SXSW Interactive 2012: a collection of learnings, summaries and takeaways
SXSWinteractive2012a collection of learnings, summaries and takeaways Nathan Archambault | Copywriter | AKQA
So WTF is SXSW Interactive?It’s a Technology and Innovation Trade Showattended by Agencies, Clients and Nerdswith 2,700 Presenterswho speak at Keynotes and Panelswhere like-minded people Learn, Network and Schmoozein between Events and Partieswhile collecting Swag, Hangovers and Stuff to Tweet About.
So WTF is SXSW Interactive?It’s a Technology and Innovation Trade Showattended by Agencies, Clients and Nerdswith 2,700 Presenterswho speak at Keynotes and Panelswhere like-minded people Learn, Network and Schmoozein between Events and Partieswhile collecting Swag, Hangovers and Stuff to Tweet About.That’s a lot... how do youmake it useful?
So WTF is SXSW Interactive?It’s a Technology and Innovation Trade Showattended by Agencies, Clients and Nerdswith 2,700 Presenterswho speak at Keynotes and Panelswhere like-minded people Learn, Network and Schmoozein between Events and Partieswhile collecting Swag, Hangovers and Stuff to Tweet About.That’s a lot... how do youmake it useful?Let’s break it down.
When Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case discussed Ambient Location and the Future of the Interface I learned: We’re already cyborgs. But the technology isn’t inside us. It’s in our pockets.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYThroughout history, tools have extended our physical People and technology have become intertwined tocapabilities. But now technologies like smartphones the point of no return. Our phones are a remote controlextend our mental capabilities and reduce the amount of for our lives, providing us with an annotated reality.time and space it takes for people to connect with We’re all Superhuman.information.Key stat: By 2020, theres going to be 50 billion connected devices in the world.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP992057
When Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case discussed Ambient Location and the Future of the Interface she said: “The best technology is invisible.”SUMMARY TAKEAWAYThe point of technology is to reduce the amount of time Today, we click a mouse to make an action happen. Butand space it takes for people to connect with information. gestures and voice commands are taking over. SoonThatʼs why you donʼt see the best technology, it just weʼll all be wearing Google Glass and weʼll just have toworks when you need it. think or blink or desire to make something happen. The world is becoming the interface and its happening so fast and seamlessly that hardly anyone has noticed.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP992057
When Mullen CIO Edward Boches, Vayner Media Co Founder AJ Vaynerchuck, The Difference Engine Founder Farrah Bostic, Springpad Co-Founder Jeff Janer and VentureBeat reporter Jolie ODell discussed How to Harvest Consumer Intent from the Social Web I learned: Brands who insert themselves into the social graph are doing it wrong. They fit more seamlessly and naturally into the interest graph.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYThe social web lets us send out a constant stream of Thereʼs a tremendous opportunity for brands tolikes, tweets, check-ins, and reviews that we want to bridge the gap between discovery and action withshare. But thereʼs a new interest graph on the web that useful, timely and relevant information and offers.allows people to express their passions and plans in a Pinterest, Fab, GetGlue and other emerging interestway thatʼs much more valuable to brands. graph platforms let people categorize what theyʼre into and when a personʼs intent becomes obvious, brands can take advantage.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP13648
When Mullen CIO Edward Boches, Vayner Media Co Founder AJ Vaynerchuck, The Difference Engine Founder Farrah Bostic, Springpad Co-Founder Jeff Janer and VentureBeat reporter Jolie ODell discussed How to Harvest Consumer Intent from the Social Web I learned: Whatever a brand does, social or otherwise, should be all about data.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYConversations should be used to gather information, not Use social to learn more about people and how peoplejust for the sake of conversation. behave. Not just age and location but interests and preferences. Forget about likes and follows and RTs. Theyre useless when it comes to understanding us. The right data can inform brands what people are into and thatʼs whatʼs useful. Use relationships to learn what your customers want and then give it to them.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP13648
When Difference Engine Founder Farrah Bostic talked about How to Harvest Consumer Intent from the Social Web she said: “If all you do is show, all people are going to do is look.”SUMMARY TAKEAWAYWe need to shift perspective from “say and think” Just putting stuff out there doesnʼt serve a purpose.to “do and share.” Brands need to foster discovery, adapt to the interest graph and learn how to engage in it, and start marketing to the data. If brands tapped into our interests, theyʼd know to send us useful information. The data is there but brands arenʼt taking advantage and thatʼs got to change.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP13648
When MIT Principal Research Scientist Andrew Mcafee and OReilly Media Founder/CEO Tim OReilly discussed Create More Value Than You Capture I learned: Jobs are being outsourced not just to low-wage countries, but to machines. Machines! We need to rethink how the economy works.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYEfﬁciency is making too much of our labor pool obsolete. Companies need to build great ecosystems, one in whichThe race by companies to eliminate labor costs has been value is created not just for themselves but for partners,a short term proﬁt win but a long term loss. The cycle of people and other companies. Companies should havecapitalism depends on consumers as well as producers. hairy, audacious goals that go beyond the balance sheet.If consumers are less able to ﬁnd employment, we have Platforms like Kickstarter and Etsy are new ways ofto start thinking about how to put people to work, rather conducting business that put the emphasis back onthan how to put them out of work. Weʼve got to adjust our the people and reward individuals for hard, uniqueeconomy for a world in which more of our lives are work. The world needs more platforms that give peopleautomated. the chance to become producers.Key stat: Technologies like Siri will be 16 times better within 6 years.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP100142
When Rock God Billy Corgan and Altimeter Group Principal Brian Solis discussed The End of Business as Usual I learned: People changed the business model. It’s up to people to figure out how to make it profitable.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYStarting with Napster, the world of business changed. Artists and producers need to ﬁgure out how to buildThe standardized industry systems of yesterday donʼt new systems that work hand-in-hand with how theywork anymore. create and deliver things. A way to produce art and inspiration that makes money and works within the worldʼs new digital ecosystem.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP14046
When Rock God Billy Corgan talked about The End of Business as Usual he said: “If youre going to have an opinion, you better support, and if youre not going to support, shut the f*ck up.”SUMMARY TAKEAWAYStarting with Napster, power began to shift from Consumers have to get out of victim mentality, likeproducers to consumers. Consumers realized they could they shouldnʼt have to pay for things they want. Ifﬁnd music, content and knowledge online. Producers, you believe in something, become a brand advocate andwho couldnʼt charge whatever they wanted anymore, donate. If people donʼt start supporting the products andwere slow to adapt and create a new model. services they love, those products and services are going to go away.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP14046
When AKQA Mobile Director Tina Unterlaender & Audi Manager of Connected Vehicles Anupam Malhotra discussed Why Your Car Will Be the 5th Screen in Your Life I learned: The time we spend in our cars shouldnt be wasted time connectivity-wise, but it cant disrupt the driving experience.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYAfter movie theaters, TVs, PCs, and mobile phones, your Screens in cars need to create an experience thatʼscar will become the next screen you embrace. Cars are relevant to people on the road and do it the right way.already ﬁtted with powerful computers but weʼre not This means a unique interface that accommodates theusing the technology to its full capacity. In time, inventors driving experience. Right now, every automaker has theirand marketers will partner with consumers to see how far own technology. There are no set platforms or UXwe can push the ﬁfth screen. It will become the most standards, which stunts growth and holds downinnovative screen yet. what our cars are capable of doing.Key stat: Cars are ﬁtted with computers capable of completing 2,000 decisions per second.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP13387
When Mekanism CEO Jason Harris, 140 Proof Founder John Manoogian III, Barbarian Group Director of Earned Media Kristin Maverick and Story Labs Founder Sarahjane Sacchetti discussed Epic Battle: Creativity vs. Discipline in Social I learned: Invite analytics to the brainstorm.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYAs social media marketing moves from experimental to Hitting the numbers isnʼt going to get any less important.institutional, brands no longer question the importance of Itʼs up to agencies to consider analytics from the startsocial media marketing. But today’s strategies and and help brands understand the analytics that matter.deployment of social campaigns produce big questions Word of mouth is joining clicks, likes and drivingabout ROI versus spending. Agencies want to produce purchase as a key metric. But we still need more newcreative campaigns, brands care more about the metrics that measure creativity and not just numbers.numbers, and measurement isn’t where it needs to be tomake both sides happy.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP13334
When AKQA CCO Rei Inamoto discussed Why Ad Agencies Should Act More Like Tech Startups I learned: We need to revitalize the advertising business. Tech startups can teach us how.SUMMARY TAKEAWAYAd agencies pride themselves on big ideas and Innovation and creativity donʼt ﬂourish in acreativity. But for too long they’ve relegated technology hierarchical organization. Even when a company getsand code as production tasks, not as strategic points of big, agencies can keep teams small. What if agenciesview. Today’s ad agencies need to embrace the Culture accepted less money up front to get a share of the proﬁtsof Code in order to stay relevant. As technology later? This makes the client feel like theyʼre getting greatinfluences consumer behaviors to change, the very value instead of getting ripped off.definition of the “Big Idea” needs to evolve, too.Example: Instagram was a completely different experience when it launched. But they were leanand fast enough to completely change the experience based on how people were using it.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP10319
When AKQA CCO Rei Inamoto was talking about Why Ad Agencies Should Act More Like Tech Startups he said: “Specialization is the enemy of innovation. But generalization is the enemy of excellence.”SUMMARY TAKEAWAYTech startups and the people who work at them are We have to rethink creative roles. Concept isnʼt kingfocused. They don’t have to answer to clients or anyone anymore . Tech and strategy and UX should have abut their own high standards. Ad agencies, on the other seat at the table with creative. This leads to a betterhand, try to do it all - sometimes of their own accord and experience in the end. Itʼs still important for everyone toother times because clients want everything crammed understand what other people do and how they do it, butinto one project. But this level of generalization makes itʼs more important to have talented specialists and letthe entire process inefficient and waters down individual them concentrate on their specialty. Agencies need toprojects. shift resource allocation to talent casting.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP10319
When AKQA CCO Rei Inamoto played a video interview during Why Ad Agencies Should Act More Like Tech Startups Cyndi Gallop said: “You cant do new-world- order marketing from an old-world agency organization.”SUMMARY TAKEAWAYWhen broken down to the simplest level, three things It doesnʼt matter how something is made, itʼs what isthat agencies need to have are structure, compensation made. Remember the 3 Sʼs: Strategy, Storytelling andand process. Because tech start-ups don’t always have Software. Strategy makes your idea relevant, storytellingthese three things, they’re more free to operate as they makes it emotional & software makes it usable. Whenwant. Start-ups have proven that other models can work strategy, storytelling and software work together, theand be successful. And this makes it that much more outcome is insightful, desirable and useful products.obvious that the old model is failing.Overview and Podcast: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP10319
When AKQA CCO Rei Inamoto wrapped Why Ad Agencies Should Act More Like Tech Startups he said: “If you love something, keep at it. Somewhere down the line the dots will connect.”SUMMARY TAKEAWAYStop asking questions. Stop overanalyzing. Stop Do what you love, dedicate your life to it, andlistening to everyone else. everything else will fall into place.
That sums up what Ilearned this year.Till 2013...
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.