers: Julia Uhrman (OUYA) & Josh Topolsky (The Verge)
So often we think about entrepreneurship as the route to building a life with lots of stuff, which causes more stress and angst along the way. This panel is going to look at entrepreneurship as a route to a life you want/love, by taking a more minimal approach to both business and life.
Speakers: Courtney Carver (Courtney Carver LLC), Joshua Becker (Becoming Minimalist), Joshua Fields Millburn (The Minimalists) & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists)
This is such a huge part of growing a design business – both presenting your work to potential clients and also presenting what you think is the best design option to existing clients (often ignored). This presentation will look at how to win in both efforts.
Speakers: Megan Mead (Creative Suitcase) & Michael Gibson (North Texas)
Welcome fellow SXSWi fanatics! Pardon my ring-master demeanor this morning. This time of the year always gets amped, and today is no exception!
It’s Friday! If you’re like me, your SXSW started yesterday. Hopefully you remained properly hydrated last night, so that fatigue isn’t attending today’s programming as your +1 (you’ll need that later on, believe me). If so, I failed you for not posting this earlier. Will you ever forgive?
Ok, I see how it is… Guess I’ll just have to earn your trust with solid programming schedule! I’m game. Now, let’s move to where you need to be AT THIS VERY MOMENT (depending on when you are reading this).
11 AM ~ Preparations Let’s be honest. You didn’t wake up early like you planned, so your taco misadventures will have to be put off til another day. Now that you scampering to get ready, make your way out the door! Forgot your badge? Don’t worry, I took that in to account, so reroute this aimless journey to the Austin Convention Center or Palmer Events Center (depending on where you live) and pick up your badge.
12:30 PM ~ OMMA: What Marketers Should Ask Themselves About Social (AT&T Conference) Having secured your badge, venture to the AT&T Conference Center where Dachis Group Founder Jeff Dachis will dissect why brand management has changed and how marketers and advertisers can catch up and understand social media beyond mere observations. Having heard him speak for a second at #SBS2013 yesterday, he definitely left me wanting more even after a simple introduction, so prepared to be woo’d.
Speaker: Jeff Dachis (The Dachis Group)
1:30 PM ~ Free-time
Now that you completed your first interactive session for SXSWi, set some time out to think about what you just experienced or even talk about it with some fellow attendees. This is a great exercise that will hopefully provide you with better insight on what panels and speakers you should be doing. Over libations is always encouraged, but if you want to take an unorthodox approach, head your way to the Austin Convention Center where all the madness is happening.
3:30 PM ~ OMMA: Marketing Implications of Facebook’s Graph Search (AT&T Conference Center) If you’re like me, you may be impressed by Facebook’s Graph Search capabilities, but don’t understand to what extent it can be used in marketing endeavors. To shed light on this, head once again to the AT&T Conference Center where a panel of agency experts including Social@Oglivy SVP/Atlanta Group Head Peter Fasano will hopefully put things in perspective.
Speakers: Peter Fasano (Social@Oglivy), Paul DeJarnatt (Starcom USA), Max Kalehoff (Syncapse), Chase McMichael (InfiniGraph.com)
Since we already two social media talks in, let’s make it a third, shall we? With no time to spare, make your way to to the Sheraton Downtown to listen to Gawker Pop Culture Blogger Adrian Chen lead a discussion analyzing Reddit and how it’s altering the web in more ways than you think.
After the panel, you’ll have some time to burn before the interactive opening party. There are several places you can fill that tummy, but I’d recommend Iron Works BBQ for the meat lover or G’Raj Mahal Cafe for the Little Foot in all of us.
For those design enthusiasts (who am I kidding… that’s all of us), end your night at the Interactive Opening Party. Here, the latest working of frog design will be showcased, and there’s no better way to view such marvels than with your fellow SXSWi compatriots (and a beer, course)!
- SATURDAY, MARCH 8 -
Having conquered day one of SXSW 2013 you probably are thinking to yourself… “wait, I’m still alive?” SXSW is an entirely different animal than most conferences and festivals. For as much joy it provides, it takes away proportionally the same amount. Accepting this fact is possibly the best way to enjoy your festival experience since (at least) you’re coming in mentally prepared for the day ahead.
I know that’s a lot to consume this morning, but this isn’t a pity party. It’s time to move mountains, so dry off your rain-drenched penny loafers and let’s make this most of this gloomy Saturday ahead (because REALLY there is so much to see)!
If you’re like me, you probably have grown tired of the term crowdsourcing. By all means, crowdsourcing is an incredible way to raise the money required to put truth to your dreams, but unless you know someone personally who has experience with this type of funding or have undertaken the endeavor yourself, you really can’t consider yourself well-versed.
Well, my friend, that changes TODAY. Venture to the Omni Downtown and listen to a panel including Frito-Law Sr. Dir, Brand Marketing Jen Saenz provide insight into crowdsourcing and how marketers are leveraging it to build their brands.
Speakers: Jen Saenz (Frito-Lay), Kevin Knight (Facebook), Shiv Singh (PepsiCo)
I have been following Leap Motion ever since I stumbled them on REDDIT and can’t help put think they’ll release their Leap Motion Controller at SXSW! If want to see how to navigate the digital frontier without physical tools, head over to the Austin Convention to hear Leap Motion Co-Founder David Holz speak.
Speakers: David Holz (Leap Motion), Jessica Lessin (The Wall Street Journal), Michael Buckwald (Leap Motion)
Don’t try to convince yourself otherwise… you’re a sucker for space! And so am I! Get your dose of the final frontier and stick it out (at the ACC) in what could possibly be the longest line at SXSWi so that you can see SpaceX CEO Elon Musk talk about why he’s still willing explore (when so many aren’t).
Space is a lot to digest, and rather than letting your mind rest, you should immediately double down and think about the future with everyone’s favorite Vice President, Al Gore! He talks about… well, THE FUTURE. If can predict global warming, I can’t imagine what inconvenient truth (sorry, IT WAS TOO EASY) he’ll drop during this featured session!
Speakers: Al Gore (Chairman of The Climate Reality Project), Walter Mossberg (Wall Street Journal)
I’m a strong proponent on ending your SXSW with a laugh! Bartunde Thurston will do just that and make you THINK at the very same time. I had the pleasure of seeing him the past two years speak on two completely topics (Cats & How to Be Black), and he had the audience in the palm of his hand from the start. Learn how brands should approach innovation in this more-than-likely witty session!
Speakers: Baratunde Thurston (Cultivated Wit), Paul Valerio (Method)
HONORABLE MENTION: Foundation (Hilton Downtown) with Chad Hurley (AVOS) and Kevin Rose (Google Ventures) #buildingup
- SUNDAY, MARCH 10 -
Hopefully you survived the monsoon that rolled in last night! Granted that word may seem a little extreme to some, but, like the Serengeti, Texas wouldn’t call rain its bedfellow and often panics when the unlikely intruder makes its presence known.
While I would like to say there will be clear skies from now on, unfortunately you may have to brave the storm once more today. However, with the pep talk we had yesterday, I envision you are reading this post from a local sporting goods store, rain boots in-hand, ready to tackle today’s elements.
The art of storytelling is definitely a virtue and held in high regard especially when it comes to brand-building. In this panel, Coca-Cola Dir, Digital Comm/Social Media Ashley Brown discusses with other corporate storytellers how companies can break through the noise with compelling storytelling.
Speakers: Ashley Brown (Coca-Cola), Dustee Jenkins (Target), Gary Goldhammer (H+K Strategies), Jon Steinberg (BuzzFeed)
We are a screen people, and that’s the ugly truth. The prevalence of the interface is all too common when you think about it, but have you ever even considered that there may be an alternative? Well, Samsung America Designer Golden Krishna has and will attempt to take you down the road of the world with the typical user interface.
When I hear the term viral, I couldn’t begin to tell you how many negative connotations come to mind. Like you, my intentions with every undertaking are to connect with as many people as possible, and I would never put my ultimate goal in perspective with some diluted buzzword.
Yet, even though viral has long been played out, its still rather prevalent. In this panel, Pixability CEO Bettina Hein and others hopes to eliminate the confusion and anger coming from the term by eliminating the misunderstanding surrounding viral videos.
Presenters: Bettina Hein (Pixability Inc.), Eduardo Tubon (Diners Club International), Kevin Doohan (Machinima), Rob Ciampa (Pixability Inc.)
If you missed the JASH crew at the IFC House like I did, this panel of noteworthy comedians including Michael Cera and Sarah Silverman warrants your attention. In this featured session, JASH will explore the creative process of comedians and how digital media has brought this to uncharted territory to the forefront.
Speakers: Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim Daniel Kellison,
With over a 170 million people worldwide, Tumblr is a force to be reckoned with in the social media space. Since its conception in 2007, the service has evolved rapidly and has even been a favorite choice among brands as of late. In this talk with Tumblr Founder David Karp, you will receive insight on just what caused this evolution and where the platform is headed.
Speakers: David Karp
P.S. The SXSW Trade Show opened today, so don’t forget to stop by amidst the wealth of programming!
- MONDAY, MARCH 11 -
It’s so hard to say goodbye…
Technically, SXSW Interactive ends tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be off on the first plane out thanks to your BFF fatigue (even though I think you should play though the pain). While your brain may need some sleep calibration before it can actually comprehend SXSW’s benefit, this year’s event definitely been a success with compelling keynotes and panels by today’s greatest innovators putting the convoluted mess of information in perspective and uprooting our dormant craniums to think beyond our inherent capacity.
Monday, March 11 is no different, so let’s move on what you need to see today at SXSWi!
We are the youth of the digital nation, whether you like it or not. If you’re like me, you spend the majority of the day in front of screen, rather than making physical conversations with peers, colleagues or friends. So it really wasn’t a surprise to hear Ann Mack of JWT say that absence of the physical connection has left us wanting more of exactly what we have left behind. Join this panel including Wired Correspondent Frank Rose as they reveal the heightened unconscious physical enticements affected by the digital world.
Speakers: Ann Mack (JWT), Frank Rose (Wired), Paul Woolmington (Naked Communications)
The Big Aristotle. Shaq Fu. The Diesel. Superman. The Shaqtus.
Shaquille O’neal is larger than life character that demands more nicknames than he currently claims. While Shaq may not be a social media guru, he does know how to market his brand (and he does it well). See him express his opinions on topics ranging from social media to start ups to marketing guru Brain Solis. By the end his talk, I’m sure you’ll have new nicknames to add to describe this polarizing figure!
Speakers: Shaquille O’neal (Inside the NBA), Brian Solis (The Altimeter Group)
HONORABLE MENTION: Damn the Man! Disrupting Regulating Industries (Four Seasons) with Dana Rosenberg #damntheman
If you have been following my programming picks, you know I enjoy comedic personalities mostly because their message resonates with me moreso than others. And when relevant, their performances can be groundbreaking. Listen to Ben Huh of Cheezburger (who has been doing this for a living) demonstrate how to give your communication the strategic comedic pump in pretty much scenario.
Speaker: Ben Huh (Cheezburger)
HONORABLE MENTION I: The Making of a Meme (Hyatt Regency) with Adam Smith (Texts from Hillary) #photomeme
Let’s be honest, you’re a mover-and-shaker and already well-versed in both sides of the Google Glass argument. Whether you’re for or against the device, you can’t help but learn more about this ingenious eyesore (no offense) that’s supposed to change the human experience as we know it! Well, look no further than to Google Sr Developer Advocate Timothy Jordan who will cover ALL THINGS Glass up until now.
I may have gotten a tad emotional in my last posting, but I couldn’t help it! Over the past week, I feel that we have established a true connection (there I go again), and I will indeed miss your shining facing out and about. Well, I can’t get these feelings get the best of me quite yet, so before I break down, here’s the last of my programming recommendations for SXSWi 2013.
With the intense pressing stemming from new competitor Spotify’s entrance into the market, the Recording Industry Association of America’s quest for increased royalties and CEO Joe Kennedy’s recent resignation, Pandora has a lot to prove over the coming months as to whether it’s business model is viable and sustainable. Listen to Pandora’s CTO Tom Conrad discuss all things in the music and tech where supposedly not topic is off limits.
Speakers: Tom Conrad (Pandora), MG Siegler (Crunchfund)
No citations are needed to prove that are government (especially at a local level) and how it is being run is stagnant and inefficient. However, that doesn’t mean citizens aren’t looking to change that! Recently, local crowfunding programs are sprouting across the U.S. and tackling the problems the government has backlogged. In this talk, listen to panel including LeSar Development Consultants Principal Dir of Innovation & Research Eric Engelman discuss the successes and failures of these startups.
Speakers: Eric Engelman (LeSar Development Consultants), Jordan Raynor (Citizinvestor), Rodrigo Davies (Spacehive), Story Bellows (City of Philadelphia)
Media is an ever-changing landscape, and recent trendsetter BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti has had his company adapt accordingly. With new technologies emerging every day, the next wave of innovation in media is near. In this talk, Jonah will share practical advice on what to expect and how to act, so that you won’t be left behind.
Having the pleasure of seeing Matthew Inman at BookPeople several months ago, there was really no SXSWi 2013 keynote/panel I anticipated more than this one. Matthew is witty, smart and all-around mensch, and this resonates in his speeches. If you’re looking for laugh (and to be inspired), look no further than The Oatmeal.
If there’s anything Peter Thiel can teach us, it’s not to judge a book by its cover. The venture capitalist has a knack at judging potential and firmly believes there are secret truths to mitigating indecision and discourse. Listen to Peter discuss secret truths and how you can uncover them yourself.
While I can’t tell you too much about this panel, it is the last interactive event and seems like a proper conclusion to the festival. Listen to science-fiction writer Bruce Sterling’s closing remarks in a rant that is supposedly a true highlight of every year (guess we’ll see).
Speaker: Bruce Sterling (Bruce Sterling)
Progress Coffee – 500 San Marcos Street (East)
Their signature iced coffee, with Mexican Vanilla, is the ultimate treat for a hot, sunny day! Ask for a snack menu, too.. Most are served with El Milagro tortilla chips.. conveniently located just down the street and delightfully un-salted!
Houndstooth Coffee – 4200 N Lamar (Hyde Park / Triangle)
Expertly brewed with amazing mid-century modern decor. Don’t be intimidated by the menu! The baristas are crazy nice and love to talk about what they love– COFFEE!
Patika Coffee – 4th St & Congress (downtown)
Not your everyday coffee-from-a-trailer.. This place does it right. Grab a seat and stay a while..Me? I like to pretend that I am at a cafe in Italy. Sometimes I believe it.
East Side King – Multiple Locations – mostly on the East Side. Newest location at Hole in the Wall – 2548 Guadalupe
Owned by Top Chef Paul Qui – An Austin favorite. MUST HAVE: Pork Belly Buns, Fried Rice Balls
Via 313 Pizza – 1111 E 6th (East)
Detroit style pizza… ever had it? Square, thick, and loaded! Grab a drink at Violet Crown while you wait! MUST HAVE: The Cadillac
Chi’lantro BBQ – Multiple trucks in various locations – check schedule on their website or Twitter
Korean / Tex / Mex fusion.. MUST HAVE: Kimchi fries
Plugin + Work
Thunderbird Coffee – 2200 Manor Rd (Cherrywood / North East)
Ample seating with planty of outlets.. oh! and great coffee, beer, wine, and food! One of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have had in a while.. Just saying.
East Village Cafe – 1111 Chicon St (East)
Two patios, coffee, tea, ice cream, pastries, etc
Faulk Central Library – 800 Guadalupe St (Downtown)
Downtown — multiple public work spaces with room to spread out and get to work
Weather Up – 1808 E Cesar Chavez (East)
Distant relative of the Tribeca and Prospect Heights branches — hand-carved ice and superior cocktails. Check out the Tapas Bravas trailer out front.
Drink.Well – 207 E 53rd Street (North Loop)
Specialty cocktails, craft beer, and hand-selected wine… Come hungry.
Rio Rita - 1308 E 6th Street (East)
For the non-pretentious cocktail drinker. Feel free to order off the menu– The lead bartender has a knack for knowing what you want more than you do. Decent-sized patio, dogs okay!
Scoot Inn – 1308 E 4th Street (East)
“The oldest continuously running beer going in central Texas”! Ample outdoor space, and SkeeBall machines! Ask for their specialty drink.. You won’t regret it.
Pour House Pub – 6701 Burnet Road (North/Allandale)
The best beer prices in town –rivaled only by its sister bar Violet Crown Social Club on East 6th. While you’re here, try the fried pickles and hamburger. I don’t know how they do it.. so good!
Yellow Jacket Social Club - 1704 E 5th Street (East)
Tons of local beer, amazing patio, and neatly tucked away among other popular East Side bars. Think about coming back for brunch, too!
Where the Locals Go
Ramen Tatsu-Ya - 8557 Research Blvd (North)
Dine in only — and be ready for a line! Real Japanese Ramen from some seriously trained chefs. Dinner only, Tuesday – Saturday. Opens at 5 and you would be wises to be there at 5!
Midnight Cowboy – 313 E 6th St (Downtown)
Speakeasy expertly disguised on East “Dirty” 6th Street. Reservations are required and coveted. Enjoy table-side service and some of the most expertly crafted cocktails in the city.
Whole Foods HQ – 550 Bowie St – 6th & Lamar (Downtown)
My favorite restaurant in Austin.. Hear me out! Admitadly, I love grocery stores to begin with.. but I think even you will be squealing with delight when you enter this mecca. More prepared food stations than I can count, plus Candy “Chocolate” island, plus the Cookie Bar, plus a walk-in Beer Room, plus a wine bar. I mean.. come on. Grab some grub and head upstairs to the rooftop patio. If you shimmy to the southern end, you can get a pretty amazing view.. and maybe a glimpse of the river!
BookPeople – 603 N Lamar (Downtown)
Look for staff recommendations and feel free to roam the aisles endlessly. Check out the toys on the stairs!
Farewell Books – 913 E Cesar Chaves (East)
Boutique new + used bookstore – comic and art books. + Art Gallery! In Domy Books’ old location.. an instant neighborhood staple.
Monkeywrench Books – 110 E N Loop Blvd (North Loop)
Volunteer-run.. coffee, tea, and organic treats. One of my favorite bookstores in Austin – tons of community events, progressive literature, and they participate in a book donation to prisons.
BookWoman – 5501 North Lamar #A-105(Brentwood/North)
Everyone needs a local feminist bookstore! The employees really know their stuff. Poetry, criticism, graphic novels? They have it. Beautiful notebooks and other gift-friendly merchandise? They have it all!
We’ve started a Twitter account (@AskATX) and hashtag #AskATX, so if you get lost, have a question, want to know where the best late-breakfast spot is, tweet us there. We’ll answer, and we’d love to hear from you.
Most of the employees at Shelton Interactive are, well, let’s call it lively – especially the PR and social media departments. In our new office, we have a large central room that seven of us share as an open working area. These 7 employees, or at least most of them, also happen to be the some of the most obnoxious – myself very much included. We are just …loud.
But lately around 9 a.m. a nearly eerie silence blankets the office. Everyone is quiet and still, their eyes staring at their computer screens like perfect corporate zombies, brows slightly furrowed in concentration. No, this is not the time that our absolutely terrifying CEO Rusty Shelton wanders into the office (joke!), rather, it is the productive product of a new book we are working with, “The One Thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” (Bard Press, April 1, 2013) by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
A few Shelton Interactive employees went to see Gary give a presentation a few weeks back, and came back into the office proclaiming that their lives were literally changed by what they heard. They had become Keller and Papasan converts, and were ready to get on board to try the “one thing” way of working.
Boiled down to its simplest form the concept goes as follows: For four hours of your workday, preferably when your willpower is at its peak – the beginning of the day – designate one task to focus on and complete. During this time, you should – well at least we do – signify to your coworkers you are working on your “one thing.” Here at Shelton Interactive, we often communicate through Skype chat. So, when we are focusing on our “one thing”, we set our status to “do not disturb,” the blaring red little circle protecting you from any unnecessary questions or potentially distractive BuzzFeed links being sent your way.
When picking your “one thing,” Keller and Papasan say you should look for the ONE thing that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary. This usually also translates to me as the one thing I will naturally try and procrastinate the most on. For example, today, this blog post. Don’t hate! I just didn’t feel like writing it. But, now, since I made it today’s “one thing” and knocked it out, I won’t have it hanging over my head all week. Liberating.
You may be thinking at this point: There is no way I can go four hours without answering my emails. Of course, if something needs immediate attention, you are going to have to respond during your “one thing” time. But if it isn’t completely urgent, allow yourself to put off answering it until after your time block has finished. Many of us here at Shelton Interactive have realized that when you knock out all your email at once, instead of taking breaks to answer them as they come in, you get through them much more efficiently. So, with our “one thing” for the day finished and our e-mail boxes empty with more hours left in the work day: it feels pretty awesome.
It has only been a week or so since we really started adopting the “one thing” concept in the office, but we have already noticed a positive difference. You should give it a try!
What are some ways you have become more productive? Share your tips with us!
Katie Schnack is a Publicist at Shelton Interactive. Connect with her on Twitter: @katieschnack
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What and why a wireframe?
A wireframe is easily the most important step in the web design process. What is a wireframe, you ask? Well, a wireframe acts as a blueprint for your website. What kind of architect would build a house without a blueprint? That architect might not know how much furniture you have, or that you need a large living room to fit your prized big, comfy couch. Next thing you know, you’re sitting on the floor sobbing. I digress.
Wireframes do not convey design – colors, graphics, fonts, etc. Before stepping into the design process, a wireframe ensures that your website will be as efficient and effective as possible. They are a great way to help clients stay focused on their overall goals while helping designers and developers optimize their workflow. They guarantee that all of your content has a place and is organized, and that the most important pieces of content (aka that prized big, comfy couch) have enough room to be displayed prominently on the site. This can save designers, developers and most importantly, you, tons of time by getting the important stuff – content, hierarchy, site layout, functionality and navigation structure – right the first time while also helping to pin-point any potential issues that may arise and address questions that would not have initially come up otherwise.
How are wireframes created?
Wireframes are mostly drawn out on paper, sometimes even constructed with post-it notes, and then polished with Photoshop or a web-based wireframe tool such as Lovely Charts or Mockingbird.
Again, get things right… the first time!
Whether you’re looking at a sketch or a lot of gray boxes built in Photoshop, the important thing is that you’re taking the time to plan things out and get things right the first time.