Breakfast Taco Day 3: Scooter party, too intelligent houses and why innovation can only happen outside

Howdy from Austin! 👋

Every year at the SXSW there is this one thing for which the conference will be the breakthrough. That used to be Twitter, a few years ago it was Meerkat (Who remembers?) — and this year we have an impressive live example of how a whole profession is disrupted. And that’s the rickshaw driver’s.

Rickshaw riders had a very bearable sidebusiness during the SXSW, since the roads are often too congested for Uber anyway and most of the time it is just too far to walk. And now the professional bikers have become superfluous overnight. Now Austin uses electric scooters. It’s the perfect means of transport for the conference: you don’t have to walk yourself, but it’s as manoeuvrable as walking. You will not be stuck in a traffic jam and it’s fast to the next hotel.

Our alumni Melissa (Plantura) and Philipp (Upspeak) “discovered” the scooters first. At breakfast they raved about how easy it is— and promptly the three of us scootted 20 minutes into town from the Airbnb this morning. The scooters are so much fun and are so easy to use with code scanning and driving off that I have already tried all four brands today: Bird, Jump (by Uber), Lime and Lyft.

Today our last startup has arrived in Austin, so our travel group is complete and I would like to introduce the second momentum of the Media Innovation Mansion:

Julia & Bernhard — Kontextlab

Julia “I just have to finish these designs” Köberlein and Bernhard *know everything about everything* Scholz, founder of Mindmap-Startup Kontextlab (Batch #1 at Media Lab).

Mustafa — Kerngedanke

From Batch #4: Melissa “I’m still in the time zone of Beijing” Raupach, content manager of the digital garden magazine Plantura and Philipp “I have to get Tim Ferriss for Upspeak!” Wallinger, founder of the podcast community app Upspeak.

Aljoscha — Luminovo

From our current Batch #5: Mustafa “I’m in the Uber between two airports, but I’m sure I’ll be there soon”. Isik, founder of the Social-Redaktions-CMS Kerngedanke, in addition Aljoscha *prefers-working-on-the-sofa-with-his-MacBook-over-breakfast-buffet* von Bismarck, Head of Business Development at the Machine-Learning-Startup for picture content Luminovo.

🔮 #MediaTrends

I also don’t know when to learn that you shouldn’t go to journalism sessions at the SXSW. Almost as expected, “What’s next in News” with CNN, the New York Times and Buzzfeed has brought nothing new to light. Sorry for this recommendation, I promise improvement. However, there was an issue of the (?) printed Buzzfeed (?). It was excellent for an inverted world photo, but unfortunately not the highlight of the day.

Much more exciting was the session on the Corporate Innovation Playbook. Three innovation managers from large companies philosophized about how to get fit for the future — and the cooperation with start-ups came up surprisingly often. My heart was beating a little faster, because I really think that startups and corporates can be so much better if the work together and not each of them alone. And at Media Lab Bayern I always do so much to bring the two together.

The three most important success factors when working with startups:

1. Being open with your own challenges: 
Only if you talk about your challenges the startups know what they can come up with, says Thaman from P&G Ventures. In the Media Lab, for example, we have just started a project to collect the challenges of the media companies so that we can better match startups, topics and talents. (If you would like to support us in this and tell us about your challenges, please do not hesitate to contact us!)

2. Learn from each other: 
The company can learn something from the startup as well as the other way around. For example, for two years P&G has only supported a startup with advice and space, without receiving any shares or licenses.

3. Outsourcing innovation from the company:
It’s often the culture that slows down the ability to innovate. Comcast has had the best experience of quartering ten of its own employees ten miles from the office, hiring 200 new employees, giving them time to build an innovative culture — and then integrating them into the old company. That’s the only way they can convince other colleagues to do things differently.

Interestingly, we hear something similar from our intrapreneurship program we offer for media houses. Working on a new project in the new team at Media Lab Bayern for just a few days outside the usual environment brings an incredible amount of rethinking familiar processes.

👩‍💻 #TechThatChangesTheWorld

After the 7 very obvious trends yesterday I was a little skeptical whether Amy Webb will be as good as last year. After all, this was also the annual reprint of her emerging Tech Trend Report. But: You can have a look at Amy twice.

This year she has noticed 30% more trends than last year, a total of 315. Why that many? Because there has been a great leap forward in many technologies — and more and more technologies are becoming important for an industry. For example, why should Walmart focus on genome editing? Because the DNA of plants can also be altered. This changes the entire food supply chain from, for example, indoor plant factories. Amazon has this trend in mind — and can make Walmart completely superfluous via the supply chain to the end customer.

Amy has selected two trend clusters from all 315:

1.😲 Privacy is Dead
According to Webb, the companies’ data collection frenzy will also extend to biodata in the future. The shopping cart can measure the temperature and the heartbeat, Alexa can tell from a voice whether we are coughing or angry. The question that arises is: Who actually owns these biometric data?
The optimistic scenario for this trend: All data collection is transparent, we no longer need credit cards or passwords, because we are simply recognized on the basis of our biodata. How convenient! Unfortunately, this is only 10% likely. According to Webb, 50% of the companies are consolidating and a few have our data without it being possible to switch from one provider to another. On the other hand, the disaster scenario is 40% likely: companies are actively working against data protection, we have no idea where our biometric data is, rich people can buy protection, everyone else has to live with being read.

2.🏡 Your home is way smarter than you think it is 
Alexas’ sales are impressively high. Soon there will not only be smart speakers talking to us, but also sockets, televisions, ovens and microwaves. Why should a microwave be operated with Alexa? Exciting explanation from Webb: Currently, a popcorn manufacturer has no data at all after delivery to the supermarket. But when I tell Alexa to heat the popcorn, Amazon knows when I want popcorn, how much, and via voice print who warmed up the popcorn.
Webb gives the devastating forecast that 70% of the disaster scenario will occur: We live in an Apple, Google or Amazon Home that thinks for us. In which the microwave is connected to the Fitbit and decides that popcorn is not good for us. And the washing machine says that it doesn’t want to wash the jeans right now because there’s drought and you should save water.

Sounds like a lot of future? That’s true. But last year Amy Webb announced “Voice Prints” as a trend and this year a car will be launched in China that can only be opened with a faceprint instead of a key. 
And what does all this have to do with the media industry? The Walmart example is actually pretty smart. The more technology changes society, the more media is affected. Especially the Smart Home trend and the talking devices offer so many possibilities for interaction with entertainment and journalism that we should finally look for more suitable applications for Alexa & Co.

And one thing can also be learned from the large companies: In the future, whoever has the data will win. And Amazon in particular does not shy away from collecting data wherever possible. Media companies still have the status of having some data about the behavior of their users, but not knowing what to do with it at all. So if you want to survive, the best thing to do now is to find out which data could be used to improve which media products and how.

Oh, by the way: Why AI is not a trend? “Because AI is in everything I’ve been talking about for an hour anyway,” says Amy Webb about this mega-meta trend.

💡 #CrazyIdea

And then there was the woman today who almost killed Jeff Bezos. Ann Hiatt worked as a consultant for Bezos and Eric Schmidt of Google and chatted on the SXSW how she once organized a helicopter flight for Bezos and then got the call that the helicopter crashed. After 2 months on the job. 
She called a crisis meeting of the board, called all the hospitals — and when she found Bezos in the sixth hospital, he only told her: “You probably work very well under stress”.

“Grit” is what she describes as a core success factor. Bite through, stay tuned. To have the mindset to be able to learn everything if you only work hard. Her key learnings from 15 years with the two CEOs:

  • If there’s no finish line, you can’t win. You should always communicate very precisely to the team what the goal is, let them run the marathon — and then reward them with free time. This makes them much happier and more loyal than money, as the article Time for Happiness describes.
  • Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Everyone is happier in their comfort zone, but they don’t really achieve anything either. Eric Schmidt’s mantra is: “If possible say yes.” I’ve known this sentence for quite some time and it’s the reason why I often stand on any of the speaker stages, am super excited and always ask myself why I said yes again. In the vast majority of cases, however, things have gone well so far — and it has driven me forward.
  • Institutionalizing Grit: Share a vision and show your colleagues how their work can contribute to this vision. Goals are not the same as achievable tasks, goals are bigger. This is the only way to really take a big step forward when it comes to innovation.

In this context, I can also highly recommend the principle of “Vivid Vision”, which I tried for the first time this year. You can read more about the concept where you imagine your company three years in the future (with all the goals that seem unattainable at first) here.


Aljoscha from our current AI startup Luminovo threw himself into the AI talks today and learned: It’s even harder to bring ethics and AI together than he thought. And this despite the fact that Alyosha has been working with AI for years. Because even if you take out the personalization of the data, it is still possible for good data scientists to de-anonymize time zones and other metadata. Another exciting aspect in this context is that some AI experiments are currently not even published as open source because it is too dangerous.

💥 #MustSeeInAustin

Guys, drive Scooter. Really. It makes you so happy! 
And if you get hungry while standing in line, here’s a pro tip: Uber Eats also delivers to the Convention Center session lines, seen yesterday by Rainer Hehmann.

Our Favourite Sessions for Sunday

11:00–12:00: AI and the Future of Journalism. This panel will once again focus specifically on the impact of AI on journalism, and we cannot recommend it enough. AI is THE topic at SXSW 2019 — and then it will be discussed by four great women from New York University, The Intercept, the Washington Post and Quartz.

11:00–13:00: Conversational Design Sprint. When Alexa, Google Home and Co. increasingly replace or complement mouse and keyboard as interaction methods with a computer, user interfaces obviously have to change. In this workshop, Wally Brill and Cathy Pearl from Google want to find out together with the participants what such new interfaces could look like.

12:30–13:30: Women are Building the Brands We’ve Always Wanted. Advertising is confronted with the same problems and upheavals as other media sectors. One solution for brands could be to simply employ more women at last. Because they have a huge positive influence on brand marketing, as four marketing experts want to prove in this session.

12:30–13:30: Every Tech Brand Has an R&D Mission. What Works? Every tech company that’s a big fan of itself is now working with its own incubators, labs or intrapreneurs. What do you have to do to make sure that you don’t just stick to beautiful buzzwords, but also create sustainable innovation? Speakers from Slack, Adobe, Eventbrite and InVision report.

14:00–15:00: Roger McNamee with Nicholas Thompson. Mark Zuckerberg’s mentor debates with the editor-in-chief of Wired about the status and future of Facebook — this is not only exciting for media makers who work with the social network. Every politician, even every democrat here, should listen, because it should also be about the role Facebook plays for society in general.

15:30–16:30: SXSW Pitch: Entertainment and Content Technology. At the SXSW Pitch Early Stage Startups get the prominent South-By platform to present their solutions. In this case: Five startups dealing with entertainment and content. A must for us media startuppers, of course ;)

15:30–16:30: AI and the Future of Storytelling. No, robots will not completely replace journalists and other storytellers. Nevertheless, algorithms that create texts or music and art are getting better and better. This session will focus on what this means for the future of storytelling, in whatever medium.

Like what we are doing? Join us for our Media Startup Night @SXSW in Austin on Monday!