Hey Big Fish is our gift to the SXSW community.It helps you engage in a more meaningful way during and after the event. It creates a record of  SXSW 2013 that represents what happened and what the community valued.

The Story

Our team came together with the goal of designing a product to launch as SXSW. The idea was to create a little gift for our peers and bring some attention to the great work our organizations are doing.

The first step was to find a technology partner and fellow Portland, Or company Little Bird was an obvious choice.  Their product quickly became the spark of inspiration we needed - We could use Little Bird’s technology to add a layer of smarts to whatever we come up with.

That was a good start but what should it be. After rounds of ideation we kept coming back to this simple fact.


SXSW is big.

There are lots of people there and lots of people talking about it.

How does anyone take full advantage of all this great community activity and content?

Could we help?


We went through a lot of ideas. Little Bird brought ideas of what data they could make available, Waggener Edstrom brought smart thinking about what the SXSWi community would naturally embrace and the Tater Tot team got to thinking up problems and innovative ways to solve them.

In the end, the idea of adding value to the SXSW experience people are already having brought us to the concept that got us to the final Hey Big Fish product.


The Concept

When a large event happens there is a firehose of content that floods into the social sphere let's create something that improves the experience of consuming this content? We were starting with SXSW but what about Super Storm Sandy, The Oscars, The Presidential Election or March Madness? We started getting really excited.

Take Twitter. You can follow a hashtag for an event but often the stream of tweets is moving so fast you can’t even read it. And what if you could? All the Tweets coming in are on an equal level. In many ways the beauty of Twitter is just that. Everyone can take part and the platform puts all of the content, no matter the author on the same equal playing field. This is groundbreaking and as we have seen in many world events as of late the power of this simple fact is great, but maybe in some situations we might want to experience this content in another way.

Below are the questions that were top of mind for me as the Product Designer as I worked with the team to design the experience.

  • How can we apply utility to the mass amount of content generated by an event in time to make it consumable in new ways?
  • How can we assist people in their quest for a shared experience?
  • Little Birds’s technology provides a way to make a judgement call about who to listen to. This would be helpful in an event situation. How do we put it into action?
  • Can we put parameters around who is “part” of the event? This would allow us to create a definitive list of content. What could we then do with the content? 
  • An event creates or surfaces it's own value system and set of things it values. Can we capture this? Can we preserve this?
  • Would people be encouraged to participate and connect with more people if they had insight into their position and engagement level with the people of the event?

I am going to do a series of posts expanding on the above points. I hope you will come back and let me know what you think.

I think what we did really well with this product is we didn't try to invent something completly new but instead found a way to add a layer of value on top of something that is already happening.  Did I mention we did all of this Concept to Launch in 5 weeks?

The next few days will be exciting. I hope the people of SXSW find value in our little gift and I hope it sparks further thought and conversation about how we consume social content!


We already got a nice write up on TechCrunch!