June 12, 2013

Recap of Southland SE Summit Part 1

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Today kicked off the first day of Southland SE, a combination of Technology, Entrepreneurs, Barbeque, and Whiskey in Nashville, Tenn. With keynote speakers from IBM, CNN, Foursquare, Odesk, and more, this first annual summit set high expectations, and so far it hasn’t disappointed! Here’s a recap from the TA team:

“Odesk and the New Worker”

After a breakfast from the infamous Loveless Café, the morning started with Sarah Lacy, founder of PandoDaily, interviewing Gary Swart of Odesk. The conversation quickly evolved as Swart shared his stories and experiences from his work at Odesk, IBM, and Intellibank.

Our Key Takeaways:

  • Companies face the chicken/egg challenge. Get talent/or need talent?
  • 5 personal benchmarks:
  1. Growth
  2. Development
  3. Impact
  4. Balance
  5. Financial reward
  • You know it’s time to give up if you don’t have external validation.
  • A survey by Odesk revealed 71% of those surveyed want to quit their jobs within the next 2 years
  • The one thing Swart believes that no one else does: That they are good at interviewing new talent. Swart believes back channel references are key.
  • Swart’s one mediocre superpower wish: The ability to always choose the fastest moving line at the store.

Twitterverse Takeaways:


Startup Pitches:

Next, there were a series of short startup pitches with feedback from startup experts like KC Estenson of CNN and Jacob Mullins of Exitround. In just a few short minutes, startup CEO’s pitched as most of  the crowd Googled their names on their smartphones.

Startups Companies to Check Out:

LeanKit: A collaboration tool that provides instant project visibility.

Populr.Me: A pioneer for micro-publishing, Populr.me allows simple, single webpage creation.

RedeApp: An application for the front lines of an organization that work away from a desk.

Powwow HR: HR software that manages the modern workforce from time and attendance to collaboration.

The NODE: A wireless sensor compatible with smartphones that can sense color, climate, light, and more.

Twitterverse Takeaways:




Whiskey Rebellion: The New Whiskey Disrupters:

Up next, Shelly DuBois of Fortune interviewed Darek Bell of Corsair Distillery and Jamey Grosser of Popcorn Sutton’s TN Whiskey. Although you might not see how whiskey ties into a tech conference, Bell and Grosser brought up many points that are applicable to all.

Our Key Takeaways:

  • Do what makes you happy.
  • Their key to success is tying their marketing and promotion to their story. For example, the Popcorn Sutton brand relates back to the story of Popcorn, the last maker of white whiskey in Tennessee.
  • Make sure when you’re looking for VC, you find a partner that understands your industry. In their case, they should understand that whiskey can take up to two years to make and shouldn’t be looking for immediate return. However, this is applicable for all industries.

The PR Panel: “Getting Coverage in Places like Business Insider, Fortune, and AllThingsD”

After lunch, Sean Garrett moderated a discussion with Shelley DuBois, Peter Kafka, Allyson Shontell, and Brendan Lewis. The discussion ranged from how to pitch a writer to who should you pitch.

Our Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t use a form letter for a pitch. Know the writer you are pitching and why they should cover your story. If it doesn’t fit with their audience, don’t bother.
  • What you think is news in your organization, isn’t always news to outsiders.
  • If your story/company/pitch is good enough, a writer will find you.

Twitterverse Takeaways:





Look out for a day two recap in the near future and follow us on Twitter at Technology_Adv for live updates.