The Forrest Four-Cast: May 23, 2017

Hugh Forrest
May 23, 2017 · 3 min read

If you were a registered attendee for SXSW 2017 and if you completed our post-event online survey questionnaire, then you may have recently received an email from myself (or from someone else in the Programming Group). This email would have come to you as part of the annual month-long endeavor that we call the Feedback Project.

The Feedback Project is a deep dive into this post-event online survey that involves a few dozen SXSW staffers. Each person involved in this activity must study several hundred individual responses and personally reply (via email) to a large quantity of these responses. It is pretty fun to reply to attendees who had a very positive experience at SXSW — hearing good things about what you have helped to organize is always nice. Its not nearly as much fun (but probably far more beneficial) to reply to attendees whose experience at the event was less-than-positive for one reason or another. I’m happy that the former category (people who had positive experiences) far outnumbers the later.

Sometimes, the attendee that we respond to replies back to us — and a dialogue begins. This is particularly gratifying when the attendee had a complaint about the event and we are able to engage in a constructive conversation on how we can (in future years) improve the circumstance that led to this problem.

Many of the philosophies behind the Feedback Project reflect the “markets are conversations” concept that were first outlined in the groundbreaking work “The Cluetrain Manifesto” more than 15 years ago. These philosophies also reflect my respect and admiration for the principles outlined in Gary Vaynerchuk’s more recent book “The Thank You Economy.”

On Tuesday, May 30, we conclude most of the work for the 2017 Feedback Project with a day-long meeting in which SXSW staffers discuss what they learned via this activity. Some of this discussion will focus on specific elements of SXSW that we have learned more about during this process (attendees often have a much different perspective of the event than organizers do). Other portions of the discussion will focus on the larger lessons learned about best practices for engaging with your community.

Whether or not you have received an email from myself or other SXSW staffers as part of this Feedback Project, we always want your input on how to make March Magic better. Enter a speaking proposal for the 2018 event via the SXSW PanelPicker, which opens on June 26. Or, connect with me with your brainstorms and suggestions at hugh at sxsw dot com.

Hugh Forrest tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often (but not always) cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.

Hugh Forrest

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Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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