HGTV Interactive VP explains SXSW strategy

Click here if you can’t see this interview with Vikki Neil of HGTV.

Home and Garden Television (HGTV) might not be your typical Silicon Valley start-up or high-tech powerhouse, but as all media converges, many traditional channels like CNN, ESPN and HBO are getting heavily involved with bloggers and tech influencers at the SXSW conference.

I had a chance to catch up with Vikki Neil, Senior VP & GM of Interactive Marketing for Scripps Networks, and discuss her strategy for the network’s first-ever SXSW event.The network practices what it preaches and renovated an old bar from top to bottom and from inside-out just for this conference. They’ll be using the space to host nightly events and concerts throughout the Interactive and Music festivals in Austin.In this short video, Vickie explains her strategy and how it ties into the launch of a new HGTV digital property.

SXSW dispatch Day Two

Day Two was another soggy, soggy event but the weather broke by the end of the day to unleash some joyous street celebrations!

SXSW is all about serendipity and I certainly had my share. Spent some quality time in the Samsung Blogger’s Lounge ans met Mashable Editor In Chief Lance Ulanoff. Interview forthcoming.

Had an amazing discussion with NY-based VC John Frankel who taught me a lot about VC strategy. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about — the increasingly important catalytical role of VC’s in economic growth.

Met and interviewed fellow McGraw-Hill author Dave Kerpan of Likeable Social Media fame.

Also got to catch a glimpse of actors Forrest Whittaker and Rainn Wilson (of The Office).

My consumption of conference content was somewhat constrained by the fact that the lines were so long to attend some events. Can you imagine going to the effort of attending this eventand not attending what you wanted to see because the crowds were so immense? One friend told me he stood in the badge pick-up lime for two hours.

The crowds and lines were so oppressive that I had to duck out in the middle of the day to a nearby “Oasis” sponsored by Spredfast, which was much appreciated.

Today I intend to walk the trade show to see the latest and greatest gadgets and start-up idea and excited that my first SXSW book signing is today at 3:30.

I’m not catching any clear winner of a Next Big Thing coming out of the conference, but an app called Highlight is getting a lot of buzz and curiously, lots people are predicting bigger things to come from Instagram.

I apologize for the insufficient glimpse of such amassive event. A some points there are 30-40 concurrent sessions, dozens of parties and so many interesting sights, conversations and people.

One lesson. It is nearly impossible to write a WordPress blog on an iPad!

 

 

Dispatch from SXSW

I thought I would pass along a few impressions from Day One of SXSW.

This is the epic meeting of all things digital, and all things that WANT to be digital.

For many people I think the first day was pretty miserable. The weather has been horrible — cold and rainy, which delayed flights and made getting around difficult.

The line to get a badge was at least 90 minutes long at some points and it took 15 minutes to stand in line for a grilled cheese sandwich. The hotels, restaurants and transportation system is bulging at the seams. With 19,000 registrants and probably twice that many in sponsors, press and people who have just come to party, this conference has seemingly outgrown Austin.

Still, the joy of seeing friends, basking in intelligent content and the hope and excitement created by this start-up city trumps all I think. There is still nothing like the energy and excitement of the world coming together to find the and celebrate the next big thing. The sheer diversity of the experience and intellect here is inspiring.

For me, I hope to achieve two things with my SXSW experience — connect with my social media friends to explore new synergies, and take some time out to get re-energized by new ideas and perspectives.

So far it has been a hit on both counts. Just in day one I met up with many people I haven;t seen for at least a year like Jay Baer, Tom Webster, Jason Falls, Chris Brogan and Stephanie Wonderlin.  I connected with some new people that I have been longing to meet like Matt Ridings, Chuck Hemann and Ann Handley.  And I’m also enjoying the random connections by starting up conversations with everybody standing in line around me!

I go at such a fast pace and I don’t take enough time to soak in new ideas so this is a great opportunity for me to relax a little and think. The opening sessions were great, with an inspirational talk by Futurist Don Tapscott (google “flight of starlings” to see an amazing image of what Internet leadership looks like) and a chat between Guy Kawasaki and Vic Gundotra of Google Plus. I give Guy a lot of questions for drilling down into some of the essential questions of this platform and largely, I think the Google response failed. Vic kept sugar-coating the real issues and complaints about the platform and at one time was even booed. His responses seemed to come from a press release and this savvy SXSW crowd could not be fooled.

I ended the day making an appearance at a series of parties, which could not be dampened by the steady cold rain. A great experience was attending a celebration hosted by Silicon Valley VC giant Kleiner Perkins where I got to meet many of the leaders behind exciting start-ups lke Path, Spotify, Flipbook, and Storify.  A very cool experience.

On to Day Two.