SXSW Recap — Part I

This post is part of a series I will be doing to log and blog the awesomeness that in SXSW from the perspective of a Digital Media startup founder, food and booze enthusiast, and music lover.

Day 1 was filled with a ton of insights, a little rain, some delicious BBQ and a double rainbow!

SXSW simply put, is insanity in a city. The best kind of insanity, but insanity none the less. From high fiving robots and psychedelic art installations to pop up taco tents and live music riddled beer gardens, one can get lost in the mucky muck if not careful. I’m by no means an expert — this is my second time here — but I have learned and continue to learn a few things.

First things first — make a schedule. Here’s a great post from my friend Marc Nathan (local tech guru) on how to do just that.

My co-founder Andrew and I had a lot of the same events on our radar and decided to double team day 1. Here’s what we hit and some key takeaways:

The Next Multibillion Opp: Marketing in Messaging

A killer panel that waxed on the explosive growth of the Messaging app market — turns out there’s a reason Facebook paid all that money for WhatsApp…

The Players:

From custom keyboards to bots and emojis, messaging platforms are here in a big way.

Major Takeaway

The age of the app is starting to slow down when it comes to utility apps — messaging platforms are “the new browsers” and bots are “the new web pages.” Some bots are AI, some are human — still to be seen where this will lead but it certainly leads somewhere.

Newsopalypse: Can Digital Really Sustain Media?

The short answer is yes. Duh. But tell me how Coleman…. Okay okay, but let me set it up first:

The panel consisted of two legacy media companies and one digital native company that’s leading the charge in today’s landscape.

The Players:

Major Takeaway

AP’s products team has only been around for 2 years — kind of shocking but not at all since tech innovation has never been their core competency (that would be Pulitzer Prize winning journalism mmmkay). This provides context to the main point I’m making here — there is still a gap between legacy media and digital native companies like Vox. WaPo is right in the middle and definitely leading the legacy charge in adopting digital strategies (Jeff Bezos miiiight have something to do with that). But the crux of the biscuit — how will digital sustain media? — is diversified native experiences.

This is a theme that continues to headline the events we’ve hit so far. You need to go to the channels that your audience lives on and you need to speak to them in a native way. The time of destination sites and gated content is quickly coming to a close and a distributed channel strategy is a must. Further, you need to monetize via native ads that look, feel, and taste good to your audience on a given channel. Not only can digital sustain media, it can create unbelievable growth, it just needs to be done the right way. #NativeContent

Stubbs BBQ

The classic brand — we went to the source. It was simply delightful.

The Stars

  • BBQ Sauce
  • Brisket
  • Fried Okra (The standout)
  • Coleslaw

Major Takeaways

Don’t commit to a sit down meal in the middle of your action packed day — you’re gonna need a few hours to recover. Opt for a quick taco from one of the many popup tents or food trucks. It’s quick, it’s cheap, and its the right thing to do if you want to have a productive rest of your day.

Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.

We hit the homestretch the right way — with local brews and tunes. ABGB is located in South Austin and offers a killer selection of in-house produced beer, solid pizza, and quality live music.

The Players

Major Takeaways

Beer + Music = Happiness

The Final Countdown

We closed the day with a periscope recap of our overall takeaways — can you say Distributed Web?

Time to eat some tacos — more to come soon. Cheerio!

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