This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Monday, March 28, 2011
Upcoming speaking engagements
There are 3 events at which I'll be speaking over the next 8 weeks or so.

Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit (April 6th, Austin, TX)
This is my second year speaking at the Summit. Last year, I headed up a rountable discussion on social media in regulated industries as well as presented at the Executive Bootcamp.

This year, I will be sharing the journey we've taken at Nationwide over the past three years as we've moved social media forward in the enterprise. I will be joining a group of really great speakers including Jeremiah Owyang, Erik Qualman, Ze Frank and Clay Shirky as well as reps from Best Buy, Xerox, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, P&G and Facebook. See the full list of speakers here.

Midwest UX (April 10th, Columbus, OH)
Midwest UX "is a unique two-day event that combines inspiring talks with hands-on activities presented by a mix of regional professionals and international experts."

I will be participating on a mobile panel at this year's event here in Columbus. Hoping I can hold my own with the other speakers that include Jared Spool, Jesse James Garrett and local UX professionals including Bryce Glass, Bill Litfin and Nationwide's own Heidi Munc and Derren Hermann. See the full list of speakers here.

Net.Finance (May 16th, Chicago, IL)
Net.Finance is geared toward senior-level financial services marketers and includes 3 days of presentations from the largest financial services brands including Citi, Mastercard, Western Union and Charles Schwab.

I will be speaking on a mobile panel titled "What is the mission statement of your mobile platform" with Laurie Kresl. Will be sharing the approach we've taken with mobile at Nationwide over the past couple of years. See the full list of speakers here.

If you're going to be attending any of these events, please stop by and say, "Hello."
Thursday, March 10, 2011
#1 SXSWi moment: Brazilian Men Orgy (2009)
Back in 2009, I made my first visit to Fogo de Chao with Todd Earwood, Rob May, Kevin Frey and Dave Durand.

After getting seated and getting a brief overview of how the whole thing worked, we got down to our meat-eating business.

For those not familiar with Fogo de Chao, you have a card that is green on one side and red on the other. If the green side is facing up, a team of waiters will take turns delivering various meats to your table. The whole thing is made a bit more dramatic by the fact that the meat is carried around on giant metal skewers. Anyway, back to the story...

After about 15 minutes of power eating, I picked up my BlackBerry to share my thoughts on the meal. Because I wanted to get right back to it, I skipped naming the other diners at the table and simply posted:

"Meat orgy at Fogo de Chao. Unbelievable!"

After that profound tidbit had been delivered to the Interwebz, I got back to my meat pile. Over the next 45 minutes, we all ate our own weight in steak, sausage and other assorted goodies. All was right with the world.

When I picked up my BlackBerry after the meal, I was shocked to see what had actually been posted to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn:

"Men orgy at Fogo de Chao. Unbelievable!"

Whether it was BlackBerry's autocorrect or some subconscious desire (I'm really pulling for the BlackBerry on this one), I had not gotten my original message across. After frantically flipping through my Twitter replies and Facebook comments, it seemed that my tweet had gone unnoticed. Not a single reply. Whew, what a relief.

So, I posted a quick correction and we all had lots (and lots) of laughs around the table. Todd even shared my post with our waiter who was deeply troubled by it (but still made a point to say, "I'll be right back with the check, I know you have somewhere to be.").

Of course, my post hadn't actually gone unnoticed. It turns out friends and family were simply too confused to formulate a response. It wasn't until my correction went out that the "Oh, thank goodness" and "Your dad and I were so worried" messages came rolling in online. That turned out to be nothing compared to all of the comments I received that evening from friends in Austin.

You can read my original post describing our man orgy here.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
#2 SXSWi moment: Guitar Hero Deathmatch (2008)
In 2008, Microsoft brought the top Guitar Hero player in the world, Freddie Wong, to challenge SXSWi attendees.

One afternoon, as Freddie was doing a demo at the Microsoft booth, Todd Earwood decides to tell the Microsoft folks that I will take the title. Not thrilled, but totally on the spot, I had to do an audition performance.

GHIII challenge: Me and Freddie Wong

I ended up qualifying for the final slot in the tournament to be held later in the week. Of course, the tournament wasn't about beating Freddie. It was to see which competitor would lose the least. Reassuring.

While many of the other competitors chose the shortest and easiest song ("Mississippi Queen"), I chose a little Poison. My only requirement was that the host had to make a special dedication (listen closely to the beginning of the video).

I ended up finishing third and had a blast competing. My favorite part was listening to Earwood trash talking Freddie throughout the performance.

Since humiliating all of us at SXSWi, Freddie has gone on to make a ton of popular YouTube videos with over 135 million views (What?!). "Jedi A-holes" is one of my favorites.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
#3 SXSWi moment: Gary V's wine party (2009)
What do you get when you cram Gary Vaynerchuk, hundreds of social media folks and dozens of bottles of wine into the outdoor patio of a gay dance club on a Sunday night in Austin, TX? Turns out, you get a hell of a good time.

Gary Vaynerchuk handing out wine
Gary handing out wine

Rumors had been circulating all day that Gary was planning to have a flash mob-style party *somewhere* in Austin. The original plan was to host it at Cedar Street. But after 10 or 15 minutes of handing out wine, the party was shut down (since there was already another event being hosted there).

Gary Vaynerchuk and me
Gary and me

Gary and team quickly regrouped and moved the party across the street to Rain. After making our way past some dudes in Speedos dancing, we found ourselves in an outdoor patio area at the back of the bar.

Christine Major, Pete Cashmore, Daniel Ha and Aaron Strout
Christine Major, Pete Cashmore, Daniel Ha and Aaron Strout

Within 30 minutes, the place was absolutely nuts. We were crammed in shoulder-to-shoulder and Gary was passing wine and wristbands back through the crowd which included Pete Cashmore, Robert Scoble, Chris Heuer, Scott Monty, Todd Earwood, Jim Storer, Aaron Strout and many, many others.

Todd Earwood, Scott Monty and me
Todd Earwood, Scott Monty and me

After the party at Rain ended, a group of 8 or 9 of us ended going with Gary to the Pure Volume event down the street. Unfortunately, they were at capacity and couldn't let anyone else in. I left the group at around 3am as Gary and crew started organizing a tweetup in the Hilton lobby.
Monday, March 7, 2011
#4 SXSWi moment: Livin' on a Prayer (2009)
The Blogger Lounge at SXSWi is always a strange and magical place. Throughout the course of a day, it is a who's who of the digital and social media space doing, sometimes, unusual things.

Day 2: Jeff Pulver, Amber Naslund and Brian Link

In 2009, I happened to find myself in a conversation with Jeff Pulver, Amber Naslund and Brian Link. I believe Jeff was sharing insights on why he was an early investor in Twitter.

As he finished his story, Jeff's attention turned to the XBOX 360 set up in the corner of the room. So, he and I cranked through a couple of tunes on Rock Band 2 (him on guitar, me on drums).

Feeling like we needed to make more of a ruckus, I enlisted Jason Falls to join us on vocals. What happened next was fake rock music history (and one of my favorite SXSWi moments)!

Note how the rest of the room isn't having nearly as much fun as we were. Also, check out Jeff's assessment of our performance on his blog.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
#5 SXSWi moment: KICKin' it (2008)
In 2008, Anil Dash brought back his annual KICK! kickball game at SXSWi. Nick Huhn and I skipped out on some of the Saturday morning sessions to join about 40 others in the largest kickball game I have ever been a part of.


There were no team limits, so it was 20 on 20 with everyone in the field at once on defense and everyone going through the batting rotation on offense. As if that didn't make the game challenging enough, Anil had a rule that we had to use a GIANT kickball during the 5th inning. It was nearly impossible to catch or throw, so lots of runs were scored that inning.

KICK! 08: Eric with both shoes still on
Eric with two shoes on...

KICK! 08: Eric's shoe is out
It turns out that catching a shoe is not an out in kickball

The highlight of the game was when Eric Marcoullier kicked his shoe into left field and had it caught in the air by the 3rd baseman.

KICK!08: Tacos!
Taco time!

After the game, Anil and the Six Apart team treated the group to tasty breakfast tacos and coffee. Overall, it was an awesome diversion from the morning sessions. You can see a brief video of the action here.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
#6 SXSWi moment: Julia Allison talks to Stan (2009)
As I headed to SXSWi 2009, one of my Nationwide colleagues asked me to snap a few photos of Julia Allison if I ran into her. Turns out he was a big fan, so I promised to do what I could.

One morning as I was heading into the Convention Center, I passed Julia outside of the Hilton, but couldn't get my camera out in time.

Fortunately, a couple of days later, I would run into her again. This time, it was in the confines of the blogger lounge.

I whipped out my Flip camera and made my pitch. Much to my surprise, she agreed to shoot a quick video for my colleague (and was an absolute pro doing it in one take with about 30 seconds to prep).

Stan was pretty surprised by the video. Thanks again to Julia for being such a good sport.
Friday, March 4, 2011
#7 SXSWi moment: Chat Roulette with a TWiST (2010)
This may be the lamest SXSWi moment that you'll read on this list, unless you happened to be at Six Lounge that fateful evening in 2010 for Jason Calacanis' live TWiST interview with Tony Hseih from Zappos.

TWIST view from the balcony
Photo by Todd Earwood -- who has just been implicated by me crediting him for this photo...

I cannot share many of the details of the #7 moment or those that participated... just know that it was one of the funniest and truly disturbing things I have witnessed ever while in Austin.

Basically, we arrived for the show, grabbed our seats in the balcony, then learned that it would be an hour or more until things got started.

In order to keep ourselves entertained, one of the guys pulled out his MacBook and we decided to play a drinking game with Chat Roulette (those who know Chat Roulette can imagine what the criteria for drinking might have been). Before we even get started, the team from a Canadian startup stopped by and heard what we were planning. The lone female on their team decided we should raise the stakes and... that's as far as I am comfortable taking this story here.

Those who were there will, hopefully, have a long laugh. Those who were not can follow up with me this year in Austin to get all of the details.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
#8 SXSWi moment: Powered by Posehn (2010)
Brian Posehn at the Powered party

Our friends at Powered threw an awesome party at the Scholz Beer Garden which turns out to be the oldest beer garden in Texas. As if free drinks, free books, good company and sunshine weren't enough, Powered brought in comedian Brian Posehn to perform.

I knew Brian from his roles on "Just Shoot Me" and "The Sarah Silverman Program," but had never heard his stand-up. It was hilarious. Here is a little snippet (which is completely NSFW):

Much of the material from the Powered gig is also on his "Fart & Wiener Jokes" album which I highly recommend.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
#9 SXSWi moment: Leo and the Gnome (2010)
The great thing about SXSWi is that there are multiple parties every night of the conference and those parties often run late into the morning. Of course, after 3 days of that, old folks like me tend to get tired.

Even Gnomes get thirsty -- photo by Gargi Patel

Last year, Jim Storer (and his Red Sox Gnome), Adam Cohen, Gargi Patel and I decided to avoid the crowds and have a more relaxed evening at the Fogo de Chao bar. It was the perfect spot because there was absolutely no one else in the bar area.

Chuck Hemann and me -- Photo by Jim Storer

Throughout the week, Jim had been using his Red Sox Gnome as a photo meme and had gotten lots and lots of folks to pose with it.

Kevin Rose and Aaron Strout -- photo by Jim Storer

Because we were sitting alone in the bar, we had to find more creative ways to use the Gnome, so we convinced our bartender to place him among the more expensive liquor bottles.

A little Gnome Perignon -- photo by Jim Storer

A few minutes later, a door to a private dining room opened and out walks Leo Leporte, Jeff Jarvis and Robert Scoble. Not one to miss an opportunity for the gnome, Jim approaches the group and asks if they would snap a couple of photos.

Leo and the Gnome
Leo and the Gnome -- photo by Jim Storer

It turns out that Leo was livestreaming at the time, so he decided to ask Jim a few questions about the Gnome and share his thoughts on Fenway Park before posing for some photos. Jeff Jarvis joined in as well.

It was an unexpected way to end the evening, but a great example of how you never know who you'll bump into in Austin for SXSWi. See all of Jim's photos from that evening.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
#10 SXSWi moment: Make your own party (2008)
The first person I ran into at SXSWi 2008 was Eric Marcoullier. He and I had known each other online for a while, but had never met in person. We chatted for a few minutes and planned to connect later in the evening.

Fast forward a few hours later. I was waiting in line at Six Lounge for the Mix at Six party with Jason Falls and the Louisville crew. The line was ridiculously long and we were, literally, at the very end.

Next thing you know, Eric and his crew rolls up to the end of the line and, like us, determines the long line just isn't going to work. He suggests that we find an empty bar and tweet out the location to our friends (which was new and novel in 2008).

The Playas Club
Bostjon Spetic, Scott Monty, Eric Marcoullier and Chris Heuer -- photo by Jason Falls

We ended up just down the block at Cedar Street. There was a band playing outside and absolutely no one inside. So, the 10 of us started tweeting about this great party we were hoping to have and we waited.

More of our meet up
Photo by Jason Falls

Within 15 or 30 minutes, the bar had gone from completely deserted to pretty happening. Because we each shared with our own networks, there were plenty of folks that didn't know each other, so plenty of mingling ensued.

Jim, Kristie, Chris and Me
Photo by Jason Falls despite Jason being in the photo. He's magical.

Attendees included Chris Heuer, Kristie Wells, a pre-Ford Scott Monty, Krista Neher, Steve Hall and Jim Long.

That impromptu party got the whole week started and I found myself hanging out with many of the same group the rest of SXSWi 2008.

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.