Tag: sxsw

South By Southwest Chile Technology Summit

I will be moderating a panel at South By Southwest called the Chile Technology Summit on March 16th at 1230 at the Austin Hilton, ballroom F.  Twitter hashtag #chiletech.

The World Technology Summit is a new addition for SXSWi and features panel discussions from emerging technology hubs around the world including Brazil, England, South Africa, Singapore, France, India, China and more.  The goal is to share what it’s like to do business, work and live in these countries.  We’ll answer questions like:

  • How has the technology scene changed in your country over the last five years?
  • What is hottest new media technology trend in your country?
  • How is social media developing / evolving in your country?
  • What is the atmosphere / environment like for new media entrepreneurs?
  • What kind of government support is there for the new media industry in your country?
  • What is the level of education in your country? Is there enough talent for high-tech work?
  • What are the best resources / blogs / websites for people to learn more about new media in your country?

The panelists joining me at the Chile Technology Summit are Juan Pablo Tapia, Leonardo Maldonado and David Basulto.  Each panelist is a leader in his field.

Juan Pablo Tapia

Juan Pablo is the cofounder of Bowl, one of Chile’s leading social media agencies with clients like Ford, LG and others.  He is an experienced entrepreneur and loves technology and social media and also lectures at the Universidad de Desarollo. Juan Pablo will share his perspective on Chile’s developing social media and technology business scene.

Leonardo Maldonado

Leonardo is a serial entrepreneur involved in numerous projects in Chile, including Gulliver, InsumoChina, Gestion y Liderazgo, and Blue Company, a platform for creating personal online communities.  Leonardo is also involved in creating technology entrepreneurship and business opportunities for Region Fertil, a state in Northern Chile that includes the city of Antofagasta.  He will share his insights about creating businesses in Chile and what he sees as some of the successes as well as challenges still facing Chile’s rise as a technology economy.

David Basulto

David is the cofounder of Plataforma Arquitectura and Archdaily, the world’s largest and most trafficked architecture website in the world.  David graduated from Universidad Catolica’s architecutre program and decided to start an architecture blog with one of his friends.  After a few years of hard work, David and team turned Archdaily into the world’s most important architecture website.  David will share his perspective on what it’s like to build a world class business in Chile, along with the changes he’s seen in the Chilean startup community since he started his business in 2005.


I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to share my experience living and working in Chile, as well as help Juan Pablo, Leonardo and David share some of their stories from the front lines of entrepreneurship and high technology in Chile.  I’m also excited to showcase Chile as one of the best places in the world to start a high tech startup.  If you’re attending sxsw, stop on by our panel!

Got questions?  Want to know more about Chile?  Put questions or topics you’d like us to talk about in the comments and we’ll do our best to fit them in.

Public Speaking Tip: Pretend Your Audience is Listening in Their Second Language

One of the biggest keys to success in life is being able to communicate clearly.  If you’re the smartest person in the world, but can’t explain your ideas to anyone else, it doesn’t matter.  Many people struggle translating their ideas into actionable chunks.  Others struggle with getting up in front of a crowd.  They talk too fast, use jargon, business buzz words and end up losing their audience.  The best public speakers I’ve seen talk slowly, clearly and have broken their ideas into small pieces that people can understand.  I left the startup panel at SXSW 2010 thinking that Naval Ravikant knew what he was talking about.  He talked slowly, clearly and delivered insight.  If you watch the best TED Talks, they all do the same thing.

I’ve always been interested in trying to improve public speaking, but never had a good idea until I came to Chile.  We were at an entrepreneurship panel held completely in Spanish with four speakers.  Most of the speakers talked slowly and clearly, but one was clearly nervous, making her speak even faster than normal.  I had trouble understanding her for awhile until she worked out her nerves.

So pretend your audience is made up of people who know your language as their second language.  If you do this, you’ll speak more slowly, use smaller words and break your ideas into chunks.  I’m not suggesting you dumb down your presentations.  Speaking simply and clearly is not dumb.  In fact, many times it’s even harder.  That’s why you often see websites with a full paragraph of text without having any idea what they actually do.  But that’s for another blog post.

Public Speaking Keys

  1. Slow down.  Then slow down again.  You’re probably still talking too fast.
  2. Avoid jargon and business buzzwords.  Communicate simply and clearly
  3. Relax.  You know more about your subject than your audience.

SXSW Recap

SXSW 2010 was my first SXSW experience.  I had heard amazing things from friends who had gone before and from people on my previous trips to Austin, so I had high expectations.  It did not disappoint.

For those who do not know, SXSW stands for South By Southwest, which is a combination Technology, Film and Music festival held each year in Austin, Texas.  It is one of the biggest in the US, if not the world and brings some of the smartest and most interesting people together to listen to panels, network and go to parties.

I was lucky enough that my first time going to SXSW also included the added experience of launching Entrustet into beta, with Jesse giving a talk called “People Die, Profiles Don’t.” I met some great people and attended some really interesting sessions and will share my best of SXSW.  Check out our Entrustet blog for more info on what we did at SXSW.


We launched our beta version early in the morning on Friday March 12th, a day before our panel.  Everything’s been going really well and we’ve started to get some good traffic and user sign ups.  Our panel got some traction, especially online on Twitter.  Our stat that over 285k US Facebook users will die this year caused a stir and was used by our friends over at The Digital Beyond at their panel on the 16th.

More and more people are asking the question “what happens to my digital assets when I die?” and this attention is starting to reach a critical mass.  Everyone from Guy Kawasaki to the American Bar Association is starting to think about it.  Hugh Forrest, the founder of SXSW raised this question in an interview with NPR:

Yeah, we did one session on that last year and we create this virtual presence more and more with our new technologies. What happens to that presence when you pass away? Do you will that on to someone else to essentially keep on your virtual existence or how does that work? And there are lots or there are some services that help you with that process now.

Now, the other session you mentioned was My Right to Delete, which is, again, in this brave new world we live in, the things we say or do often get onto the Internet and it’s impossible to get rid of them. How do we move on, if and when we want to move on?

Gizmodo is dedicating an entire week to looking at what happens to your digital assets as people pass away, including an article called What Happens Online When We Die? and many other publications have been writing about this issue.  The Digital Beyond’s panel was well attended and Adele McAlear’s blog Death and Digital Legacy has been gaining strength.

I believe that 2010-2011 will be the year that consumers really start to think about what happens to their digital assets when they pass away.  What do you want done with your Facebook?  Your email?  How will you protect your family photos or all of your blog posts?


I went to some great panels this year.  My favorite one was about Seed Combinators and featured a who’s who of entrepreneurship forces.  The panel included Paul Graham, Naval Ravikant, Marc Nathan, David Cohen and Joshua Baer and they spoke about their efforts to create successful seed combinators across the country.  I think that Madison, WI has to potential to have a very successful seed combinator and am going to post about it in the next week or so.

Another great panel talked about Social Media in China.  In China, websites are not able to sustain themselves on “advertising” as a business model, so they have had to create innovative business models in order to survive.  I hadn’t realized how big TenCent is (1.5B in revenue, 40% profit margins) and all of it is based on virtual currency and virtual goods.  The Chinese version of Match.com charges $450 for 6 months, equivalent to 1 months salary for the average Chinese citizen.  Like match.com, the service matches you up with potential matches and you go on dates.  After the date, you call into their call center and rate how you thought the date went, what you liked and didn’t like about the other person and if you want to date them again.  The next day, the service calls you back and tells you what the other person thought of you.  It gives you the chance to improve your dating skills and cut through some of the awkwardness.

Another dating site allows you to create an avatar of yourself and go to a virtual “dance club” where you dance with potential partners.  You talk, exchange personal info and get to know each other.  The site makes money when the people buy drinks, gifts and other virtual goods for each other.  After awhile, if you like the other person, you can meet up in person.

Advertising has been a crutch in the American Internet space that is being removed as we speak.  I think you will start to see more innovative business models, like Mint.com and others come to the US in the near future.

I also attended Student Startups to hear about others experiences starting a business in college (nice job by the panel, including Ellen Chisa), The Third Coast, by the founders of Crowdspring and many others.  If I had to do it again, I would attend more core conversations, rather than panels, as there is more give and take and you have a better opportunity to interact with the speakers.

Food, Parties, Fun

I could write an entire post about each of these topics, but a short recap will have to do.  I had some amazing food in Austin, but the best came from a food cart called Texas Picnic.  I had one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve ever had and their white BBQ sauce on their chicken was unlike anything I’ve ever tried.  I’m somewhat of a BBQ connoisseur, so that is high praise.  The Whole Foods we went to was the biggest I have ever seen, with a crazy amount of selection.  If I had unlimited money I’d shop and eat there all the time.

The parties were really fun, with the highlight being the Mashable party.  We had to wait in line for at least an hour, but we made the best of it, creating a new check in location on Gowalla that served as the unofficial Entrustet Launch party (8 people checked in).  We grabbed some beers from the liquor store across the way and made friends with the people around us and had a great time.  The Thrillist party on our last night had some great live music, although we missed the DJ.

I also met some great people who I hope to stay in contact with in the future.  One of the interesting people was Geoff Hamrick, a 19 year old entrepreneur from North Carolina.  Geoff and his partner George have a cool site called Group Story that lets you share photos and collaborate to create photo books.  They’ve got a really cool idea going.

Overall SXSW was a great experience.  I will definitely be back next year and hope to see many of the cool people I met this year again and hear about their successes in the year apart.  I learned a ton, including some lessons that will lead to direct improvements in Entrustet.  It was a week well spent.

Entrustet Beta and SXSW

You may have noticed that I haven’t had many new posts lately.  I’m in Austin, TX at South By Southwest, where we launched Entrustet Beta two days ago.  After about 18 months of work, we are incredibly proud of the site.

With Account Guardian, we’ve created a free way for you to create a secure list of all of your digital assets (any online account or file on your computer) and decide what you’d like done with each asset when you pass away.  You can either decide to delete individual digital assets or decide to pass specific assets to heirs of your choosing.

Jesse gave his presentation People Die, Profiles Don’t at South By Southwest yesterday and we got a great reaction.  The most tweeted about portion was our stat that over 285,000 American Facebook users will pass away this year.  We calculated this number using Facebook’s own stats and US Government data provided by the US Census and the Centers for Disease Control.

We believe that this number shows that companies already face a large problem about what to do with digital assets when their users die.  I’ll have a longer post about where I think the industry is going once I get back to Madison on Wednesday, so stayed tuned!