Monday Buzz: SXSW Becomes the New Front in Uber’s Campaign

Uber puts an event-friendly city on the hot seat at SXSW. Also: how the concepts of complexity and simplicity interact.

The yearly South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering is often an epicenter of disruption, proving a hotbed for introducing ideas to a captive audience. (Example: Twitter. Seriously, look it up.)

But this year, the plugged-in Austin, Texas, conference found one of its licensed vendors—the popular ride-sharing service Uber—disrupting the city itself.

Austin has strict limitations on transportation options, barring services like Uber from operating in lieu of standard taxis.

But Uber, which has operated during SXSW for several years—via a loophole that allows it to operate through the conference, rather than through the city—is pushing for Austin to open its roads to its services, rallying attendees around the #AustinNeedsUber hashtag.

Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch and Molly McHugh at The Daily Dot have more on the ongoing debate, including the city’s response. (Short version: The city strongly recommended that SXSW attendees not hop in an Uber vehicle.)

Could situations such as this potentially change the conversation about ride-sharing in event-heavy cities like Austin? The stunt raises an interesting question for event professionals.


Content management consultant Gerry McGovern has a solid run-through of two competing forces: complexity and simplicity. When building systems for employees or members, organizations often take a “Swiss Army knife” approach, trying to fit in as many features as possible. That’s great for fancy pitches and promises of universal integration, but what about usability?

“In 2013, Avon cancelled a $125 million investment in a SAP enterprise system that had taken four years of effort to install. Basically, Avon sales people refused to use it because it was a usability nightmare,” McGovern writes.

In this and other case studies, McGovern has found that when it comes to content management systems, sometimes less is more. After all, a tool that has every available function but is too complex to use will always end up on the shelf in lieu of something less comprehensive but much easier to grasp.

His full write-up is over at CMSWire.


Don’t forget that the ASAE Great Ideas Conference is in full swing in Orlando, Florida, and those unable to attend can follow along with our live coverage, or keep track of the #Ideas14 hashtag on Twitter.

Feeling inspired by last night’s debut of “Cosmos?” Then join in with NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge Series, a contest to improve the algorithm used to identify asteroids.

Don’t underestimate the power of audio: The Infinite Dial survey finds that 47 percent of Americans listen to online radio at least once a month, up from 27 percent five years ago.

Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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