Session 1: The Science of Influence (Panel)

Marshall Kirkpatrick (, @marshallk

Dan Zarrella (HubSpot), @danzarrella

Ramya Krishnamurthy (Klout), @ramyatkj

Michael Wu (Lithium Technology), @mich8elwu

In this panel, each participant went through a short 5 to 10 minute presentation on varying techniques of how they defined who was an influencer and how you could find who they were.

First up, Dan Zarrella…


  • Quality is not greater than quantity with twitter followers
  • The influence pyramid is upside down
  • Users with lots of followers aren’t very conversational

Ramya Krishnamurthy

Influence – The ability to drive action

How do you measure influence?  Through social actions such as:

  • Sharing
  • Conversations
  • Messages
  • Lists

Network  Effect

Michael Wu

Influence – Ability to change someone’s mind

Influencer – concept involving 2 parties

Influencer has:

  • Credibility (especially in specific domain of knowledge)
  • High Bandwidth
  • Content Relevance
  • Timing
  • Channel Alignment
  • Target Confidence (target trusts the influencer)

Marshall Kirkpatrick

  • Use twitter plus NeedleBase to discover fabulous things
  • Smarter way to find followers/influencers
  • Strength of relationship -> Influence


Session 2: Viral Marketing with The Oatmeal

Matthew Inman, @oatmeal

If you’ve never heard of the website, it’s a really funny site featuring a collection of comics and quizzes all designed and coded by one person, Matt Inman.  I actually wrote a post about his site a little over a year ago ( so I was pretty excited to see him in person.  His topics cover everything from pigs, bears, rainbows to grammar, beer, computers, etc.  Overall, he seemed like a genuinely nice guy that is fortunate to have figured out what his passion was (being a cartoonist) and is able to make a living out of it (he makes money off his merchandise – posters, t-shirts, etc. and now his recently released book, which he is on tour now).  He mostly went through how he got started, his favorite comics and shared some tidbits of what he found worked that lead to his success.

Why the oatmeal?

  • Used to play Quake -> Name was Quaker Oatmeal (eventually just dropped Quaker to be just Oatmeal)

Original creator of Mingle2 (dating site)

  • Created comics to create links to dating site

Created Zombie Harmony (Zombie Dating Site)

  • Crazy idea could become more popular/valuable than huge corporate sites ( – > ranked higher in SERP

Desired to no longer work for someone else

Power of one guy – he designs, writes and codes entire site by himself

Likes to pick things that are relatable

Keep it short with lost of visuals (most effective comics)

Keep yourself out of your message with viral campaigns

  • Make it a blank slate to protect future possibility

He found StumbleUpon*, Digg and Recruit most useful sites to spread his popularity

Comics prefaced with “How to”, “Why”, “When” – draws people in

Finding a gripe and articulating it

In comic, “Eat Some Sea Bacon” (

  • Basically making fun of Peta
  • Peta didn’t realize he was making fun of them and linked their site to his so he changed his site that if you were referred by Peta, you were actually taken to this comic instead: Why We Should Be Eating Horses Instead of Riding Them

If you want to purchase his book, How to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, you can do so on

Session 3: Future of Collective Intelligence: Location! Location! Location! (Panel)

This was a panel featuring representatives from Nokia, Pepsi & Foursquare.  I think there were high hopes for this session, especially when it included one of the co-founders of  Foursquare, Naveen Selvadurai.  Unfortunately, of all the sessions I attended at SXSW, I think this was one that I was most disappointed with.  Based on the twitter messages that were going on during the session, people expected topics about the future of  check-ins and potential privacy issues were going to be addressed but were not.

The only real information I got out of this session was when they did a crowd survey and most people said they did not check in to their office.  I’m assuming most people don’t because there is no incentive to do so.

As far as using check ins for business, the only practical use the rep from Pepsi saw was from an operational standpoint.  Meaning, they would use checkins to keep up to date on the location of their delivery trucks.

I’ve never seen so many people leave a room as soon as the Q&A session begun.


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