Feeling something is more memorable than being told something

I am on my way home now. A friend asked why I am sharing so much stuff on Facebook. I guess there is nothing better than experiencing something so good that you need to share it with others.

Monday went really quickly. The day started with a networking brunch where I met with Derek Gordon, GM for Healthline. Healthline is a provider of intelligent health information and technology solutions. Following up on Charlene Li’s session on Saturday about building a digital strategy for executives, we discuss about its possible implications in healthcare. Derek is an active user of social media (he has more than 2,800 reasons to prove it on Twitter) and has attended SXSW since the beginning of times. Derek thinks that it is still early days for healthcare decision makers in social media, and that its potential lies in connecting patients and general population around disease areas. While I agree with him, I also believe that the use of social media in the medical community keeps growing rapidly and that companies need to make every effort to be there for their customers. For those already in the game, and for those to come.

In the afternoon I attend a three hours workshop: ‘Be a genius. Do great work. Achieve success beyond’. I thought I was in for a creativity boosting activity. Instead I find a session about personal growth and designing your life purpose.

If you are interested, just do this quick exercise. Take some time to relax and after that, think about these three questions:

  • What are your strengths, gifts and talents.
  • How do you enjoy expressing your talent to others?
  • Describe your perfect world.

Now combine all the answers above in one paragraph. Any surprises?

The Trade Show

I am surprise to discover that there is a trade show at SXSW Interactive. It really is a fun fair for those who like to stay close to innovative technologies and apps.

Fly me to the moon

You can find a bit of everything in this area of the show: developers, social media services providers, designers, robotic hands, apps, selfie lenses, interactive screens and the NASA booth, displaying a real astronaut suit… and the Lunar Touchstone. One of only five lunar rocks in the world that you can touch. A must see.

After the visit I head to one of the most interesting sessions of the show. A best practice case for Oculus Rift and how it was used to explain the differences between a car crash today and ten years ago.

The creative team working on the project went through the different phases, from coming up with the concept and selling it to the client until the actual launch of the experience.

One of the most difficult stages was convincing the client. Easier said than done. The speakers had to develop the prototypes so that clients could secure the budget (around $80,000 for this particular experience, they said). Thinking beyond the actual Oculus technology is also a must. A truly immersive experience should make people feel something. Details make it richer: customize the Oculus glasses, design the location, provide a dual experience that can be shared… Feeling something is more memorable than simply being told something.

Attention to detail at the Test Crash Dummy Simulation With Oculus Rift

A visit to GE’s BBQ Research Center

People is literally obsessed with BBQ in Texas. Everything smells like BBQ. You can eat BBQ everywhere. It is almost like SXSW equals BBQ at lunch time. And dinner. I also had it for brunch.

Left to right: Alexa Christon, Rodan Luo, me, Catrina Kraigwell, Sydney Lestrud and Jamie Braaten.

GE tapped into this pretty obvious obsession and created the GE’s BBQ Research Center. Mashable tells the whole story here. For me it was a great opportunity to see first hand how the GE team created this fun experience at SXSW that perfectly matched GE’s expertise in research and technology with the interest of the more than 50,000 SXSW attendees. BBQ tasted really good, the best I tried! And it also gave me the chance to meet with the GE colleagues in charge of this adventure.

My last session was with BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. During his session he talked about the impact that Buzzfeed stories are creating around the world: from Obama’s interview, to ‘get fit’ routines and the dress. But the key point he made was pretty revealing. Peretti pointed at how Buzzfeed content distribution model is actually based around pushing the content natively in each platform, instead of links distribution.

Until now the main point of content distribution was to drive visits to your site. But why complicating the process to users where they can experience the content first hand on social media?

Last stop: Listening Command Center

My last stop was at the 4th floor of the JW Marriot. A complete Listening Command Center. For real. Companies like Gatorade and Nestle have these complete set of real time data screens to monitor the conversation real time, address possible issues or jump into meaningful conversation with customers. Maybe one day, uh?