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Top 15 Sessions to Attend at SXSW 2014

Each year at SXSW there is a scramble to find and attend the best Interactive conference sessions. If you’ve attended SX before, you know the sting of waiting in line for two hours for your favorite popular SXSW 2014 logospeaker. You arrive at the front, about to step inside and are cooly rejected due to capacity being reached. Sigh. Funny how the conference attendance increases, but the venue sizes remain the same. Any who, let’s avoid that issue this year. To do so, I combed through the announced Interactive SXSW 2014 sessions, and chose 15 panels that are smaller in size but stand out with content based on  industry trends and emerging opportunities. It’ll be easier to get into any one of these panels, and you don’t have to waste hours waiting for a panel you probably won’t get into anyways.

See you there!

1. OMMA: Should Brands Be Part of the Real-Time Convo?

March 7th at 11:00 AM

Last year, I had the pleasure of hearing Natanya Anderson Director, Social Media and Digital Marketing at Whole Foods Market,  speak at SXSW 2013. This compelled me to search for her at SXSW 2014.  Bryan Jones, Noha Abdalla and Rick Wion will join Ms. Anderson asking, “have marketers learned anything about the dark art of inserting their brands into the trending topic, the cultural moment?”

2.  Big Data Inverted: The Best Candy from Strangers?

March 7th at 12:30PM – 1:30PM

The panel description mentions that how we receive content based on previous online behavior and contemplates if “people are beginning to unintentionally “barricade” themselves from new experiences and information that don’t fit the pattern of what they’ve already liked and experienced.”

Presenters include:

Chris Colborn, R/GA, EVP, Global Chief Experience Officer

Dinkar Jain, Google, Product Manager

Maria Bezaitis, Intel, Prinicpal Engineer

Oren Michels, Mashery, Co-founder & Chief Strategist

3. Chicapreneuers: Latinas in Technology

March 7th at 2:00PM – 3:00PM

This panel will feature President of Mercury Mambo Becky Arreaga and the Founder of ID Marketing and Communications, Rebecca Gonzales. These women will share information about the leading Latinas in technology, and share what women can do to be participants in the growing tech industry.

4. The Next Steve Jobs May Be From Africa

March 7th at 3:30PM – 4:30PM

In this session, join some of Africa’s top young technologists to discuss the future of technology innovation in Africa.

Presenters include: Claude Migisha Kali, kLab, Founding Member

Fred Mweetwa, Macha Works/LinkNet, CEO

Gertjan van Stam, SIRDC, Research Fellow

Jessica Colaço, Ushahidi iHub Nairobi AfriGadget, Research Director

5. Being Social with Grandma: Social Media for 50+

March 8th at 9:30AM

According to Pew Center, over 60% of online adults are ages 50-64. The panel will reflect on how best to target this growing age-group and  “will cover what’s worked or not and offer ideas on creating a social media strategy specifically for the 50+ population…”

Presenters (AARP): Aldea Douglas, Project Manager and Andres Castillo, Senior Advisor

6. Beyond Likes: What I Love & Hate & Why You Care

March 8th at 11:00AM – 12:00PM

“This presentation will explore how the ubiquity of cultural expertise impacts the culture, from what is created to how it is discussed and valued.”

Presenters include: Anna Deavere Smith and Jordan Roth, CEO of Culturalist

7. Unbranded: Whole Foods and Mission-Driven Docs

March 8th at 2:00PM – 3:00PM

Drawing from their experiences at Dark Rye, Whole Foods Market’s online magazine, the panel will host a candid conversation on the success and risks behind unbranded content.

Panelists: Caitlin Riley, Ira Chute and Jacob Ellenberg of Whole Foods Market

8. Blogueras Latinas & the Importance of their Voice

March 8th at 3:30PM – 4:30PM

Panelists Nicole Presley, Paulina Artieda, Sara Calderon and Stephanie Guerra will share on the developing voice of bicultural Latinas, the content they create and their unique influences.

9. How Creative People Arrive at Good Ideas

March 9th at 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Moving past good luck and “a-ha” moments this panel digs into the details of what it truly takes to produce amazing ideas. Hosted by a variety of talented creatives – each panelist will take a moment to delve into their personal process.

10. I’ve Got Social Data, Now What? A Retailer’s Guide

March 9th at 3:30PM – 4:30PM

Brian Landry, R&D Mgr and Marjan Baghaie, Consultant of Accenture Technology Labs discuss six considerations for retailers in order to strategically leverage social data.

11. What to Do When You’ve FAILED: The Value of Authenticity

March 9th at 5:00PM – 6:00PM

Hosted by some of my favorite digital marketers, including Luvvie Ajayi (Awesomely Luvvie) and Mary Pryor (Urban Socialista), this panel sheds light into authentic responses brands can have in the face of a public failure.

12. Smartphones to Healthphones: A Dr. in Your Pocket

March 10th at 9:30AM – 10:30AM

Scanadu founder, Walter de Brouwer, discusses on the future of healthcare in smartphones.  He will give a demo of his product Scout, and share insights into how smartphones are redefining medicine.

13. ART140: Twitter, Picasso & the Social Experiment

March 10th at 12:30PM – 1:30PM

This panel examines the cross-section of art and social media through a live experiment. “Through data, we’ll highlight what the differences between us really mean, and we’ll reveal what happened through a live ART140 experiment at SXSW.”

14.  TV Storytelling for Twitter

March 10th at 3:30PM – 4:30PM

“Lincoln Lopez, VP of social for Turner Entertainment, and Fred Graver, Head of Entertainment for Twitter, share how Frank Darabont’s Mob City and Steven Spielberg’s Falling Skies were adapted for Twitter to let fans participate in the world of these TV shows.”

15.  A Social Marriage: Tips From a ‘Social Couple’

March 11th at 9:30AM – 10:30AM

CEO of SocialCode Laura O’Shaughnessy,  and and CEO of Living Social Tim O’Shaughnessy, share expectations in the upcoming days from online marketing and how to best position your company for growth.

Happy SXSW 2014 Session Hunting!