Thoughts on second day of SxSW – 9th March 2008

by oneafrikan on March 11, 2008

A/B Testing was pretty interesting but kinda strightforward theoretically. Interesting to see how Yahoo!, eBay and LinkedIn approach testing in different ways, and some ideas around testing ideas for user interaction and design vs results. Sometimes you get results you didn’t expect, design or plan for.

Red Dragon – Internet in China:

  • Chinese market is super large – 200m online & 600m mobile, but market stats are unreliable in general.
  • Problems with the market – mobile is bigger, largely internet cafe based, government controlled.
  • Quasi e-commerce – credit cards not common yet – impediment to online advertising.
  • User generated content is pretty low.
  • Hire people who understand culture and creative language.
  • Stock options not common – people understand cash.

Zuckerberg keynote with Sarah Lacy:
Interesting to say the least, not sure I believe everything that was said about valuations and finances. I’m not going to add to the (pretty justified IMO) noise, but I did feel uncomfortable several times… Can only imagine how Mark felt… ;-( Zuckerberg comes accross as a geek / dork, but a likeable one at that ;-)
Facebook kool aid is:

  • making communication more efficient (repeated over and over and over and over and over)
  • creating platforms for efficient comunication
  • have reached 500 employee mark
  • running at just about breakeven

20 Ways to woo users:
Great talk by Kathy Sierra, found her engaging and thoroughly stimulating. Got to chat to her in the hallway this afternoon, and was totally disarmed – think she could disarm a SWAT team ;-)
Most important take home for me was around:

  • making users feel like they’re super heroes
  • using real life physics to create a sense of wonder
  • giving your users joy

It sounds blatantly obvious, but the examples used and way it was presented makes it accessible. My notepad was flowing with ideas for Kindo after that…

Africa 2.0: Affecting change using technology, with Kofi, Uduok, Nii, and Erik.
An earlier blog post asking whether there were any Africans at SxSW was pleasantly answered when I read the schedule in more detail (the mini schedule said “affecting change” which didn’t hit my radar. Was super happy to finally meet Erik in person, who I’ve been chatting to for a while now over email. I think that his blog post does more justice than I could, however my take homes were around:

  • there are Africans who are motivated to do something in Africa, off the back of their education and experience in Western countries
  • the mobile market is bigger and has lower barrier to entry (but we already knew that – re-affirmation)
  • opportunities seem to be around connecting communities and interest groups, either to mobilise them, or provide tools to enrich their lives
  • it seems that there is the political and financial will to do things in Africa, but what’s lacking is on the ground implementable, executable ideas and people to do so…

More on that soon ‘tho.

As usual, the after panel discussions were the most interesting (as Erik mentions), and I found the dinner table discussions with the guys and girls from Vidoop and Nike really interesting. Spent the evening going from bar and event to bar and event, finally settled on Club Deville which was pretty good.
Have to say that the highlight of the evening was catching up again with Dustin Diaz and meeting his girl Erin ;-) Looking forward to the IHOP again!!! ;-)

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