As I scanned the thousands (millions?) of tweets being published every nano second on Twitter, one struck me as being incredibly true. Jeremiah Owyang, Chief Catalyst and Founder of CrowdCompanies.com said, and I quote, “SXSW is the physical manifestation of Twitter: chaotic, fragmented discussions, endless energy.” It is SO true. Although the fragmented discussions part doesn’t always apply.
Organized chaos with a purpose. And endless energy. I started off yesterday at an insightful panel about women as bosses and women in comedy by none other than the fabulous Mindy Kaling. The panel was moderated by the quirky but likable Anne Fulenwider, Editor-In-Chief of Marie Claire magazine. They bantered back and forth for a while before Mindy brought on some cast members from her show, The Mindy Project. They had the audience in stitches for a full hour as we laughed along with their antedotes about the show’s writing experiences, what it’s like to work for Mindy and how their dynamic makes the experience worth it. Major takeaway from this panel: The hustle gets you to places you never thought you could go and you cannot allow the opinions of others to shape your own beliefs. Noted.
Next stop was the Mashable House, which is a must-do on the list of any Millenial SXSW attendee. #HolyShrimp! I met Grumpy Cat! See photo below:
My advice to anyone considering going to SXSW Interactive in the future is to pick one or two non-negotiables each day and don’t let anyone talk you out of attending these. You will meet people who are doing cool things and see tweets promoting free food all over the city, but sticking to a favorite session or talk will pay off in the end. For me, this was the Yahoo Tech Talk between Yahoo Tech Editor and former New York Times Editor, David Pogue, and Co-Founder/CEO of Kickstarter, Yancey Strickler. It’s energizing and inspiring to listen to someone who built a wildly successful company purely based on the fact that there needs to be more good in the world and money should not be the sole motivator of financially backing a good idea. To put it in perspective, backing a Kickstarter project gives you no cut of the earned rewards, but people continue to give to projects because of the excitement of being involved in something that could possibly shape the future. When pressed on this issue, Strickler responded, “You don’t invest in your children because you want to get a cut of all their future earnings, you do it because you believe in them.” He nailed it.
Next I headed to Secrets Behind Addictive Storytelling, which had an all-star lineup of major players in storytelling:
- Bob DeBitetto, Pres, Brand Strategy, Business Dev & A&E Studios
- Joanna Coles, Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine
- Jonathan Perelman, GM & Sr VP of BuzzFeed
- Terry Wood. Pres, Unscripted & Original Syndication of One Three Media/a Hearst/Mark Burnett Company
- Troy Young, Pres of Hearst Magazines Digital Media
We heard from the panelists on what it truly takes to create addicting content. Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, knows a thing or two about what draws an audience in. It comes down to having a unique twist on an everyday topic along with characters who are compelling. SVP of Video for Buzzfeed, Jonathan Perelman, says you need to make sure your content is applicable and shareable. Buzzfeed is known for their HIGHLY shareable content, and he let us in on the secret that you need to look at rate of sharing as a metric also, not just shares. Rate of sharing tells you from the get go if you have quality content. He showed us a video in which Buzzfeed partnered with Purina for a Tidy Cat commercial. As a piece of branded content, I was very impressed. It was a seamless partnership, it was funny and I felt the message wasn’t lost among the humor. I would have shared it with my friends.
We ended our day with none other than MashBash, the most epic of SXSW events. A three-story party at The Ranch, MashBash was a place for people who wanted to kick back, have a few drinks, meet some cool people and dance to an amazing DJ as a toast to their last night at SXSW Interactive. Hit after hit had us making friends with everyone on the dance floor and I kid you not, I gave out more business cards at the party than I did the rest of my weekend. There is no wasted time at South By!
I eagerly anticipate the upcoming panels today and I will be sad to pack up and head up I-35 to Dallas. It’s been quite a whirlwind.
Back to Twitter I go so you can share in the last few experiences!