SXSW: Spring Break for Geeks -- Levi Shapiro

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SXSW Interactive celebrates its 21st anniversary this week with a cornucopia of music, film and digital networking. From its humble roots as an indie music retreat, the event has become the de-facto venue for digital validation. SXSW is where Foursquare and Twitter conquered the digerati and Mark Zuckerberg addressed his first prominent conference. Now the event has reached a crossroads. Bloated from its own success and drowning in a pool of corporate swag, many companies that wallowed in the SXSW limelight opted to stay home this year. Farewell Foursquare. Goodbye GroupMe. Ta-Ta Twitter. Instead of discovering the Next Big Thing, attendees are far more likely to engage with Oreo, Esurance, Doritos or Chevy. Amidst this carnival of hype, energy drinks and ambient noise, I would like to add a few survival tips and introduce the Israeli companies at SXSW. You can meet them at a special dinner, hosted by the Israeli Embassy of the Southwest. Contact for additional information:

Tips for Getting Some Sort of ROI from SXSW:

1. Stay focused
2. Schedule meetings weeks in advance. 3. Attend panels but approach your target BEFORE their session. Most panels are lightly attended.
4. Dinners, not parties. You can actually have a conversation.
5. Divide and conquer with a “wing man.”
6. Follow up with people immediately after each party.

Israeli companies at SXSW 2014:

Hyperactivate A turnkey social marketing solutions provider enabling social media followers to amplify brand messages across multiple channels from mobile to online and digital outdoor displays.

Payoneer Simplifies commerce by removing the limitations of geographical borders and ensuring smooth, cost-effective transactions to and from anywhere.

Wondervoice Hands-free voice assistant helps consumers interact with their favorite apps by responding to voice commands.

Interlude A platform for video creators to tell “choose your own adventure” interactive stories.

Samba Combines text and video for an asynchronous video messaging platform that also records the reactions of people watching the videos.

Connesta Cloud Control Room (CCR) offers a hardware-free SaaS platform that replaces legacy TV control room and vans to significantly lower costs and deliver greater production flexibility.

FiveBlocks Digital consulting and technology firm analyzing search-results data for managing how brands are perceived online and executing an action plan shaped by data analysis.

LoyalBlocks Loyalty marketing solution for brick and mortar businesses with patented technology that enables automated hand-free punch cards and customer rewards.

Yevvo Free mobile-to-mobile platform to instantly share live HD video with an unlimited number of subscribers’ mobiles.

Conduit DIY App Maker brings an innovative solution to easily create apps and a quality mobile version of existing websites.

See y’all at the BBQ!!

Levi Shapiro is a Partner at TMT Strategic Advisors, a research and strategy firm focusing on theLevi Shapirotechnology, media and telecom sectors. He can be reached at or via twitter: @levshapiro

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