South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) kicks off tomorrow in good ol' Austin, Texas. While a lot of companies from all over creation are heading down south to network and display and launch new technologies, there's a bevy of innovation and creativity coming out of the city as well. I thought now would be a good time to profile some savvy Austin-based companies who, regardless of their activity at SXSW, are making names for themselves far beyond their big state.
First up is Dachis Corporation, a social business firm that still hasn't officially launched but announced its initial funding commitment from Austin Ventures in April 2008. Even though the company is operating in stealth, the brainpower behind the company alone is enough to generate news: Jeffrey Dachis, Peter Kim and Kate Niederhoffer. As is the premise for the company's approach to social business -- "social technologies can and should transform business."
I've written a lot about how many social media consultancies are leading tools-related discussions and I have very little tolerance for that. Dachis, however, has already shown thought leadership in creating strategies that apply to many different types of businesses, and has a keen understanding of how enterprise tech companies might benefit from social media (an area near and dear to my heart). I interviewed Kim, a senior partner at the firm, about the company, its plans and the team's beliefs.
Q. [Jennifer] What is the main business objective? What are you selling?
A. [Peter] We help clients transform their companies by focusing on changes in people, process and technology. These elements come together as "social business design." Our current offering consists of consulting services that include strategic planning, measurement and analytic insights, community development, change management, and technology implementation. When implemented, we believe that companies will reach intended business outcomes more efficiently, in addition to creating previously unanticipated high-impact, emergent outcomes. But that's just one part of our business. We'll be ready to share more as we evolve...
Q. What are the top problems that you are solving for your clients / customers?
A. We're focused on one key issue: helping clients understand the scope of social business and how they can transform their organizations. This requires integration with strategic vision, evolving existing tactical initiatives, and implementing a clear measurement framework to manage change. The endgame is improved business results.
Q. What types of customers do you have and who are some of your customers?
Q. What is your company's primary objective at SXSWi?
A. We intend to build connections with thought leaders on social technologies, community engagement, and enterprise-focused change.
Q. Tell me your perspective on the innovation coming out of Austin.
A. Innovation is happening in so many different ways. Close to us, you can see a variety of business models in the Austin Ventures portfolio. Austin has a large high tech community, which includes IBM, Dell, AMD, Freescale and National Semiconductor. IBM Austin led the nation in 2008 patent awards. Outside of technology, you can find inspiration in the Hotel San Jose, Arthouse, or even Cookie Lounge.
Q. Name one other Austin-based company that you feel has it dialed in and tell me why.
A. I think that Powered has positioned itself well for the future. I first covered them as an analyst in 2006; they've made a lot of strategic decisions since then to end up in a great position with a strong core product and solid management team.