Well, here we are in a very wet, Austin, Texas for the start of South By South West Interactive Festival.  We decided to document our favourite moments with a few daily blogs highlighting what we’ve learnt and experienced at this years event.

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Let’s start by explaining a bit about SXSW with this great quote:

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With so many amazing events going on, it was hard to decide where to start, we ultimately decided to ease ourselves into the festivities with a speech by a couple of London based UX experts called Neil Dawson (AnalogFolk) and Cristina Vigano (Cyber-Duck). Their speech spoke about ‘Dark Times for Dark Patterns,’ highlighting how brands and companies are using UX for evil (to trick us into doing things that we dont necessarily want to.) Some examples they used were LinkedIn, RyanAir, Walmart and Sports Direct. It was a very Interesting talk and a great way start to our first day at SXSW.

Next we wanted to see, Short-Form Film making: Stars of Socia Media, but sadly it was full.
So we were stuck with our plan B…. President Obama, who was the key note speaker of the day. @POTOS wanted to talk about how the US is starting to come up with new platforms, ideas and approaches to solve some of the big problems they face today. As you would expect, he was charming, smart and funny.

He said that the US Government procurement software was built for buying boots and pencils not for building software.  (A bit like a few multi-nationals I have dealt with!)  So he created a US Digital Services SWAT team as a mechanism for driving nimble, innovation & solutions inside of government.

Next was a panel discussion on ‘Innovative Ways Brands Using Data-Driven Marketing.’  One interesting point made by the panel was that really big data is still just small data, that needs to be broken down into meaningful segments to make truly useful.  However the important development was that clever brands were now using to data to prove or disprove the hypothesis.

The panel felt that we need to spend more time developing real, effective insight rather than just managing the large volume of data we collected these days. It’s about bringing the brand world and the data world together. Interesting this is very much Digital Annexe’s view (which is good to know).

It was also mentioned about the dangers of bad retargeting a subject that we recently blogged about recently.

At the same time, our Creative Director, Darren Groucutt, went to se The Rise of the Visual Strategist.

The session started by saying that new careers are being generated as our wold changes and that we all need to be learners and careers are being carved out now, that can’t necessarily be taught. We need to creating value for images, with stories behind photographs. Mobile resolution is far greater than digital revolution, mobile had a dramatic change.

Darren’s take out was that we  have to be mindful and think of people how digest content and imagery. The consumer mind is expanding every day so we shouldn’t delivery imagery in the usual/traditional way. Think about delivering content in a way that people expect.

Tonight we are off to the Great Britain House Opening Night Reception organised by UK Trade & Industry.  It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

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