The first full day of SXSW is behind us and has only left me wanting more! Friday started at Austin Java with the Agency Entourage team as we fueled with caffeine, muffins and migas. We made a gameplan for where we’d start the day and by 10:30, we were off. My first session was at 11 a.m. but as I suspected, it filled up so I was off to “FYI Managers: People Don’t Want to Work at Home.” A core conversation session with Lisa
Ross, VP, HR, Ask.com (formerly known as AskJeeves.com). I quickly made a new friend as we charged up before the session. SXSW Tip: If you’re within 5 feet of someone, you should probably introduce yourself – meeting new people is the best part of SXSW (besides seeing Andy Cohen but we’ll get to that).
Ross conducted an informative and engaging session as attendees chimed in and shared their office environment and how it works (or doesn’t work) for them. Another SXSW Tip: Check what the session hashtag is before you go in and follow the conversation of the people around you.
We first discussed the pros and cons and working remotely as well as working in the office. Did you know: 88% of U.S. companies offer working from home as a perk! What’s most important is to take company size into account when approaching the working at home option as well as culture and accountability. Developing a protocol and communicating the expectations right away is imperative if your employees have the choice of working from home. What employees truly want is to be in an environment that enables them to work smarter and more efficiently, Ross said repeatedly throughout the session.
When the session wrapped, I headed to the convention center to regroup with my teammates. Luckily they had staked out a spot at the PayPal Social Media Lounge, which had plugs, tables, popcorn, goody bags and refreshments aplenty. It was the perfect place to take a quick break, chat with new friends and discuss our #DallasOnTheMap efforts.
After productively lounging and grabbing a bite, Jonathan, Michael and I headed to our next session: “Millennials as Supervisors: Strategies for Success.” This session was at the top of my list being that I am A. A Millennial and B. A supervisor. Jennifer H. Selke, Educational Psychologist from U.C. Berkeley, specializes in managing the Millennial workforce and proved to be the perfect fit for presenting this topic due to the fact that she runs a large summer camp and considers herself to be a “Millennial expert.”
“Work has changed,” Selke said as she began her presentation. The old way has been authority and rules but we’ve now shifted to the new way: empowerment, individualization and the ability to make change. Selke then gave her strategies for success: Age diversity, growth & development, engagement, strengths-based management, coaching, communication skills and after hours work.
The challenge, Selke said, can be instilling flexibility and structure as well as perfecting the life and work balance. Supervisors have the ability to make an impact when they invest their time and efforts. Selke ended her presentation with a fitting quote from Katharine Graham: “To love what you do and feel that it matters– how could anything be more fun?” Agreed!
It was then time to book it back to the convention center for “Super Fandom in the Digital Age” with the one and only Andy Cohen, YouTube stars Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley plus Ze Frank, Executive VP of Video at Buzzfeed.
This was by far the best session of my day. Stephanie and I snagged incredible seats to experience the hilarious conversation between the speakers – all of whom are doing incredible things when it comes to TV, YouTube and social content. Andy took questions from the audience and kept the laughs going as they discussed GIFs, Buzzfeed quizzes, Real Housewives intros and the importance of collaboration. While I was most excited to be 2 yards away from Andy Cohen, I really enjoyed hearing from Ze Frank. His perspective on “viral” social content was incredibly insightful; he addressed the major factors he considers when creating content, the first being identity: “Does the piece of content represent a part of your identity better than you could talk about it or does it represent a part of someone else’s identity in a way that you can give them the content to show you recognize that part of their identity?”
After recovering from our “Fangirl” moment as Stephanie would say, we grabbed a quick bite at Manuel’s (highly recommend) and headed to Moody Theater for the Vox Media + Umbel Media Party featuring Local Natives, one of my all-time favorite bands. Needless to say, they put on an incredible show; this was my fourth time to see them and they get better and better each time. The crowd was so enthusiastic; the band even said they felt like they were playing in their hometown although they’re from Los Angeles. I loved being around so many people who love their music as much as I do and I’m glad we were able to squeeze in some live music although we won’t be staying for SXSW Music next week.
And that my friends, is a wrap. If you made it this far, thanks for sticking around. I had an incredible day and I’m more than ready for what’s to come during the rest of my time here while we put #DallasOnTheMap. To follow the AE team, make sure @AgencyEntourage is in your feed as well as @starbetter, @trillmike, @jonathandfw, @bleerandolph and @hfwood.