Know how you're really excited to hook up with the smoking hot girl in the corner only to realize that she kisses like a wet fish? That's exactly how Evan Williams' interview by Umair Hague went. The session started off with much tension hanging in the air as whispers of Twitter announcing a new product swept through the Austin Convention Center halls. The main keynote room quickly became packed and rooms all over the convention center were being turned into overflow rooms. I happened to get ushered in to the main room and find a seat pretty close up front.
And so the talk begins. Ev starts out by announcing @anywhere, which is Twitter profile rollovers enabled outside of Twitter on the rest of the internet. Exciting! At least it was to most of the attendees there. Our minds started reeling - what are the implications of this? what does the implementation for businesses look like? what are the analytics? can i customize it? what else can it do? Unfortunately none of those questions were answered and neither did they delve into @anywhere any deeper than just announcing it. From there they went to talking about Twitter ad nauseum.
I like Twitter as much as the next person but let's be honest - your average person who has never heard of how Twitter was used in Haiti or other newsworthy situations will not be attending SXSW. SXSW is for tech-savvy people who want to learn about things on a deeper level. I knew early on that their conversation was not heading back to @anywhere, hence it went @everywhere. Some others knew this too as they started filing out of the main keynote room. At this point this was not the mass exodus everyone experienced. I'm not exactly sure what tipped other people off but I experienced it firsthand. I happened to sit down right opposite of the exit because my friend Lane was charging his phone by the Pepsi Podcast lounge. All of a sudden about 10 minutes later mass amounts of people started filing out of the auditorium. No, the talk wasn't over - there was still 10 minutes left.
I'm not sure exactly what triggered the mass exodus but my guess is that it's the old adage 'nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd'. Here's the bottom line: when you have a group of savvy internet people in one large room don't tell them about your service that they've been using for a while already. Go into details about the new announcement. Doing so makes them feel special as they are witnessing history. Rehashing history live makes them feel like they're wasting their time and ultimately they did. That's why many people walked out. People vote with their feet and if your presentation isn't up to their standards they will decide very quickly.
Mar 31, 2009
Oct 26, 2010 03:10 PM UTC
About this activity
Event Description: Evan Williams (twitter.com/ev) has co-founded several Internet companies, including Pyra Labs (creator of weblog-authoring software Blogger) and Twitter, the now ubiquitous social media platform that hit its tipping-point at SXSW in 2007. In addition to his role as Director of the Havas Media Lab, Umair Haque (twitter.com/umairh) founded Bubblegeneration, an agenda-setting advisory boutique that shaped strategies across media and consumer industries.
ACC L1, Exhibit Hall 1 Monday, March 15 at 02:00 PM