Homeless people wearing T shirts reading “I am a 4G hotspot” are offering SXSW attendees network access in exchange for a donation. Is this awful or innovative?
Danny Trejo and Robert Rodriguez swag it out with us at SXSW. Photos of mostly unfamous people at the click.
Yeah, did your favorite magazine have a SXSW event in which M.I.A. protege Rye Rye came and kicked out the jams? Huh? What’s that, Atlantic? Cat got your tongue, Mother Jones? Recognize this. We will fight all of you.
On Sunday night at SXSW, Fast Company hosted tech and art and innovation luminaries for food, drinks, and music by Rye Rye and Theophilus London. Morgan Spurlock showed up. Patricia Arquette, too. Are you in Austin? You might be pictured here. Couldn’t make it? Live vicariously through these revelers. Just don’t attempt Rye Rye’s moves at home. You might get hurt.
More photos at the click!
EDIT: We are not trying to start Tumblr wars with anyone. We love all of you equally.
Awww snap digi-beef!! Thought nothing could break Groupon’s stride? Thought wrong. A report from SXSW:
Sunday’s Groupon panel on the Fast Company and PepsiCo stage took an unexpected turn when Travis Kalanick, a longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur who runs online car service Uber, spoke frankly about his negative experiences as a client of Groupon—and several Groupon staffers in the audience took issue with the story he told.
The panel was framed as a post-game discussion of Groupon’s own panel on its creative, quality-based approaches to marketing and copywriting, which are helping the company keep market share in the face of an army of clones. But it quickly got real.
“In marketing, in the stories you tell, you guys are nothing but winning,” Kalanick said. “But there is such a disconnect with operations.” He said that Groupon representatives had promised him primary placement and not delivered, didn’t run the offer on the dates he wanted, handed him a data dump in a clunky Excel spreadsheet, and gave him an initial estimate of proceeds from the offer that was ten times higher than what the group deal actually delivered. “That’s money I spent to put cars on the road that we didn’t need.”
Darren Schwartz, Groupon’s SVP of sales, grabbed a mike in the middle of the panel to respond that Groupon’s hiring a team of merchant managers to improve the oversight process from sales to the completion of an offer.
“The reality is that Travis has identified the same stuff we have,” Schwartz told Fast Company afterward. “We need to merge our marketing excellence with our operations excellence and get it all to the same level.” They’re rolling out new tools to help local businesses better track their ROI from each offer.
It’s too early to tell whether Groupon is simply the harbinger of a huge trend in social consumption, or itself the winner of the race. Its ultimate success or failure is sure to rest on the quality of its relationships with tens of thousands of local merchants as well as customers. In this way all business, like politics, is local. That’s why I was a little taken aback to hear Schwartz describe Groupon’s approach.
“We want to help them not only understand how to use Groupon,” Schwartz said, “but how to run their business better.” Whoa, I said. Does the local pizza guy who’s been around for 20 years really need you to tell them how to run their business?
Can’t make it to Austin (or can’t be in 12 places at once when you get there)? For the first time, FastCompany.com is covering South by Southwest Interactive live, with streaming keynote speeches, video clips from the most talked-about panels, and inspiring one-on-one interviews with experts in our 30SecondMBA.com series, filmed live in Austin. Find it all in one place here.
This year we also partnered with PepsiCo to connect you with the most innovative minds at SXSWi. Drop by the PepsiCo Stage from March 12-15 to meet the co-founders of GroupMe and find out how group messaging is changing the way we communicate in a panel moderated by Fast Company Senior Writer Ellen McGirt. Other panels include “Designing Careers That Don’t Exist Yet,” and “Forming a StartUp Within your Organization.” For more info on who, when, and where, here. For other events on the Pepsi Stage be sure to follow @PepsiCo and #PepsiCoStage on Twitter.
For all of our SXSW updates, follow @fastcompany on Twitter. Oh, and if you did manage to find a place to crash in town—and are in it for the booze and schmooze as much as all the talk—the Fast Company Partyis March 13. Join us for drinks, dancing, and a live performance by Rye Rye and Theophilus London. Be sure to RSVP at http://www.fastcompanyrsvp.com/
We hope to see you there!