SXSW Eco Information
When is SXSW Eco?
SXSW Eco takes place October 7-9, 2013
Where is SXSW Eco?
The bulk of the conference will be at the Austin Convention Center in downtown Austin. Parties, field trips, and various special events will occur at other locations around the city.
What is the entry period for the 2013 PanelPicker?
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 through Friday, May 10th, 2013 (11:59 PM CST)
When can the community vote and comment on 2013 PanelPicker proposals?
Monday, May 13, 2013 through Friday, May 24, 2013 (11:59 PM CST)
When will I learn if my proposal is accepted for the 2013 event?
The first round of confirmations will be released on Tuesday, June 11. All proposals will receive a response by Monday, August 5.
Who can enter a proposal in the SXSW Eco PanelPicker?
Anyone with access to the Internet can send a proposal to the PanelPicker.
Will I be able to edit my proposal in the 2013 PanelPicker?
Yes. You will be able to edit any part of your proposal through end of day on May 7. After May 7 you will no longer be able to make any changes or edits to your proposal.
Will panel ideas be accepted after the deadline?
For 2013 we will be adhering strictly to the May 7 deadline for PanelPicker entries. For more deadline information, email us. SXSW Eco Programming - email@example.com
Do I need to have an account to enter a proposal in the PanelPicker?
Yes. Creating a PanelPicker account will allow you to securely edit your proposal as long as the entry phase is open. Signing up is free and takes just a few minutes.
How many proposals can I submit?
Each user can enter only three (3) proposals for the event.
All SXSW Eco speakers will receive a complimentary SXSW Eco registration.
How long have you been using the PanelPicker to help program the event?
2007 was the first year that PanelPicker-generated proposals were included as part of the programming for the SXSW Interactive Festival. In 2010 the PanelPicker was extended to include SXSW Music and SXSW Film, and 2012 was the first year PanelPicker was used for SXSWedu and SXSW Eco.
Is crowdsourcing really the best way to generate content for an event such as SXSW Eco?
PanelPicker is a great way to gauge the kinds of topics that most interest the SXSW Eco community. Likewise, it has helped bring great new topics into the event. However, we also significantly rely on the expertise of the SXSW Eco Advisory Board and the SXSW staff to help curate the most relevant programming.
Can anyone post comments on my panel proposal?
When the voting and commenting portion of PanelPicker opens, anyone with access to the Internet and with an interest in SXSW Eco can comment on a proposal. To post comments, users first have to create a free login account (which takes about two minutes). All login information remains completely confidential to the PanelPicker interface.
Why does SXSW Eco ask for programming ideas seven months before the event? How can SXSW Eco cover the latest trends and ideas?
The sooner we can put together an exciting array of sessions for the 2013 event, the easier it is for our community to plan for their time at SXSW Eco. Don't worry, we always leave many slots open until August or September to allow room for late-breaking developments.
Tips for PanelPicker Success
What makes for a good proposal?
The more specific a proposal is, the better. Specificity demands a lot more thought and planning — and pre-event thought and planning are the two biggest keys to a successful session. For example, a topic like "Training the New Generation of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs" would work better than the more general "Education and Sustainability."
What makes for a good title?
Your title is going to be fighting for attention with hundreds of other titles in the PanelPicker. The more direct and explanatory your title, the better. "God, Guns and Greens: Forging Unlikely Allies in the Fight for Safe Food" is better than "New Partnerships for Food Security."
The form asks me to choose a FORMAT for my proposal. What are the differences in the various formats offered at SXSW Eco?
- A prepared presentation given by one speaker.
- 60 minutes
- A prepared presentation given by two speakers.
- 60 minutes
- Diverse discussion about a particular topic between 2-4 speakers, usually led by a neutral moderator.
- 60 minutes
- Core Conversation
- An open discussion with the attendees about a particular topic led by one or two facilitators.
- 60 minutes
Straight to the Point
- A 15-minute, fast-paced solo presentation that addresses a specific new media theme / topic.
- 15 minutes
The form asks for a LEVEL of difficulty for my proposal. What are the distinctions between Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced?
- Very basic information
- 0-1 years of experience
- More complicated information
- 2-3 years of experience
- Expert level information
- 5+ years of experience
What is the expertise level of most SXSW Eco attendees?
Most SXSW Eco attendees have an intermediate or advanced level of expertise in their field. It is best to focus beginner-level sessions for the PanelPicker on very new industry-related developments that most attendees might not yet be familiar with.
The form asks me to choose a CATEGORY for my proposal. How can I make sure I choose the correct one?
The category options represent the more broad overview topics SXSW Eco will cover in 2013. Select the one that you feel most suits your idea. Use the three user generated tags to further categorize your idea to make it more easily search-able by the SXSW Eco community, staff and Advisory Boards.
How important is correct spelling and grammar and punctuation in my proposal?
Very. You wouldn't turn in a resume that was full of typos and incomplete sentences, would you? It is essential that you take time to proof your entry.
Things to remember / Things to avoid:
Punctuation gives flow to your thought. Seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how effective a comma or semicolon can be. Look out for cut and paste errors. It happens. More than you think. It could happen to you. Proofread your description out loud, to another person, preferably someone who is not familiar with your idea. They will be able to tell if you are communicating what you intend.No matter how familiar you may be with your topic, remember that most of the people who will read your description will not have the same field of reference that you do.
Will I be able to edit my proposal in the 2013 PanelPicker?
Yes. The newly re-designed interface will allow you to edit any part of your “Draft” proposal up until you click “Submit My Proposal” on the final page.
Can I edit my proposal in the 2013 PanelPicker after I have submitted it?
Once you have submitted your idea you will no longer be able to edit, so be sure you have reviewed it carefully before clicking “Submit My Proposal.”
Will all the information I enter on this form be seen in the public interface?
No. We ask for a lot of information to help the SXSW Eco staff fully evaluate all proposals. However, only a selected amount of information about your idea will appear in the public interface. As you fill out the entry form you will be able to see a preview of what your idea will look like to the voting public.
I have a product or service I think SXSW Eco audiences need to hear about? Can I propose a panel to promote my idea?
Blatantly advertorial content does NOT tend to do well in the PanelPicker. SXSW Eco audiences, as well as SXSW Eco staff and Advisory Boards, prefer compelling and balanced content that highlights many solutions to a particular issue. They have no interest in sales pitches disguised as information. That is not to say that SXSW audiences do not look to SXSW Conferences and Festivals for the latest products and services. There is a place for that. If your intention is to introduce your innovative product or service to the intelligent and engaged SXSW Eco audience, contact our sales representatives for information on the many opportunities we have to offer for companies looking to make an impact on SXSW Eco audiences.
Marketing contact for SXSW Eco: Morgan Catalina firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I encourage voting for my proposal on my blog or via my social media channels?
We realize that rallying online support for your idea is an important part of the process. Please feel free to use the graphic at right to help promote your PanelPicker idea on your blog, website or in your social media channels. And remember, online self-promotion is best when done appropriately and in moderation.
Adding Speakers to PanelPicker Proposals
What does the PanelPicker entry form mean when it asks for "Primary Contact"?
The Primary Contact is the person who is ultimately responsible for seeing the proposal to its fruition. All SXSW Eco communications will go through this person. If the person proposing an idea to the SXSW Eco PanelPicker is a representative or agency, the Primary Contact information given should be for the person who will be responsible for every aspect of the proposed presentation in the event that it is chosen to be a part of SXSW Eco 2012. The person listed as the Primary Contact will be listed in the PanelPicker public interface as the "Organizer" of the idea. There can be only one (1) idea per event associated with each Primary Contact.
Do I need to have other speakers confirmed when I submit my panel idea?
- Short answer: Yes.
- Long answer: We understand that not all speakers may be able to confirm immediately. There is a field for prospective speakers if you cannot make contact with them to confirm at the time of your submission.
How many speakers should I add to my panel idea?
Panels at SXSW Eco typically include 4 speakers and 1 moderator. You will only be able to enter information for a total of five speakers. Audiences always prefer smaller panels, so consider limiting your session to 2 or 3 speakers. Solo and Dual presentations are also recommended for SXSW Eco.
What role do moderators play? Do I have to have a moderator if I propose a panel?
The Moderator is a neutral party that will run the session. This person is typically also the Organizer, but that does not have to be the case. Having a neutral Moderator will help keep your session focused on the proposed topic and will allow for a more balanced presentation. This is greatly recommended.
What sort of speaker lineup makes for the best panel presentations?
The most interesting sessions are the ones where there are many different perspectives. When choosing speakers keep in mind the V-O-W-E-L scale of basic diversity principles:
VARIETY - Hundreds of proposals were submitted to the 2011 SXSW Eco conference. In other words, we have lots and lots of very qualified people who want to speak at the event — so only aiming for big name speakers on your session is probably unwise.
OPINION - If all the other speakers on your panel proposal have the same opinion on the given topic, then the resulting conversation will likely be boring. Whatever topic you are addressing at SXSW Eco, you need to include at least one person whose opinion differs sharply from yours.
WOMEN - There are thousands of extremely qualified women in the eco space. If you are organizing a session with at least three total speakers, then at least one of these speakers should be female.
ETHNICITY - Different ethnic backgrounds and different cultures take a different approach to different topics. And, different is usually a good thing at SXSW Eco.
LOCATION - Lots of amazingly talented professionals call New York, LA and the Bay Area home. But, there are scores of very qualified experts located in various other locations in the US and around the world. Their voices also help contribute to this ongoing goal of diversity.
PanelPicker Selection Process
How much weight do votes from the public have in the selection process?
Voting from the public accounts for about 30% of the decision-making process for SXSW Eco panel programming. Also important in this decision-making process is the SXSW Eco Advisory Board (40%) and the input of the SXSW Eco staff (30%).
Who can vote in the PanelPicker?
Anyone who has access to the Internet can vote in the PanelPicker.
What do I need to do to be able to vote in the PanelPicker?
During the public voting phase all you need to do is sign-up for an account. Signing-up is free, quick and easy. And your sign-up information remains completely confidential.
When the voting interface goes live, can I post comments about my own panel proposal?
Yes. We strongly encourage you to use the comment section of the PanelPicker interface to offer more explanation of your proposal.
Why don't you post the voting totals?
Like it or not, people's opinions are easily swayed by other people's opinions. We don't post voting totals because we don't want people to only vote for proposals that other people are voting for.
How can my idea compete against people who have large email lists?
Remember, voting from the public only accounts for 30% of the selection formula. If you put together a strong idea that intrigues the Advisory Board and the SXSW Eco staff, then you won't need to worry about competing with people who have large email lists.
What is the SXSW Eco Advisory Board?
The Advisory Board is a group of experienced industry professionals, whose advice and insights about programming and other event-related issues are trusted by the SXSW Eco staff.
If My Idea is Selected...
If my idea is selected, do I get free admission to SXSW Eco?
All SXSW Eco speakers receive a(2) free registrations which allows them access to all official SXSW Eco events.
If my idea is selected, does SXSW Eco pay for my travel or lodging?
Unfortunately, SXSW Eco is not able to provide travel, lodging or other financial compensation for speakers at the event. What we can provide is exposure to the brightest minds and innovators the broad field of sustainability has to offer.
If my idea is selected, how can I best prepare for my session?
Preparation is key. The more preparation you devote to your session, the better it will be. SXSW Eco attendees are smart and they enjoy smart programming. If they realize you haven't prepared, they will leave your session and find a more interesting one next door. The more you communicate with your fellow speakers in the months before your session, collect your ideas, find opposing viewpoints, dive deep into your topic and find new ideas that excite you, the more your audience will enjoy your presentation.
If my idea is selected, how much will SXSW Eco work with me to refine my idea?
Getting your idea accepted via the PanelPicker is just the first step of a long process. SXSW Eco staff will work with you significantly to refine / hone / polish your idea such that your presentation (or panel) is a smashing success in October in Austin.