Recapping SXSW Interactive 2015
After months of preparation and planning, on the second day of SXSW Interactive I completely scrapped the “schedule” I had developed over the previous weeks. Leading up the event, I was really excited about all of the great content involved with SXsports. I’m a huge sports fan so this obviously attracted me. After spending my first day and a half attending sports panels, I realized I wasn’t really learning much and questioned if this was the best way of going about my SXSW Interactive experience.
My first tip for future SXSW Interactive goers – do things that are unfamiliar. If I had to claim to be an expert about anything, it would be sports. I already knew about a lot of the content that I was listening to throughout the first day and a half at SXsports. It was awesome to meet a few of my favorite sports personalities, and to hear them speak in person, but I listen to and read articles written by these people nearly every day, so what they were saying was not groundbreaking. After being slightly disappointed early on, I began to attend panels about space, digital influence on film and music, transportation, future of mobile and even a panel about cannabis, amongst others. This is where I started to enjoy my South By experience. So go outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. At one point, I just walked in to a random room without knowing what the panel was. This was a discussion by four women about how companies need to utilize and embrace social media; it was one of the best discussions I attended.
My second tip for future SXSW Interactive goers – there are a lot of fun/interesting/educational things to do outside of the panels. The first two days I spend the entire day trying to attend as many panels as possible because I was so focused on having enough content to write articles for our website. After the first two days, during lunch time (from like 12-2) I would go around to the lounges, trade show and different venues set up around the convention center and hotels. Though these weren’t as informative as the panels, this provided a good opportunity to network and learn about new technology.
Themes of SXSW Interactive:
Millennials – Nearly every panel I went to spoke about the importance of reaching millennials and the importance of millennials in the market place. In one of the panels I attended, a panelist deemed millennials “the holy grail” within their consumer audience.
Diversity – My favorite quote from SXSW Interactive was by Astro Teller of Google |X| (paraphrased) “Mental diversity, not demographic diversity is the key to a successful team.” A common belief of diversity is that a group is made up of different ethnicities, religious views, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Yes, this is a diverse group but in a business sense diversity has to do with thinking styles, thought process, idea generation and work habits.
Utilizing Big Data – From wearables to social media, how are we going to use all of this data we have collected? Nearly every panelist made some mention of data. From my point of view, most companies are starting to realize the best way to utilize all of the data they have collected but this is still a process.
Embrace Social Media – Learn how to use social media well; from the common consumer to Fortune 500 companies. Social media is here to stay. In order to be successful, companies must best understand how they can reach their target audience via social media.