“How to Win the Networking Game at SXSW”
Mar 5, 2014, The Accelerators, Wall Street Journal
After eight SXSW conferences, I’ve learned that the hard way. When my company was first getting off the ground, we were completely lost in the shuffle, despite our best efforts. In 2012, however, we had a 28-foot-long, 15,000-pound secret weapon. To stand out amid the gala parties and blow-out bashes hosted by much bigger tech companies, HootSuite decided to take to the streets. We transformed a Ford E-450 shuttle bus into possibly the world’s biggest owl, in honor of our mascot – mounting a pair of giant eyes above the windshield and affixing enormous plastic wings on the sides.
Cheesy? Yes. Effective, absolutely. By the end of the conference, our logo had been splashed across the pages of USA Today, Mashable and Inc. The conference’s highest profile attendees were clamoring to get on board and party with us. And investors whom I didn’t even know were inquiring about thecompany. In the end, it cost us around $30,000 to buy and outfit the vehicle. Considering that hosting just a single party at SXSW can cost as much, if not more, that’s an absolute steal. This year, in fact, we’re bringing HootBus back for its third ride.
With another action-packed #SXSW come and gone, I’m now back in Vancouver, enjoying a plate of pancakes and an overflowing inbox staring me straight in the eyes. Upon my arrival, I found myself quoted in the Wall Street Journal, and felt pretty cool.
Here’s an excerpt and one of my top tips year-after-year for SX goers:
One way you may be able to tell apart investors and other bigwigs from the masses at South By Southwest is by zeroing on people’s feet, suggests Dave Olson, vice president of community for HootSuite, a social-media-management platform. While almost everyone wears hoodies, jeans and other casual attire, high fliers tend be the only ones sporting “rare vintage Puma sneakers” or other fancy footwear, he says.
For more tips checkout WSJ Reporter, Sarah E. Needleman’s full article, “Don’t Judge an Investor by His Track Suit.”
GETTY IMAGES A panel at last year’s South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
@DaveOhoots gives a rundown of the HootSuite presence at this year’s Sx. Get ready for a wild social ride on the HootBus!
It’s a good time to revisit one of my passion projects we recently completed in our community department at HootSuite: The Hop on the #HootBus campaign, which shows how effective our company has been in its localization efforts.
Here is an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video, along with some of the highlights of the experience:
Back in 2011, our community team came up with an idea to capture the essence of HootSuite and the many cultures and countries that use the dashboard in the form of a video story. We got in touch with the design team to realize our vision, combining HootSuite’s international family of Owlys with a sense of journey, community, and cuteness.
In June of 2012, I was lucky to tour with Tracks On Tracks, a remarkable journey with 11 musicals acts on 1 train that crossed 5 provinces. There, I met the band Portage and Main
Generation Social is a film about how our inherent social nature drives cultural change and some of the people who drive that change. From culture to social networks to education to business, everything is in flux. By profiling those at the forefront of this movement, we will explore these very different fields, giving the viewer a perspective of the broadly diverse community that makes up the social internet.
In Generation Social, Dave Olson was followed as he traveled with HootSuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes to SXSW in Austin, Texas. As the Community VP at a social media startup that has played important roles in revolutions, emergencies, the ongoings of business and individuals, Dave shared insights into those experiences as well as how to harness the impact community and the power social media.
Part of the Absolutely Vancouver series, This film follows and builds on the relationship between Dave and filmaker @andrewlavigne whose previous collaboration, With Glowing Hearts, documented Dave and Kris Krug’s social media efforts for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the first social Olympics.
Generation Social debuted on Augst 17, 2012. Keep watching this space to be notified when the full video is put up on the CBC website.
Generation Social Promo Video
With Glowing Hearts Video Clip
Dave Olson with the HootBus
John Chow in Generation Social
The HootBus on its way to SXSW
When your on the ground at SXSW it can be a bit chaotic. Here are a few pointers from a 6x SXSW’er that will help you the next time your in Austin amongst the crowds, the frenzy and the excitement. Enjoy and take heart!