Armadillo Studios Inc.

SXSW10: Links For Your Enjoyment

As previously mentioned SXSW is long over and the overviews are starting to roll in. As usual, I’m a little late with my final blog posts. So instead of waxing poetically about the conference, here is a run down of some of the links that you should have a gander at. They cover the entire spectrum of the conference, from influential thinkers to upcoming design techniques to new tools for business:

Social Media Thinkers & Shakers

* “Chris Brogan”:http://www.chrisbrogan.com/my-plans-for-sxsw/ and “Julien Smith”:http://inoveryourhead.net/, the two brains behind the exceptional book Trust Agents. If you are involved with building an online brand or personal brand, invest in this book.
* Washington DC Visual Information collective “JESS3”:http://www.jess3.com.
* Uber-entrepreneur “Gary Vanyerchuk”:http://garyvaynerchuk.com/, who is an amazing inspiration for people looking to build a Company brand.

Web Typography

* “Samantha Warren”:http://www.slideshare.net/SamanthaWarren/sxsw-2010 a fantastic designer who is pushing the World of Web Typography, with some great poster based design.
* “Jason Cranford Teague”:http://www.jasonspeaking.com/index.php/about/ wrote a book called “Fluid Web Typography”:http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321679989, which is a fantastic and straight forward break down of the up coming shift towards Web Typography.

Interesting Takes On SXSW and Design Culture

* A Graphical representation of the SXSW Conference thorough a series of “Moleskin notebook sketches (via. Roh Design)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/rohdesign/sets/72157623522676011/
* Unhappy Hipsters, a collection of “Wallpaper magazine photos with unhappy hipster commentary”:http://unhappyhipsters.com/

New Tools For Everyone:

* “Wufoo.com”:http://wufoo.com/signup/ a simple web site that allows anyone to develop simple and stylish web forms.
* “Mapscripting.com”:http://mapscripting.com/way-cool, which is a pushing the boundaries of what Google Maps and Yahoo Maps can do for small businesses.
* “Grasshopper.com”:http://grasshopper.com/how-it-works/ is an inexpensive Toll Free phone office service for small businesses. (There is also a Canadian Equivalent called “RingCentral”:http://www.ringcentral.ca/ which Canadian businesses should check-out)
* “Launch’s take on Leave Your Job Start An Agency”:http://www.lunch.com/reviews/Leave_Your_Job_Start_An_Agency-1439609.html, the feedback to our talk from SXSW
* From our good friend Andy at “NonImage”:http://www.nonimage.com, is the amazing Invoicing app called “FreeAgent”:http://www.freeagentcentral.com/?referrer=31l1ldro, which will revolutionalize how freelancers control their own books.
* “OneForty.com”:http://oneforty.com/ the ultimate resource for Twitter apps to leverage for your business.
* A great presentation on the power and beauty of “Co-Working and how it will change our own way of working”:http://spinuzzi.blogspot.com/2010/03/sxswi-what-coworking-tells-us-about.html. If you are interested in coworking in Calgary check out “Coworkyyc.com”:http://www.coworkyyc.com.

SXSW10: The Big Showdown – GoWalla vs. Foursquare

Well, now that SXSW 2010 is over and everyone has begun shoring up “their own conference overviews”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/09/location-is-the-new-just-kill-yourself/, It’s about time I finish off the last two posts on the conference.

So with out further adieu, here’s my take on the “other big topic at this year’s festival”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/sxsw10-the-big-trend-is-web-typography. Yes, friends without question the big showdown of *SXSW 2010* was between geo-locational social network superpowers “GoWalla & Foursquare”:http://twitpic.com/18fgd6.

The big guns were definitely brought out to play, as each of the two superpowers fought for the affection of the influential _first adopter_ crowd. In laymen terms, *they were coveting the nerds*.

The idea being that, if you win the Nerds (First Adopters), they’ll return to their home town and influence others to join the network. Now to preface it, both foursquare and gowalla were predominant at the ’09 version of the festival, but this was the big year. iPhones and Smartphones were are as common as underwear at SXSW and pretty much everyone at the conference was already using one of two power house apps. But the key for these two start-ups was to convert the nerds to their own service. To come out one top and _create the next Twitter Effect_.

So after all the final software updates, redesigns, secret badges and super, super duper checks-in were completed, who won?

The Big Winner Is…

Well, this may come as a shock, but I would have to venture that Austin based “GoWalla”:http://gowalla.com/blog/2010/03/sxsw-2010-redux/ was the slight winner. Which for those following the Geo-Locational Network apps battle (or “even this web site”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/foursquare-starts-to-make-waves-in-calgary) will see as a bit of shock.

“Foursquare”:http://www.foursquare.com has been the _it company_ for this new section of the Social Media spectrum for over a year, with “predominant deals with national and local media outlets”:http://foursquare.com/metronews and a buzz that’s rivaled Twitter. But, with an ill-timed redesign roll-out and some glaring downtime issues, Foursquare seemed to miss a golden opportunity to squash the competition. Rather than blowing the socks off of the crowd, it left with a small whimper of excitement. Instead, smaller “GoWalla”:http://www.gowalla.com was able to keep rolling with a crisper interface design (“just look at those gorgeous icons”:http://gowalla.com/spots) and leverage the _cool small guy_ vibe to win over a majority of the _nerds_. By the end of the five days, most dedicated Social Media Enthusiasts and Insiders were gravitating towards GoWalla and away from Foursquare.

What this means for the future of Geo-Locational Networks is something that will play out shortly, but for the future if you are looking to expand your business into the Foursquare network, it would be best to keep one eye on GoWalla as you start to build your strategy. (Don’t worry, they are both fairly interchangeable) Foursquare will still maintain it’s buzz and significant edge on users, but GoWalla made a solid impression.

The question for the future will be, was it enough to sway a majority of the _First Adopters_ and their friends to make the switch.

SXSW10: Twitter Launches The @Follow Platform

Much will be said about yesterday’s keynote speaker with “Evan Williams”:http://www.twitter.com/ev. Unfortunately, most of it will revolve around the horrible nature of the interview format and “the mass exodus from the panel”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/sxsw-keynote-ev-williams-umair-haque/. But the big news is that Twitter has “officially launched a new development platform”:http://blog.twitter.com/2010/03/anywhere.html, which will allow more web site integration for web site owners.

In laymen’s terms, Twitter is trying to “compete with Facebook’s Connect (That blue button that you see everywhere) to allow seemless integration of twitter accounts into 10 major web sites”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/twitters-new-at-anywhere-platform-allows-for-deeper-integration-into-third-party-sites/. Essentially, this will make Twtter as easy to integrate into web sites as Facebook Connect is. Which will be an incredibly interesting revelation to watch and will alter how information is shared on Twitter.

But what does it mean for smaller web sites with smaller budgets?

_Eventually_, this tool will allow a more seamless integration of twitter into your users viewing patterns. Which in turn will mean that it will be even more important to have an established Twitter presence for your company, blog or non-profit organization. With a simple click, users will be able to tweet directly to your company’s twitter account without having to bounce back to there twitter tools. It’ll streamline the ability for users to interact and comment on your web site, giving your blog or news posts better interaction with your potential clients.

Now, this is all based on one talk, but it something to keep an eye out for and shoudl be more of push to integrate your business with Twitter.

SXSW10: The Big Trend is Web Typography

Without question the big stir in the design world at SXSW 2010 is the emergence of *Web Typography*.

For those unfamiliar, the web design world has been stuck in a conundrum for the past 10 years, as the only typography options universally available for web sites has been incredibly limited. In truth, Web Designers have only been able to use five very basic fonts to build web sites. Which is akin to forcing a painter to paint a portrait with three colors. So without question it has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the design community.

*But 2010 has changed all of that*

At least “four of the sessions at SXSW have dealt with this topic and the emergence of new technologies”:http://my.sxsw.com/search/event_results?q=Web+typography, ranging from dealing with the legalities of embedding web fonts to the the variety of tools which are emerging.

Two of the panels, that I’ve attended at SXSW have been incredibly informative. The first panel from “Samantha Warren, entitled Getting Stoked on Web Typography”:http://my.sxsw.com/events/event/712 was an incredibly inspiring session. It dealt with various new techniques and sources of inspiration that designers can leverage to kick their design into the next level. The second was from “Jason Cranford Teague of Fluid Typography”:http://my.sxsw.com/events/event/502, which was a brilliant crash course in the logistics and theory of Web Typography.

This is definitely a trend that is going to improve the beauty of the web. So keep an eye out for Team Armadillo and our upcoming projects, as we’ll be working to incorporate Web Typography in the next few projects releases.

SXSW10: The State of The Internet 2010

As SXSW kicks off, the ideas are flowing and the conversations are blooming.

One of company’s that caught my eye in the barrage of posters and advertising material is “JESS3”:http://www.jess3.com a design agency out of Washington DC. In their impressive portfolio is their gorgeous state of the Internet vimeo clip, which anyone interested in the metrics of the web should check out.

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.

I’ll have some more posts up over the next few days, but first sit back and get int he mood of SXSW with this beautiful clip.

SXSW10: Armadillo Studios At SXSW’10

Has it really already been a year?

Sure doesn’t feel like it has, but once again *Armadillo Studios* is heading down to Austin, Texas for the “SXSW Interactive Festival”:http://www.sxsw.com.

That’s right another five days of beautiful spring Texas weather, far too much salsa and *the latest trends in the Web and Social Media Industry*. But this time there’s a twist. Armadillo is not just a spectator, but an actual participant. Yes, Armadillo will be apart of the “Leave Your Job, Start An Agency”:http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3303 core conversation with our good friends from “Stale Life Inc.”:http://www.stalelife.com/ and “Bitfyre”:http://www.bitfyre.net/. It’s happening on “March 14th, at 11:00am at the Hilton E room”:http://eventful.com/events/leave-your-job-start-agency-sxsw-/E0-001-028441777-1, if you happen to be at SXSW make sure you swing by to say hello.

As all always, Armadillo will be blogging and “tweeting”http://www.twitter.com/armadillostudio the entire conference. If you’re in Austin or just on hanging online all day make sure you follow along with all the fun.

SXSW10: SXSW Approved

Here’s a quick note in between finishing up our last projects and mailing out our beloved Christmas Cards. Earlier this week we were notified of some great news. Remeber the SXSW Panel we promoting in early September? the one called “Leave Your Job, Start An Agency”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/leave-your-job-start-an-agency? Well it was officially selected to be apart of SXSW Interactive 2010.

We are super excited that the panel was selected and better yet that we get to see our good friends at “Bitfyre”:http://www.bitfyre.net/ and “Stalelife”http://www.stalelife.com again. If you are heading to Austin this year make sure that you check us out.