Talking digital, media, emerging markets at SXSW 2012. Vote!


Since the early 1990′s Austin, Texas has been home to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival, one of the biggest and – in my opinion – best conferences on new digital media, music, and film ideas. I’ve attended a few times both as a speaker and attendee and can honestly say that the content and community never ceases to disappoint. Voting is currently open for the SXSW PanelPicker, the conference system which allows the community to have a significant voice in programming Interactive, Film, and Music conference activities for SXSWeek 2012 (March 9-18). Here is a list of panel/talk proposals which have piqued my interest and I hope you will Vote for them as well. I’m involved in organizing the first two so please vote if you think the topics are interesting. Don’t worry if you can’t be in Austin, Texas next March. The SXSW organizers are pretty good about recording and releasing audio and video from the talks so you’ll still get to experience your favorite talks afterwards. Will you be attending? VOTE and ping me with any questions/comments.

Panel: Beg, Borrow, Bribe. Startups in Emerging Markets - VOTE

Organizer: G. Kofi Annan – Afrimonitor

Description: Startup culture is blossoming in emerging markets like, China, India and Africa. Entrepreneurs are even leaving Silicon Valley to launch startups in their native countries, and giving American businesses a run for their money. But what and who do have to know to be successful? And how easy is it? Find out.


Panel: iVision Africa:New Medias Role In Reframing AfricaVOTE

Organizer: Ngozi Odita – Society HAE


Jepchumba Thomas – African Digital Art Network

Ngozi Odita – Society HAE

Joshua Wanyama – Pamoja Media East Africa Limited

G. Kofi Annan –

Bob Reid – The Africa Channel

Description: Africa is more than AIDS, poverty, civil strife and safaris. With the ever-increasing access to digital tools Africans on the continent and all over the world are using the web to farm a new vision of Africa in the 21st Century. Social media platforms amplify and help spread this “new take” on the continent, both enabling Africans to tell their own stories and offering an alternative to mainstream media’s coverage of Africa. Ultimately, using new media Africans can and are becoming the architects of what very well may be a new “African Renaissance.” This panel will look at how Africans are using the mobile and social web, what sort of content is being produced and what are the messages being communicated. The panel will also examine new media’s social and economic impact as it relates to Africa.


Panel: Africa, Tech & Women: The New Faces of Development – VOTE

Organizer: TMS Ruge – Project Diaspora


Ebele Okobi-Harris – Yahoo!

Liz Ngonzi – New York University Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising

TMS Ruge – Project Diaspora

Isis Nyong’o – InMobi Africa

Milly Businge – Kikuube Village Council

Description: This panel provides a rare glimpse into the multitude of ways African women are applying technology to advance Africa’s development. The panel aims to dispel the myths about African women as breeders and victims — incapable of participating in their own continent’s development, by: (1) showcasing contributions they are making in the technology field – through entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and community leadership; and (2) providing insights into how they are using technology to raise awareness about, mobilize campaigns against and address human rights violations. The panel will specifically explore how African women are using technology to make an impact through: – Digital advocacy to protect people’s rights – Social media to help grassroots organizations engage new supporters worldwide – Mobile advertising to enable small businesses to access new markets – Internet connectivity to integrate the often unheard community voices into the global conversation on development Throughout the discussion, panelists will provide anecdotes on how the resulting increased access to information, is altering the role of women in African society.



Panel: Social Change Film: Strategy+Transmedia+Evaluation – VOTE

Organizer: Debika Shome – harmony Institute


Debika Shome – harmony Institute

Shaady Salehi – active voice

Lina Srivastava – Lina Srivastava Consulting LLC

Description: Your job is not done once the film is complete. In fact, in today’s media landscape, early strategic thinking, transmedia collaborations and entertainment evaluations are critical components to increasing the impact of film’s for social change. They can help you reach a larger audience, amplify your message, connect with your audience, understand what worked and what didn’t work and bring in additional funding. And the sooner you start thinking and working on these components, the more likely you are to create entertainment that connects and engages with your audience.


Panel: Bridging the African Diaspora Online – VOTE

Organizer: Sherry Bitting – Parlour Media LLC


Hillary Crosley – Parlour Media LLC

Minna Salami – MsAfropolitan

Nicole Blake –

Phiona Okumu – AfripopMag

Description: The African Diaspora is vast and wide, and with that comes a variety of cultures separated by national boundaries but connected by the spirit and essence of Africa. For years, these cultures have lived separately with little understanding or connection to the lifestyles of others who share similar ideals, concerns or experiences abroad. The Internet has played a large role in connecting these cultures–through music, art, lifestyle and political interests. Over the past few years, there has been an emerging number of female bloggers of color who have become leading voices in their own communities and representations of their cultures to others all over the world. Parlour Media, owner of will host an open discussion featuring four leading female bloggers of color from three of the world’s leading countries to discuss lifestyle and digital trends from their local communities and the benefits that they have gained by connecting with similar women abroad. In addition, panelists will discuss the tools that they have used to build audiences and the strategies that they have found most effective in developing their sites. For global brands that wish to target this segment, this panel will offer a glimpse into the minds and lifestyles of this powerful group who serve as global voices of their communities. It will also offer an opportunity to better understand digital trends and tools that are driving online growth.


Panel: Using Technology to Uncover Our Inner Wellness – VOTE

Organizer: William Martino – Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


William Martino – Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Jacob Braude – Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Description: Over the last 20 years, cognitive science has been undergoing a revolution. Scientists now estimate that 85% or more of what our brains do is unconscious – meaning we have no awareness of it. On a daily basis, this unconscious behavior leads consumers to sabotage their own health and wellbeing through the product and lifestyle choices they make. Confronted by this startling fact, we as communications professionals have to ask ourselves if we’ve really been using the right tools to try and understand our customers. Interviews, surveys and focus groups are based on the idea that you can ask people what they think and get a real answer. Modern brain science, however, tells us this is a fantasy and anecdotally, we know that people lie. We need people to act, not speak, to reveal the things they won’t—or can’t—tell us. We’ll show you how the marriage of new technologies and live field experiments, social gaming, and test marketing can tap into consumers’ unconscious and open new doors in helping us all feel well.