An Ant’s Eye View of SXSW 2011


Share on LinkedIn

Just back from SXSW in Austin. Here are my Top 10 takeaways.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christopher Carfi
Ant's Eye View
Social Business strategist advising clients such as Google, HP, Cisco, P&G and others.


  1. You mentioned that for you many of the QR codes didn’t work, but that was OK… was that the case for you or many of the attendees?

    I ask because I have had the discussion about using technology and “being out over your skis” meaning pushing the edge so often that sometimes you score big but sometimes you also crash terribly.

    It sounded like attendees in general were OK with the QR codes not working (such as did anyone get the cupcake to work?)… But that may be because SXSW attendees are in general early adopters and understand that “crashing” is part of innovation.

    Personally, I try and evaluate the audience’s tolerance for risk combined with the importance of data/action undertaken, and then decide how far to push it. But I tend to sometimes be a little wobbly… thus the conversation.

    I put it out to the group, what’s your opinion on how far “out over your skis” can you go with normal, everyday consumers? (If there is such a thing.)

    And Christopher, thank you for the SXSW summary. I missed it and your summary was well paced and informative. Thanks!

  2. >hat’s your opinion on how far “out over your skis” can you go with normal, everyday consumers? (If there is such a thing.)

    I’m a total acolyte of the Geoffrey Moore / Crossing the Chasm approach. As long as an organization knows where said technology is in that uptake cycle, things will probably be ok. SXSW is chock-full of innovators and early adopters, so “crashing” is par for the course, IMHO.


    * – love the “out over the skis” analogy, btw. totally resonates. both @lisastone and i are huge fans of sliding down mountains on slippery things, although she still gives me grief for switching from skis to being a knuckledragger about ten years ago… 🙂

  3. I’ve heard of “Crossing the Chasm” but it was one of those books I never got to read. I may step back a bit and give it a read.

    On the “Out Over the Skis” … someone said it to me as a negative comment, a criticism of my leadership on a project. We launched a video contest site with just released YouTube API that, of course, blew up due to YouTube bugs. We were down for about 12 hours – no big deal – it was a fun contest site not enterprise critical functionality. But this person did not understand why we took the risk.

    Funny thing was, I never took it as an insult, to me it was more of a badge of honor. If I’m not pushing clients on technology, then I’m not doing my job.

  4. The corollary to the “skis” comment is Andretti’s quote on racing: “If everything seems under control, you’ re just not going fast enough.” 🙂


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here