As the SxSW conference has grown in popularity, so has its influence. All around Austin for a week every year, techies wander around glued to their phones and listen to each other expound on technical minutia. Over the past few years, companies launched at SxSW have gone on to much critical acclaim (if not always monetary success).
This year, everyone's been talking about Stickybits. Basically, they're barcodes that let people attach digital content to real world objects. When scanned by the Stickybits app, any user can see that content and upload their own. A pack of 20 stickers are available on Amazon for $9.95. Barcodes are also available for free downloading on the Stickybits website.
With investments from Polaris Ventures,
Stickybits launched this week at SxSW. When attendees at SxSW opened their schwag bags, among the various flyers, stickers and branded fortune cookies was a packet of Stickybits. People immediately set about tagging items around the convention center and uploading their own content to them. There are unlimited uses for information that can be attached, to branded items and otherwise. But like any user generated item, there's also potential for clashing messages.
Founder Billy Chasen ran Chartbeat.com, a real time analytics service that’s been “infoporn.” I caught up with Chasen at SxSW to talk about Stickybits and what he hopes to achieve with it.