Sunday, April 3, 2011


I've been sick since I got back from Austin. Feeling better today but some lingering effects, like the cough that won't die.

I ran into someone who saw me speak at iMedia. He was still sick from Austin. Then that night (last Thursday), I read about the number of people who had come back from Austin and gotten sick in the last few days, on the way home or shortly after returning.

Turns out that this has happened before and it has been nicknamed SXSARS. You can (google) look it up as the man says. All my symptoms have been consistent with the info on the postings. I'm not sick very much and I don't remember a time when a cold put me down for almost two weeks. I guess it is nice to know that I am not alone.

Hence the delay in this final post.

Most poignent moment: Emmylou Harris singing her new song about Gram Parsons called "The Road" to be released on a new album later this month. Emmylou, you brought tears to my eyes.

Two of the best new unkown (to me at least) finds: one of the first and one of the last: Bright Light, Bright Light, a solid techno rocker from from Wales with an early Peter Gabriel sound and Emily Elbert, a perky folkie/country/pop singer who rocks out really well.

Others that I will be looking forward to hearing again: Robert Earl Keen (early and often), Darden Smith, Josh Ritter, The Wronglers and Withered Hand. That said, there was NO bad music there. Just a lot of choices. The other thing I will do next time is much more homework on my schedule. The choices are overwhelming and while I did not parachute in (see Homeless CEO's post below), a more organized approach is needed. The app was great for this and I'll use it even more. Not that random at SXSW is a bad thing at all. There are acts like Emily Elbert and Withered Hand that I would have never found if not for Random. So a balance is good.

Would I do this again? In a heartbeat. I'd heavy up on the vitamin regime and take a large amount of Purell with me though.

Sigining off on this blog for now. Follow me on Dave's Here (personal) or Dave's Sphere (professional) and subscribe to the Mediasmith Anvil while you are at it. My Google profile lists all my various online activities you can follow.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

These Aren't the Droids You Are Looking For

As I write this it is Saturday morning, Day 14. It's been a challenge to get into some venues. But there are plenty of places to hear incredible music. And the experience of the new music vastly overweighs the disappointment of not seeing all of the headliners I would have liked.
That said, Thursday was very special. I went to the Radio Day Stage where WFUV, the NYC NPR affiliate was broadcasting live. Made it in time for the Emmylou Harris segment. Talk about my personal sweet spot! Emmylou looked great as always, wearing a dark western straw. In the interview before the first song, she talked about having wanted to do an album that was largely her own compositions. This album comes out 4/26. The first song, called The Road, was about Gram Parsons, what she learned from him and wondering what might have been. She talked before the song about her appreciation for the talent that he was and opined that she would not be where she is today without him. The song brought tears to my eyes. She sang it from the heart and anybody who knows me knows that my appreciation for Gram and what Emmylou took on is unbounded. Yesterday, at a panel called the Adult Rock Music Meeting, they played new songs and voted on them. They gave voting cards to the audience too. When I heard the produced version of "The Road" as one of the entries, I did not wait for the vote but held up my "10" card to some amusement on the stage.
I was going to move on after Emmylou but Josh Ritter came on. I have heard some of his music and even downloaded a bunch to my Napster player (yes, I still use that) but never heard him live. He is a delight. Not to be missed if you can hear him live. A permanent smile on his face, he's a good picker and has a good way with his music. Great lyrics too. He threw in a rockabilly version of Henry Mancini's "Moon River" which made me fall out of my chair. Made the reference to "my huckleberry friend" sound uniquely like his own. I have to revisit this song for my own sets.
Next on Thursday, on to The Ghost Room, where HBO presented a Treme afternoon, celebrating the rich musical heritage of New Orleans. New season of Treme starts next month. Playing were the Pine Leaf Boys, Henry Butler, Big Chief Monk Boudreax and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. My friend Tom Kurz met up with others from NOLA and we rocked into the afternoon and evening. One of the things we have discovered is that even the platinum badge does not get you into everything. There are additional tickets, private lists etc. Thus, the use of everything including attempting our best Jedi Mind Tricks to get in. Tom Kurz is a master at this. On Wednesday, he was inside and I was stuck in a long line for the British Music Embassy, being told I was not on the list. I texted Tom. He went over to the door man, said that's Dave Smith, CEO of Mediasmith and he needs to be in here. The door man pointed at me and ushered me in! He has no idea who I was, but it sounded impressive the way Tom said it.
On Friday, as I mentioned, I went to a panel judging new releases. I did this as my
old friend Norm Winer was on the panel. Some of you may remember Norm as the Program Director and morning DJ at KSAN in the late 70's and early 80's. He's now Program Director of WXRT in Chicago. Norm and I had some good times together and it had been far too long since we'd seen each other. Both of us pledged to stay in touch. Great to see you Norm.
The Texas Guitar Show is going on as a sidebar show to SXSW (there are many). Was great to drool over some of the older and newer guitars, including some 50 year old Gibson
D-45's, which I lust after.
After lunch, Tom K. and I wandered up 6th Street. We happened
onto Emily Elbert, backed by Eric Robertson and the Boston Boys. All graduates of Berklee School of Music. Emily is a folkie with a lot of soul. Eric is an electric mandolin player with a lead guitar attitude and capability. They are two separate acts but they clearly love playing together too. Must see again.
Many more acts seen yesterday but concentrating on writing about those who stand out and who I want to see again. Lots more happening still here, even though it is winding down.
Looking forward to another day and evening of great music.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Too much?

There are so many options. Right now, debating between Treme and Emmylou Harris. And these are daytime options.
I must have seen seven full sets yesterday. There is so much to do that even keeping up with the blog is difficult. So follow me on Foursquare and Facebook where most of my posts are going. Twitter gets some too. Trying to have all of them linked of course.
Tom Kurz and I paired up yesterday to see a lot of music. Best of day, the first at the British Music Embassy, Bright Lights Bright Lights. Watch for these guys. Techno Peter Gabriel sounding. Great lead singer. And full sophisticated production. Other best, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Wronglers, including financier and Mostly Strictly Bluegrass patron Warren Hellman. They were the last group we saw yesterday. Great bookends, very different. Got to shake hands with both Jimme and Warren afterwards. This place is that intimate. I love it.
Honorable mention goes to Withered Hand, a solo Scottish folk rock/alt country entry. Great humorous lyrics. Also saw Bombay Bicycle Club and many others.
Any day with live music is a good day. But seven acts. this is above and beyond. Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Band Snacking, Data and Web3

My friend V. Shah says that what we have in common is the ability to talk about Rock and Roll (he would say REM, specifically) and digital media metrics in the same conversation. V, you should have been in Austin yesterday.
The day started out slow, after my workout and email, etc. got over the the SXSW Interactive Trade Show mid day. Hooked up with Greg Kidd of 3TAPS. I'm doing some advisory work for them. They are taking the stream from a lot of eCommerce and other "exchanges" and providing them in a more organized manner. One of the things they are doing is rolling up similar sources to provide a single goto source for getting information on things like jobs, real estate, etc. In the meantime, they have successfully harnessed the Craigslist stream with craiggers, where you can search all info within Craig's List. Quite slick.
One of the things I was talking with Greg Kidd was the looming copyright issue with real time data. Ever think about who owns the information that you tweet? Twitter says they do. Even if it is your idea. And strangely, if it is retweeted or forwarded to Quora or Facebook, they apparently say that Quora or Facebook do not have the rights, that Twitter maintains the copyright. This is a looming battle over public domain vs. copyright.
The trade show had a lot of previews of groups that are playing around town. Posted some pics on my Facebook page, but saw parts of sets from Star and Micey at the Memphis booth, Henry the Invisible, Threads of Scarlett at the Barbados booth, and a rockin' group called Far West in one of the bars walking back. Today starts the full on music in most every bar and venue in town.
Reid Hoffman founder of LinkedIn talked about data. He opined that Web3 is going to be built on the data we have gotten from all of the Web 2.0 apps. And that we should not let the government get between us and data as government is not naturally aligned with business and business goals. Two of his aphorisms were "never ambush your users" and "not all data is equal". I will post later about his 10 tips for those who want to innovate.
Out into the day to find some music.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Days 8 and 9: Taking it easy #SXSW

One of my favorite songs is Jackson Browne's Take It Easy. I love his line "don't let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy". One of the easiest things to do. One of the things I wanted to accomplish in my time off is just that, take some time off, take it easy. (Now I know a lot of you know the song as an Eagles song and that Glen Frey was co-author...Jackson, gave Glen co-authorship as he came up with the line "It's a girl my lord in a flat bed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me" which was probably worth co-authorship).
So one of the things I have been doing is slow down a little. On Sunday, Karen and I finally ventured out late morning. We had of course lost an hour and we were out late the night before. We ended up at La Condesa for brunch. Great little crab appetizer (everything here seems to have a tex mex flavor to it). And we both had the chicken tacos. Soft tacos, with the tortillas freshly made. mmmmmmmm good. Highly recommended. Good margaritas too.
We wanted to get some walking in, so we walked across the river towards Allen's, the world famous boot (and hat) place. I immediately found a very nice western straw that Karen liked a lot. Then found a western felt that was just right. Shipping two more hats home!
Walked down to Guero's. Always love to eat there but the timing was not right, so of course we stopped off for a margarita and some chips and salsa. Cab back to the hotel for a nap, then out for the evening.
Went to the FastCompany party at Moonshine's. Like many parties here, loud and crowded. But we stayed for a while, then made our up to the Stephen F Austin Hotel, where the upstairs bar, the Stephen F is generally not crowded. Dinner at the bar. Our good friend Chris Redlitz happened by. Always nice to see him.
Karen left early Monday (again with limo to airport provided by again Steve Sarner).
I wandered over to the SXSW Conference and Trade Show. Saw Barry Diller keynote. BTW-if you want to follow me in real time, I am mediadls (same as my IM addresses) on Twitter and Foursquare. After Diller, I met up with Tom Finerty again and we walked the trade show floor. Really a mish mash. Would be helpful if they grouped similar booths together, but then they might not have the flow. Some interesting stuff though. I could see that my son Dale, a budding Sound Engineer would get a lot out of this.
Dinner last night was at Wink, a fairly high end experience. Tom Bedecarre (AKQA) and his nephew, Bruce Carlisle (Conference Hound), Greg Stern (BSSP) and Daniel Stein (EVB) all joined in. Most of us had the tasting menu which was very good. Highly recommended. Reservations a must.
Taking it easy has been doing things at my own pace, getting in some reading, some writing, some walking around town and connecting with friends. This is a great town. If they only had an ocean, I could live here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 7 Recap. What a day.

Saturday was a great day. We started out for a walk mid morning. Stopped at the Driskill Hotel. This is where LBJ had a suite that he watched every one of his elections from (he never lost an election!) and then came down to the ballroom to celebrate. This hotel was built in 1885 and is one of the greatest examples of the old time western architecture across Austin (there are many more). We had a margarita at the bar to celebrate.
As we left the hotel, Karen spotted a hat store, called Hatbox across the street. If you know me, you know that this is my kind of place. I found a hat, Karen found a hat, then she found a hat for me, then when we went to pay, I found another hat. Shipped two and wore two straws out the door. Karen asked me what I was going to do now, when we went to Allen's on Sunday. I said we'd deal with that then. ;-)
We did a leisurely stroll to Lambert's, reputed to be on of the best BarBQ spots in town. And it was. BTW-When I had dinner with Tim McClure and others on Wednesday night, Tim encouraged that we try the Mac and Cheese all over town. Don't tell my Dr.
Lambert's is like a lot of places which serves Mac and Cheese as a side, so I could at least try it, right? I had the Achiote and Lime Rubbed Natural Chicken with Mac and Cheese and jicama and carrot slaw as sides. Karen did a Caeser salad with chicken. First time ever that the chicken was rubbed BarbQ. We started with a rock shrimp tomato soup. All great.
Our friend Tom Finerty of YourGardenShow, the social gardening site, is up for a community site award at SXSW. He had an exhibit at Whole Foods. Not just any Whole Foods, but the Mother Ship. This place is Texas sized! The beer aisle is in a giant cooler with automatic doors at both ends. You gotta love a walk through refrigerated beer aisle. And this place makes Marina Safeway on a Wednesday night (pick up night) look like amateur night. Lots of fine looking people. And the selection at this store is mind blowing. In all aspects.
Across the street is Waterloo Records and I always believe in supporting record stores, an endangered species. Lana McGilvray of Datran told us that she and her husband DJ Stout would be there to visit with their friend Darden Smith who was debuting his new book. Darden is another giant in Texas music and he played some selections from his recent album, Marathon. The book is unique, it is wonderfully designed and art directed by DJ Stout of Pentagram, a top rate and famous Designer (Texas Monthly, etc.) and contains wonderful photographs by Kate Breakey. It's kind of unique in music marketing in the world of downloads. With downloads, we don't get the album art and the lyrics any more. So Darden produced a book that filled that void. We also were to hear Darden last night. More about that below.
Went back to Whole Foods as we just had to buy something there. We have a kitchen in our suite at the Omni, so be bought breakfast stuff and some beer (had to celebrate the beer aisle/cooler) and some wine.
Headed back to the Omni, then out to a party for where Lana and DJ were also attending. Lana has been instrumental in guiding a number of us through the food and night life aspects of Dallas.
On the campus at University of Texas, there is a small venue, well under 100 seats with a bar called the Cactus Cafe. Not a bad seat in the house and very intimate.$15 tickets. I can't remember when I paid so little for a first rate artist. Darden Smith did two sets, featuring Marathon in the first set and some of his older music in the second. Michael Ramos (keyboards, harmonies and accordion), Roscoe Beck (bass) and JJ Johnson (drums, percussion and harmonies) provided a very high level band experience. Wonderful introduction to this artist. We'll see him again when he tours the bay area. Recommended.
Any day with live music is one of the special days.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The winner so far.....Foursquare

SXSW is known for the apps that have become hits by starting out here. Most notably, Twitter and Foursquare. Of all the apps vying for attention at SXSW, the winner so far is...Foursquare. They are working very hard to prevent a newbie app like Yobanga from taking their crown. First of all they upgraded to V 3.0 on Wednesday. This includes a commerce effort with Amex. Register your Amex card and you get $5 off the tab when you check in at a place and then use your Amex card. Pretty slick.
They also have a promo in combination with Pepsi Max, who has taken over a vacant lot a block from the Convention Center. And they have a party later today. But most of all the application has a lot of cool features including those friends who are nearby, a significantly updated interface and an explore button where you can find lots of things. A little early to try to margarita button but I might later on.
Karen finally arrived yesterday, after thinking her bag was lost (driver was clueless and steered her to the wrong baggage place), then the driver dropped her at the Hilton rather than the OMNI. But she got here eventually.
We went to the comScore party on the roof of Fogo De Chao which was very nice. Then on to SIX Lounge for an Internet Oldtimer's Group meetup, then on to the AllThingsD party at Momo's. Mossberg was not there. Not his kind of party. Kind of an indoor/Outdoor hip-hop barbeque scene. Did not stay very long. Headed back to the hotel and called it an early night. There are parties everywhere. Many are private but some are open. But one thing in common, they are all jammed. Some overly so. A recurring theme seems to be asking if there are too many people and whether SXSW is overly crowded. Time will tell.
This is Day 7 of my trip and Day 2 of the Internet conference. Looking forward to the trade show on Monday, interacting with some of the companies in the booths, but for today, it's walking around town, checking in on a few events that I'll recount tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Homeless CEO's?

I read with interest a few weeks ago that there are two kinds of attendees at SXSW. Those who plan out their moves and those who parachute in. I have run into multiple CEO's who decided at the last minute to promote their wares somehow. They can get into the conference, trade show and events for a price, but there are no hotel or condo rooms within 35 miles. San Marcos appears to be the closest venue. One CEO I had dinner with last night opined that since bars stayed open until 4AM and opened again at 6, he only had to sleep in his car for two hours! I prefer my one bedroom suite at the Omni within walking distance of everything. There is a financial incentive for UT students to take in folks in their dorm rooms. Fraternities should be renting out rooms.

There is music everywhere. Coming back to the hotel last night, one bar band was doing a great cover of Led Zep's Black Dog. Note for note. And with style. On the plane last Sunday from SF, I opined to my seatmate that I had NEVER seen so many carry on instruments of all sizes, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, etc.

The SXSW Tech conference starts today...This is Day 6 of my stay in Austin. Karen arrives this afternoon for the weekend. Should be great.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 4: Moving Day

Writing this at the start of Day 5, Thursday. Just got an email welcoming me to SXSW. Going over to pick up my badge in a while. But you don't need a SXSW badge to enjoy Austin. More about that following.

I moved to the Omni yesterday to a one bedroom suite for the duration of the trip. I have finally been able to shut off the alarm. Still woke fairly early this morning, heading up to the roof where there is a lap pool. I love swimming outside, especially on rooftops. It's great up there.

Last night, I had dinner at the Belmont, American food with a nice bar and a club venue attached for music. At dinner were Mike Donahue, EVP of the 4A's, the legendary Tim McClure and his many stories, Lynn Bolger of comScore, Lana McGilvray of Datran who like Tim a local and has been very helpful in navigating the many options here, Bob DeSena who regaled us with many stories, Steve Sarner of, the one who is providing limo services for us around town and Chick Foxgrover CEO of the 4A's who also had great stories (well everyone around the table did). There was a lot of talk about Catholic schools and Nun punishment. Those who went to schools like that seemed in the majority. Chick talked about guys who would go the hockey rink when they knew they were going to get the paddle and sit on the ice before to deaden the effect! Quite a strategy. He also told me that he lived up the block from us on Potrero Hill in the 70's. Apparently our house was used in the movie Foul Play as a whorehouse. Gonna have to check that out!

After dinner, walking back to the hotel down 6th street, heard a band and wandered a little further. No cover. $6 for a Pilsner Urquell. And a rocking four piece band doing Charlie Musselwhite style blues. I'm a Man, I'm a Hootchie Cootchie Man. Band was called Swamp Dogs and the venue was Friends, just one of many places in Austin to hear great live music. The also did a great version of Iko Iko and others. Wonderful nightcap.

The 4A's conference was definitely worthwhile. If you are in the advertising or media business, it should be on your conference schedule. And, I won an iPad courtesy of Tremor Media for coming up with the closest answer to video growth in the next few years. Dale will be the beneficiary of this as he can use it in his production stack. Amazing the uses for the iPad in the creative arts these days. I can't live without mine for many uses and it's time to get Karen one too.

Heading out into the day shortly. More to come.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 3: 4A's Media and Leadership Conference, Austin

Today is a very special day. My son Dale is 21. Please go to his Facebook page and wish him well. Happy Birthday Son. I love you very much. And I could not be prouder of you at this moment.
Yesterday was a special day as far as conferences go. Fareed Zakaria spoke to the 4A's (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) in the morning. His words were encouraging. International violence at a 50 year low. Three times as many countries showing growth (over 100). But the U.S. is in danger of falling behind. Check out his comments.
Some ok panels for the geeks here on media measurement. But the best part of these is always the contacts and visits with old friends in between the presentation.
Dinner last night was a stand up affair. John Cate, Mediasmith EVP and GM and I went first toStubb's BarBQ courtesy of Wired, The Week and Forbes great food, especially the hand rub washed down with cold beers. Then on to La Condesa for the best hand made tacos, a whole roast pig and margaritas at the door, courtesy of MediaLink and Millenial Media. Both are highly recommended.
Today is moving day. Last day at the 4A's, then afterwards, moving from the Hilton to the Omni for SXSW.
Austin is amazing. Walk down many streets and bands are everywhere in bars and restaurants. Looking forward to more. The weather is mid 70's and mild. Very pleasant.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day2: 4A's Media and Leadership Conference, Austin

I am at the Hilton in Austin for the 4A's Media and Leadership Conference. First of all, I'd like to apologize for the 4A's to Robert Earl Keen, that giant of a talent who had the misfortune of playing after dinner last night at the banquet. I moved up close to hear him. He was solo guitar and voice. But the people had been drinking for at least an hour before dinner and through dinner and there was a lot of conversation going on. He played many of his stalwart songs, including The Road Goes On Forever. But he walked off with no encore. Most in the crowd did not seem to care as they were engrossed in their conversations and libations. He's probably played for tougher crowds, but maybe not ruder. He did not seem to be happy as he left. But I personally loved the opportunity to hear him.

There are lots of people here, including many old friends in the business. I saw Bill Harvey last night who I have been working with and friends with since the early 70's. Nice to know that some of us are still standing. Bill, for those of you who don't know him is and always has been one of the foremost media futurists in the business. These days he is running TRA which is working on new methods for TV targeting. In his youth, he invented the concept of the ADI. (DMA today). He's had a storied career and I hope to have lunch with him today.

Earlier yesterday, I was at the Hyatt Lost Pines outside of Austin at the iMedia Brand Summit. Again, a situation where there were many long time friends and business associates. Mediasmith client Jocelyn Chambers from Citrix Online (GoToMeeting, etc.) and I took the main stage in the early afternoon to talk about data enabled buying. This is the use of consumer profiles to target the right message to the right person (all anonymous of course). I think it went over well.

Steve Sarner of was nice enough to send a car service to pick me up at Lost Pines and deliver me into the Hilton at Austin, where thanks to Amex, I am upgraded to the concierge floor.

Off to the conference today. I will try to tweet (mediadls) some things. A lot of social events tonight. Maybe more music in a better setting for the artist.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 1: iMedia Brand Summit, Lost Pines

Flew from SFO to Austin today. Got car service from Austin to the Hyatt Lost Pines which is in the hill country south of Austin, courtesy of Steve Sarner of Thanks Steve. The Hyatt upgraded my room. So far so good. Met with Jocelyn Chambers, our client from Citrix Online to rehearse our slides. Only to find out that the PPT builds were not right. Back to the room to send another version. All should be good for our big presentation tomorrow on Data Enabled Buying. Nice cocktail and dinner hour but it was outside and cold. Chatted with a lot of folks, then hightailed it for the room. In for the long haul. Need rest.

Friday, March 4, 2011

2 Days to go

On Sunday March 6, I travel to Austin where I attend a string of conferences and events for 16 days.

On March 6th and 7th I will be at the iMedia Brand Summit at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort south of Austin. On the afternoon of the 7th, Jocelyn Chambers, our client at Citrix Online and I will be speaking at the summit titled "Why Should Brands Care about Data Enabled Buying?"

I head up to Austin the night of March 7 to the 4A's annual Media and Leadership Conference at the Hilton. I'll be there for two days.

On March 9, I move over to the Omni in Austin and spend the next week and a half there for SXSW. Karen will be joining me for the weekend there.

Keep visiting this blog for news on the ongoing adventure.

Thursday, March 3, 2011