March 5, 2015

Gary Vaynerchuk at Launch: Traditional media holding on for dear life


Gary Vaynerchuk at Launch: “We adore human interaction.” (Photo by JD Lasica)

JD LasicaThere were lots of remarkable moments at the eighth Launch Festival, which ended a three-day run Wednesday at Fort Mason in San Francisco: Investor legend Peter Thiel exhorting entrepreneurs to find a space and “create a monopoly.” Pundit Glenn Beck declaring, “We don’t need the media. I trust my neighbors.” Forty or so founders taking to the stage to launch interesting new startups.

But there’s only one Gary Vaynerchuk, and he made his first appearance at Launch a lively one.

Turns out garyvee is a big fan of the Taylor Swift brand of social media marketing. When Swift randomly sends gifts at Christmas or shows up to interact with ordinary fans — to their delighted screams — it all gets amplified through social.

“We adore human interaction,” he told about 2,000 attendees at Launch. “It’s real.” And it’s what the most powerful kind of social media marketing consists of — even if it’s a fleeting 14-second video message. It’s the personalization that makes it real and leaves a lasting impression. Continue reading

February 3, 2014

Calendar of social media, tech & marketing events: February 2014

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Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium, at last year’s Launch Festival (Photo by JD Lasica).

Guide to the month’s best conferences & events

JD LasicaIt’s only February, but it’s conference crazy season already! I’ll be at Startup Grind, InContext and CMX Summit just this week.

Among other notable events on tap: Social Media Strategies Summit, the Lift Conference, RootsTech, the Crunchies, Strata, Women 2.0 PITCH, Wisdom 2.0, Inbound Marketing Philadelphia and the Launch Festival, the best startup conference on the planet.

If you can’t attend the event in person, find out the hashtag and follow the goings-on on Twitter.

For the full year, see our full Calendar of 2014 social media, tech and marketing conferences. Let us know if we’ve missed anything in the comments. And drop me a line if you’ll be in the neighborhood! Continue reading

January 6, 2014

2014 conferences: Social media, tech, mobile & marketing

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Brian Wong, co-founder of Kiip, at the last Venture Summit (photo by JD Lasica).

Our SuperGuide to 2014 conferences and events

JD LasicaFor the past several years, the team at Socialmedia.biz has assembled a SuperGuide of the best social media, technology, marketing and media conferences for the upcoming year, which we publish the first Monday of the year.

This year’s calendar of 2014 conferences and events is bigger and beefier than ever. It’s hard to put out separate social media, tech, marketing and mobile conferences, given that more than half of them would bleed over to other categories as well. Thus, one SuperGuide. (Hope you’ll come over and Like our Socialmediadotbiz Facebook page, too!)

Search for a term on this page if you’re looking for a particular kind of event or the name of an event, or click on the tabs below to see the conferences taking place month by month. We’ll post new calendar updates as new blog posts on the first of each month throughout the year.

I can guarantee you we’ve overlooked some strong events and probably messed up a listing below. If you know of other must-attend events, please add them by posting in the comments at the bottom. Continue reading

March 13, 2013

Startup turns a smartphone into a smart toy

Unveiled at Launch, Ubooly shows power of sensor technology (and hugs)

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, marketing professionals, businesses, toy manufacturers, parents.

JD LasicaAt last week’s Launch Festival in San Francisco, I spent a few minutes talking with Carly Gloge, the founder and CEO of a new startup called Ubooly. They make cuddly plush toys that you can personalize and interact with through your iPhone or iPod Touch. (You stick the device inside the toy.) It’s for kids ages 4 to 9.

Carly gave one of the more dynamic presentations on stage at Launch, so I caught up with her after her demo. Ubooly is out “to make toys smart,” she said. Smart devices, starting with the iPhone and iPod Touch, have become “so powerful compared to anything else that has been put in toys. So we thought, let’s merge the two.”

Voilà! The Ubooly (pronounced OO-buh-lee, which I finally pronounced right by the end of the video). What’s cool about this is:

• Children form an emotional bond with these toys that they’ll carry with them for years;

• Parents get to program the toy via the online Ubooly Lab, starting with setting up their child’s favorite color, animal and sports. From there, the parents can activate educational packs that seem best suited to their little one.

Ubooly launched with six packs — written by elementary school teachers and comedy writers — and will expand to 20 by the end of the month, Carly says.

Watch, download or embed the 4-minute video on Vimeo Continue reading

March 7, 2013

Launch Festival: ‘We live in the future now’

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The panel of judges/venture capitalists at the Launch Festival (Photo by JD Lasica).

Conference brims with innovative tech startups

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startups, businesses, tech sector executives and employees, anyone interested in innovation.

JD LasicaAfter three days of the Launch Festival, where 5,000 attendees jammed into San Francisco’s sprawling Design Concourse, one can be forgiven for believing that, through some cosmic event involving gamma rays and worm holes, participants were given an exclusive glimpse of what’s just around the corner. (So this is what tomorrow looks like!)

There’s no longer any doubt: Launch and TechCrunch Disrupt are now unquestionably the top startup conferences on the planet. They used to be one event, under the banner TechCrunch 40 (which launched Mint) and TechCrunch 50 (which launched Yammer), before the co-founders went their separate ways. This week I overheard more than a few attendees say that Launch — which has a mega-personality in founder Jason Calacanis where TechCrunch Disrupt now lacks one — has become the most essential gathering of its kind. Continue reading