This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
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Sunday, April 25, 2010
The 2010 Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit recap
Last week, I was fortunate enough to head back down to Austin, Texas. I had just been there a month earlier for South by Southwest Interactive. This time, I was going to be attending the Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

We have been Bazaarvoice clients at Nationwide since 2008, but this was my first Summit.

The night before the Summit Bazaarvoice hosted a small reception followed by roughly 30 small dinner groups around Austin. I was paired up with folks from BV, including CFO Ken Saunders, Intuit, Lending Tree, Charles Schwab, Fingerhut, Rosetta and ExactTarget at Perry's Steakhouse.

The vault at Perry's
The vault at Perry's Steakhouse

We were given a private dining room that was housed inside an old bank vault. The food and conversation were great. Most of the companies at dinner were in financial services, so we were able to relate to how we were each using BV services.

See all of Bazaarvoice's photo from Monday night on Flickr.

The Summit kicked off on Tuesday with a total of 8 sessions. Three of those really stood out for me: Douglas Rushkoff's talk on innovation and corporate culture, Manish Mehta's session on the growth of social media and Kelly Mooney's panel on millennials.

Douglas Rushkoff
Douglas Rushkoff

The millennials panel contained a lot of interesting insights into their media comsumption. The most shocking revelation, even more than the 100+ text messages they send daily, was the fact that none of them, including two recent college grads, owned or wanted to own a credit card.

I was asked to co-host a roundtable discussion on social media in highly-regulated industries with Dan O'Neil from Rosetta and Meghan Meehan from Bazaarvoice. Had some really good discussions (with most of our competitors) on how to use social media and still remain in compliance with the myriad of regulations that govern our industry.

Tuesday night, BV took all of the attendees out to the Mexican American Cultural Center for a party. In addition to the usual party components of a band, open bar and food, there were some quirky extras thrown in like a mechanical bull riding contest, some electrical performance art and fireworks.

While I declined to ride the bull, I was convinced to be a part of the electrical performance. It's a bit tough to describe, but I was placed in a metal cage between two 7 foot tall Tesla coils. After being locked in the cage, the coils fired hundreds, if not thousands, of lightning strikes at me. All of the strikes were synchronized to a pulsing dance beat. Yes, I had had a couple of drinks...

Me in the cage
Me in the cage

See all of Bazaarvoice's photos from Tuesday on Flickr.

The second day of the Summit started off with some fanfare. The University of Texas drumline joined Bazaarvoice CMO Sam Decker on stage to get things started.

Beat it
Love the guy at the breakfast buffet. Must be an A&M fan

I missed a couple of sessions due to business calls. So I didn't get to see Mitch Joel's keynote in the morning.

The highlight of Wednesday for me was Dmitri Siegel from Urban Outfitters. He shared how UO has been able to include customers in everything they do including the design of products.

Selleck Waterfall Sandwich meme
Dmitri Siegel showing the Sellect Waterfall Sandwich meme

Wednesday night, I was able to convince a few Austin friends to join me for a couple of drinks. Aaron Strout, Kyle Flaherty, Chuck Hemann, Peter Kim and myself talked social media, Austin real estate and sports while watching part of the Red Sox game. It was nice to connect with these guys and take a break from the conference for the evening.

See all of Bazaarvoice's photos from Wednesday on Flickr.

The Social Commerce Summit officially ended on Wednesday, but there was a one day Executive Social Media Bootcamp on Thursday. It was a much smaller event with about 40-50 brands in attendance.

I was asked to present as part of a panel on Facebook. Also got to hear from Sean McDonald, Ben McConnell, USAA, PETCO, Dell, Nielsen and others. It was very informal and hands-on. At one point, Ben McConnell helped a volunteer draft a social media strategic plan for his business. You can read Sam Decker's recap of the bootcamp on the Bazaarvoice blog.

You down with OGST? Yeah, you know me!
You down with OGST? Yeah, you know me!

The event wrapped around 3pm and I headed straight for the airport afterward. Of course, I couldn't leave Austin without getting some Salt Lick. Ended up running into Kenny Kim from American Express, so we shared our thoughts on the event over some amazing brisket.

Overall, I had a great time at the Summit. I highly recommend it for anyone working in social media/social commerce.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.