March 13, 2014

Video: SXSW 2014 Recap

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 8:47 am

This morning, I sat down with KATV to talk about the latest trends and top takeaways from South by Southwest 2014. Watch the video here.

KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

March 13, 2013

#SXSW 2013 Photos

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 10:21 am

Here is a selection from all the photos I took the last week at SXSW Interactive 2013. Hop over to Flickr to see the full gallery.

Badge Line Photo from Dalton AlieraEmily GoProEmily Post ItEmily SXSW BackdroopKyle and Emily SXSW Background

Pink Post ItOverflow Crowd at Search Session

SXSW 2013 Photos, a set on Flickr.

March 12, 2013

#SXSW 2013: This Is What It Felt Like

Filed under: Current Events,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 11:11 pm

Five days of walking, waiting in line, listening to brilliance, and sharing it all with colleagues. It has been a great, though exhausting week. I am inspired and tired. Here is a short video of footage I shot while moving around the last five days.


SXSW 2013 GoPro Recap from Emily Reeves on Vimeo.

March 10, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: #SXSW 2013, An Update On What’s In My Bag

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 9:13 pm

My bag hasn’t gotten any lighter since the first day of SXSW. I’ve only added to it and it has gotten much messier:

SXSW Bag Day 3

It is still relatively easy to find what I need in that bag though, mostly because I have bags inside of the bag and each bag is “themed” so like contents can be found in the same bag. I made reference to my “necessities” bag in my “Day 1″ bag post, but here are the contents that I consider necessities and that can be found in that bag.

SXSW Necessities Bag

  1. Jendarling Traveler bag.
  2. Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, because dry hands hurt.
  3. MAC Fix+, for a face refresher.
  4. This is really a card case, but I use it as a wallet. It is engraved with an “E” on the top and it was a gift from a good friend.
  5. Aesop Ginger Flight Therapy, for help with relaxing during times of frustration (like not being able to get into full sessions).
  6. Bandages, for the blisters on my feet. These came from the SXSW trade show and Kyle actually picked them up. When he was showing me his swag, I begged for them. He graciously turned them over to me.
  7. Headache medicine.
  8. Apple EarPods.
  9. NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder.
  10. Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Naked.
  11. Estee Lauder compact, engraved with my mom’s initials and my parents’ wedding anniversary.
  12. NARS Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil in Cythere.
  13. Rodin lip balm.
  14. Kleenex pocket pack.
  15. Herbal Essentials antibacterial wipes.
  16. “Boss Ladies” receipt pouch, for collecting receipts, a gift from a good friend.

I never claimed to be low-maintenance.

Getting Dressed: #SXSW Day 3

Filed under: Style,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 8:36 pm

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say, even if it is at “Spring Break for Geeks.”



{all about the comfort}
Another long and full day at SXSW. I needed to be comfortable.
Splendid shirt; JCrew sweater; Lululemon leggings; New Balance sneakers.


March 9, 2013

#SXSW 2013: Brainstorming Technology First

Filed under: Business,Digital Strategy,Marketing,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 8:49 pm

One of my favorite SXSW sessions today was “Brainstorming Technology First.” It was presented by an agency and they provided real examples with actionable steps for implementing a technology-first approach to brainstorming projects. R/GA created this process to counter the consistent problem they were encountering where an idea was generated then the question “is this possible” was asked to the technologist. Their desired outcome was to know that something was possible and that it was possible to do well as the idea was generated.

Tech First Brainstorming Framework

  • Still start with creative brief. But choose a technology that is relevant to the audience and hardcode it into the brief. It should be a technology that is specific to your audience. The more granular you can be, the better. For example, not “mobile apps,” but “Passbook for iOS.”
  • Time box brainstorm session at one hour. Get everyone on the team at the same time in the room. Present the brief. Then give them 5-8 people to silently write their own answers to the questions in the brief. It is really important to let them work silently first.
  • Spend next 45 minutes sharing their ideas and encourage creative riffing.
  • Then the senior leadership team should take the ideas and distill them and craft them into something presentable.
  • This is an efficient process because 90% of ideas that come out are feasible because we have embraced the constraints on the front end and we don’t have to ask if this is possible.

Examples of Approaches

  • Fill in the blanks: give people a grammar and a framework to tell stories.
  • Magnetic poetry: provide a list of descriptors and a list of technology, then mix and match to get creative.
  • Branded magnetic poetry: same as above, but brand specific.
  • Social media API roulette: pick two very specific API points from two different networks and ask what can be created by combining the two.
An example of the "magnetic poetry" approach to tech-first brainstorming sessions.

An example of the “magnetic poetry” approach to tech-first brainstorming sessions.

As technology is integrated more and more each day in our activities and communications, thinking about how an idea can be executed as part of the technology rather than being retrofitted into the technology is increasingly important. This approach to brainstorming can help agencies and brands make the transition in their thinking about technological communications.


Getting Dressed: #SXSW Day 2

Filed under: Style,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 7:34 pm

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say, even if it is at “Spring Break for Geeks.”






{preppy pink}
Day 2 of South by Southwest and today I was prepared for rain that never really fell. My preppy signature pink definitely stood amount among the hipster dress code of SXSW.
JCrew shirt, sweater, and scarf; Lululemon leggings; Hunter boots; Eric Javits hat.

March 8, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: SXSW 2013 Day 1 Experience

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 9:09 pm

SXSW is one of my favorite trips of the year: the learning, the geeks, the gear! Oh my!

Look at all that gear!

Look at all that gear!

I am determined to get video footage this year.

I am determined to get video footage this year.

I call these my "friend makers" because everyone asked where I got them as I carried them around all day.

Huge free Post-It notes in my signature color! I call these my “friend makers” because everyone asked where I got them as I carried them around all day.

Getting Dressed: #SXSW Day 1

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Style,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 8:51 pm

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say, even if it is at “Spring Break for Geeks.”





{sxsw comfort}
A day of learning, walking from session to session.
JCrew shirt, vest, jeans and shoes.

Girl Gets Geeky: #SXSW 2013, What’s In My Bag (Day 1)

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Style,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 9:51 am

It is the first day of SXSW 2013. I tend to overpack for the trip and for each individual day. Here is what is in my bag for this first day. It is likely to dwindle as the week progresses and I get tired and figure out what is not worth dragging around.

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 9.30.16 AM

  1. Tory Burch tote.
  2. iPad 2 in a Stone & Cloth case.
  3. SXSW pocket guide.
  4. Evernote Moleskine.
  5. Camera lenses, zoom and wide angle.
  6. Warby Parker sunglasses.
  7. Custom designed glasses from Burrow’s & Mr. Frank’s Optical in Little Rock.
  8. Jendarling Traveler bag of essentials like money, ID, lipstick, headache medicine, Kleenex, earbuds, etc.
  9. Lytro camera.
  10. Bottle of Smart Water.
  11. Frends headphones.
  12. Kate Spade bag of chargers, cords and extra battery packs.
  13. Fossil bag of Moleskine pens.
  14. JCrew scarf.
  15. GoPro HERO 2 camera on an extendable monopod.
  16. Sony NEX-C3 camera on a quick-sling strap.
  17. Granola bar (not pictured).
  18. iPhone 5 (not pictured).

This is likely overkill for today.

March 1, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: @SXSW 2013 Interactive Prep Tips

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 7:34 am

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 7.34.09 AM

One week from today, the big South by Southwest Interactive festival kicks off in Austin, TX. This will be my fourth year to attend and I am just as excited as I was the first time. But by now, I know what to expect and how to prepare for the five full days of navigating through 30,000+ attendees and deciding where and how to spend my time from the thousand choices offered seemingly 24-hours of every day.

I’ve begun my packing list and have started narrowing down my selection of sessions to attend. As I do these things, I am keeping a few things in mind and thought I would share my top five prep tips for attending SXSW:

  1. Have a plan each day. As the conference grows each year, the sessions are spread further apart in hotels and conference rooms across the city. SXSW has a great transportation system in place to get you to all the locations and there are many brands that will be there to give rides, as well. However, there are a lot of people there and you only have 30 minutes between each session. I recommend that you have a list of sessions each day that you want to attend, you know where they are and you know where all the shuttle pick-up/drop-off locations are to get you to those sessions. Don’t wait until you get out of one session to try to pick your next session. You will end up in no session or in one that just happens to be close with open seats. 
  2. Wear comfortable shoes and carry a lightweight bag each day. The days are long and the sessions are far apart. You are going to be walking a lot. And you are going to be squeezing through crowds. Make it as easy on yourself as possible. The first year I attended, I think I put every piece of tech gear I had in my bag and I nearly died by the end of the first day; each day my bag got lighter and lighter as I figured out what I could eliminate. This is hard for me; I have a survivalist mentality and want to be prepared for any situation, so I always carry a big bag with everything I can think of that I might need. This is not a good a approach for SXSW. Basically, here is what I really need in my bag: phone, tablet, extra battery pack/cords, wall charger for phone/tablet, notebook & pen, scarf (some of those rooms get cold), glasses, sunglasses, camera and one lip balm.
  3. Take notes. Don’t think that you will remember everything each day and can write it up at the end of the day. There is too much. Take notes during every session. You might be surprised when you look back each day at what you learned. And if you are like our company, you are one of the very few lucky ones that get to attend SXSW, so you will want to (and be expected to) share what you learned with your colleagues when you return home. You won’t want to miss a word.
  4. Rest and caffeinate liberally. There are many activities to participate in during the evenings. These things are not for me, but I see the value and know that most of you want to go to the parties. Go, have fun. But I recommend you don’t get too crazy because the days require energy and you will need your rest. Be sure to get plenty of sleep. And you will likely still need caffeine to get you through the full day. There are plenty of snack stations around the festival, but keep in mind that 30,000+ other people are getting in those lines about the same time you are; plan accordingly to get your caffeine fix.
  5. Pause occasionally and take it all in. It really is a cool experience. Too often, I find myself with my head down looking at my phone trying to find my way around, or reading what is going on in other locations or back at the office. Every once in while, stop (and step out of the traffic flow) and look around at the people, the activity and the conversations that are happening around you. And appreciate that you have the opportunity to be a part of it all.

Bonus tip: Always be charging. Your devices, that is. You are going to be using your phone and tablet a lot: to find sessions, to share learnings, to take notes, to connect with your colleagues. Battery power will deplete faster than you think. Start out with a full battery, carry an extra if you have it, bring your charger and any spare moment or open outlet you see, plug in even if you think you have plenty of battery left. You don’t. Trust me on this one.

Others will talk about the networking opportunities and the parties. As an introvert and a continuous learner, these things are not as appealing to me. Though, I can see the value, fun and opportunity in networking and parties. They are just not for me. I love the listening, observing and learning that comes from the sessions at SXSW.

I’ll be sharing learnings and insights here and over at the Stone Ward blog, Waiting for the Elevator, throughout the entire festival. And you can follow me on Twitter for in-the-moment observations.

April 4, 2012

Presentation: SXSW 2012 Lessons

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Presentation,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 8:59 am

Yesterday, I gave a summary presentation to our agency to share the lessons and learning from SXSW Interactive 2012. Here is a copy of the presentation:

March 19, 2012

#SXSWi 2012: The Five Major Themes

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Social Media,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 5:15 pm

I keep getting asked about the one coolest thing I learned about at SXSW. The problem is: I didn’t walk away with one cool thing that I can hold up as THE find of SXSW 2012. Instead, I heard several themes woven throughout the many, many sessions I attended over the five day conference that we can apply to our clients’ digital presences and make us all better communicators with more engaging content in those digital spaces. Here are the five major themes that I heard:

Theme #1: Content and/or Content Curation

Brands and agencies are looking more like publishers every day. This is because in digital spaces, we need to pull consumers to our messages rather than pushing our messages out as we can with the more traditional media channels. We need to generate content or be excellent content curators to give our consumers a reason to engage with us in those digital spaces.

Theme #2: Storytelling

Stories can be told with words, photography, video or data. And they can be told and shared across many different channels, giving the audience a different way of experiencing and engaging with the stories. Narrative is what helps people remember the message. Narrative gives them an opportunity to experience a product or service before they buy. As we are crafting our narratives and writing our stories, we need to also think about how these can be shared across a variety of platforms; we should create in a way that is super flexible so that the content can be molded to go anywhere.

Theme #3: Discovery, Exploration, Customization

Given the amount of data that we are sharing with our mobile apps, our social networks and our web browsing, these services can now start customizing the content they share with us, making relevant recommendations based on our profiles, habits and location. Google+ is socially annotating our search results with friends’ activities and recommendations and garnering an uptick in click-through rates of 5-10% as a result. Foursquare is making recommendations for places we should visit based on our check-in histories and where we are standing at that moment. New location apps are popping up left and right to connect us with people with similar interests that are nearby, to inform us about locations that are nearby or to help us control our environments with approach to geo-fenced locations. It is fascinating and only serves to improve our experiences, save us time and help us find things we might not otherwise have discovered.

Theme #4: Using the Right Tools

No, you should not use Pinterest just because it is the latest, greatest social media tool out there. It seems like obvious that communicators should be (1) setting objectives for digital and social, (2) then measuring all decisions and messages up against those objectives before releasing tactics into the marketplace, (3) considering who the target audience is and where they tend to congregate, and (4) looking carefully at the competition and setting out to do something different. However, with as much conversation as there was around this topic and these steps, it is instead obvious that many communicators are not following this process and instead jumping into channels with little thought, other than just to be there to be there.

Theme #5: Observation

One presenter put it this way: “Look at what others are doing and riff off what they are doing well.” Another panelist described creativity as being made of three elements: copying, transforming, and/or combining what has already been created. Both get to the same point: nothing is new, but we can make it better and differentiate. Pay attention to what is happening around you in the digital spaces and learn from it.

March 15, 2012

15 Favorite Random Quotes & Facts From #SXSWi

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 2:31 pm

In no particular order:

  • There is such a thing as internet addiction. It is a defined clinical disorder.
  • If a Google search ad is socially annotated, there is a 5-10% click through uptick.
  • Presenters love to use the word “magical” to describe technology.
  • “Keep your head on a swivel.”
  • Most popular power song on Nike+: “Eye of the Tiger.”
  • “Our phones are like Mary Poppins’ bag: bigger on the inside than on the outside.”
  • Presenters referring to those outside SXSW as “muggles.”
  • “I can’t sail around the world in a broken tea cup.”
  • The average academic article is only read by seven people.
  • There are 250 million photos uploaded every day to Facebook.
  • “Geek plus storyteller = relevant data analysis.”
  • “‘Place’ is a layer cake of qualities about that place.”
  • “I thought Highlight was a prank. It blows privacy concerns wide open. I thought they were trolling SXSW. But it is real and there is something is liberating about just letting it all out.”
  • No-mo-phobia = fear of losing mobile phone.
  • Women speak 7,000 words a day while men speak 2,000 words a day.

March 14, 2012

#SXSWi: The Word Cloud

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:44 pm

Want to see at-a-glance what I blogged about during SXSW 2012? Here is a word cloud from all my SXSW blog posts this year: