SXSW Recap: Day 1

MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR, KIDS! SXSW is in full swing. Many Austin locals hate it because streets shut down and drunk techies take over, but I find it all inspirational and super fun. Day 1 was a good settle in period…lots of walking to panels in different hotels around downtown proper. Very full panels but I didn’t get turned away from any of them (there’s an art to the quick leave/early arrival). Let’s discuss.

Fluidity and Honesty: Generation Z in 2025

Right now Gen Z (to be followed by Gen Alpha in case you were wondering like I was) is aged 5–20. They’re starting to make economic impact and they’re about to make more. They make up 25% of the U.S. population, and they’re the most ethnically diverse, multiracial generation we’ve ever had. They ascribe more to gender fluidity than any other generation. They’re expected to have 3 different jobs by the age of 30. They come from non-traditional households. They represent the largest identity departure from the previous generation in decades. Lots of the discussion circled around things I can identify with as a Millenial, though the lines will get clearer as Z ages. For brands, it means Z doesn’t care about the branding and the logo. They want simplicity, style, and things that fit into their identity. In 20 years we’ll likely find “branding under the hood” — less focus on who made it and more on how functional it is and how good it looks. Gen Z is the chameleon generation, for sure.

Gary Vanyerchuk — #AskGaryVee

Gary runs VanyerMedia, a multi-million dollar social media brand consulting company. He’s the scrappy kind of entrepreneur, and he cusses a lot. I loved it. He called out the BS guru cults of the online self-help pantheon…which are most of them. So many people telling you how to live a best life when they can’t back it up. He says 90% of people online don’t believe in what they sell, which is a problem. He said to look for more product placement advertisement as crowds get increasingly deaf to obvious promoted content. Snapchat will be around in 7 years, so get used to it. My favorite quote was, “Bullshit entrepreneurs cry because of the way they want it to be versus the way it is. And you should never cry about the way it is. Just work harder.” This guy gets in the trenches.

Learning Like a Noob — Erik Natzke from Adobe Systems

This was a very visual presentation from the artist in residence at Adobe Design, and it was neat to see how a high level designer keeps himself on his creative toes. Basically, get curious, get into the creator state of mind (“it’s not a talent, it’s a mood”), and do things. MY takeaway term was “aesthetic communication,” which is a good term for me to think about since I spend so much time thinking in words.

I caught some of the POTUS Keynote from a live stream at The Westin Hotel.

Go Native Or Go Home: Ads and Addictive Content

Camille Styles headed up this panel and apparently she runs a lifestyle blog, but I don’t think she caters to the folksinger aesthetic crowd. Other panelists were from West Elm and Domino Magazine. They talked about the trend of sponsored content (publications being paid to talk about a brand), and how that type of advertising works way better than banner ad content at this point (we’re all ad blind) and when the partnership is right, it is a genuine piece of content that is useful to readers and useful to the company pushing the ad. It works best when the brands align naturally. I would like to announce that I will be considering any offers of sponsored vlog content from Taylor Swift, Starbucks, GoPro, Timberland, and Google. Come on brands, pitch me.

Publishing A Book on Instagram — Jason Sperling

Jason published an animated book on advertising on Instagram…one post per day for 176 days. You can read/see it here. He made an interesting point about releasing things on the internet — they don’t ever actually have to be totally “done.” It made me think in terms of how many versions of an album I could make in various incarnations and how to share that process with people. Why ascribe to the old school model of publish and move on?

Also, I got a free donut. It was a good day.

Originally posted on www.janapochop.com

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