In what's become an annual tradition, my personal highlight of SXSW Interactive was (again) a session I didn't attend.
The session was by Gary Vanderchuk (the Wine Library, etc. guy) and it was about Gary's new book, The Thank You Economy. The Thank You Economy is about how the relationship between businesses and customers has fundamentally shifted, and how businesses have to start acting differently. I had read enough about the book to know what to have expected. It being SXSW, I decided to attend a different session about something I knew nothing about.
So here's what I missed:
I heard Gary was great (as expected), but more importantly I heard he greeted each and every attendee as they walked into the ballroom for the session. It's a big ballroom. That's a lot of people. Judging by the stories I've been hearing since, what Gary basically did was, he proved his point about the importance of making customers feel special even before his presentation began.
Brilliant. Brilliant, simple, and totally duplicatable.
People also told the story of how Gary gave away wine to everyone in the audience at the end, but mentally, I've blocked that part out. Keep in mind, I wasn't in attendance. There's only so much jealousy a fellow can take. Nice one, Gary.