Viral Video: Ellen on Bic for Her
I didn’t know Gary Vaynerchuck (@garyvee) but this entrepreneur/author/CEO of Vaynerchuck media really knows how to amp up a crowd. He jumped right into an energetic Q&A-session with questions submitted by the audience via Twitter. One surprising – and slightly weird – insight turned out the be the fact that apparently almost a third of the very large audience was ready to surgically implant their smartphone. The weirdest (and funniest) moment, however, came when the crowd demanded to know from the sign interpreter on stage how she translated Gary’s frequent use of “fuck”. She promptly showed the audience the finger.
Bio-engineering, if you believe Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab, and Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo. As technology and nature become more integrated, understanding and manipulating biological entities will be more than a hot skill – it will be an essential one.
Paying $6 for a mediocre latte in the Austin Convention Center and being informed snootily that “This isn’t a coffee shop, you know.” Yes, that did come through.
Go to a Japanese nursing home and you might see elderly people hugging a fluffy white baby seal. This is not a stuffed animal, it’s a robot that responds to petting and sounds – and can show emotions. Paro (that’s its name) is highly successful in calming dementia patients and has become a valuable therapeutic tool.
Paro is one of many smart objects designed to not only do a specific task but do it in a way that fulfills our emotional need. Jennifer Dunnam, Senior Interaction Designer at frog is researching this accelerating trend and presented a variety of new products that cater to our “softer side” at short SXSW talk (check slide show below). “What makes us human is our emotional intelligence and these devices with their personalized output can directly influence our behavior,” she said.
As nerdy cousin SXSW Edu gathers its papers in a well-worn backpack and heads home, SXSW Interactive is putting on its sunglasses and starting to roll. It’s getting warm in Austin.
For the 21st time, this Texas city is rolling out the hospitality for what is billed as an “incubator” for nascent technologies and digital creativity. The brightest minds in the world will converge here to share and learn. Industry leaders are looking to attract talent and to show their stuff to an informed audience.
It may be more correctly described as a blender than an incubator, given the international participation. “You mean you’re really not coming to the Lean UX session?” asked a sleekly styled young man from Melbourne earlier. “Aren’t you interested in user design?” I am, most certainly, but there are stories to write and ever-increasing throngs of people to talk to.
The Austin Convention Center is buzzing as the hipsters and the would-be hipsters descend and the first sessions begin. You’ll be seeing more about that later in today’s coverage. For many, though, the first hours of the conference are about figuring out a game plan and making contacts. There is much to do, with meet-ups, networking sessions, workshops, and a startup village. Oh yes, and the endless parties.
For someone who has never flown a plane, Anita Verna Crofts has guided a lot of people in their quest for flight. How can someone who herself has never flown a plane be a flight instructor?
“I teach people to take off with their ideas,” said Crofts during her talk here today in Austin during the final day of the SXSW Edu conference. Her five-class series, “Leadership through Story and Communities: Creativity and the Digital Age” (COMM 536) is a core requirement for graduate students in the UW’s Communication Leadership program this winter quarter. The full-day Saturday classes are modelled on an executive training framework, she added, but there are important differences.
It’s about creating a space – both physically and mentally – that facilitates the community and the creativity that it takes for students to exceed expectations, said Crofts. Community is an underlying thread that runs through every facet of the class, Crofts told the audience this morning.
Creating community includes such details as the media-friendly room where the day-long classes unfold: the layout of the space, the technology wired into the stations in the room, and the type and orientation of the furniture. Students face each other across round tables that encourage discussion and de-emphasize the presence of the instructor as a constant focus of attention. They are able to share visuals directly from their laptops on to the central screens that are mounted on every group table, allowing them to share ideas and examples as well as to view the instructor-led material. Tables are also equipped with microphones so that even a large group can easily hear across the room.
Food is a core ingredient of the community-building process, Crofts said. Several of the guest speakers supply lunch, and many of these foods represent international culinary traditions. Students, for example, encouraged one speaker to open a Burmese restaurant after that cuisine comprised one of the class lunches. Crofts herself is a devotee of pie, which she bakes for friends and colleagues. “I’ve been a food blogger [and pie maker] for years, so using food to build community is natural for me,” she said.
Students also contribute to a class playlist and their selections are played at key times of the day. Crofts finds that music is both a way to share inspiration and to connect.
Call it Spring Break for Geeks, call it Hipster Homecoming, call it what you will – South by Southwest Interactive (from here on out: SXSW) is coming and for the third year in a row, Flip the Media will be there to cover it. Running from March 7-11, our team of five will bring you the best of the panels, presentations and parties from Austin’s annual art and media extravaganza.
On the blog we’ll have posts on the highlights of the day, insights, analysis and daily wrap-ups. But SXSW is vast and ever-changing, so make sure to check our Facebook page and Twitter feed throughout the day for shorter updates, quotes and images.
We’ll do our best to cover the wide world of SXSW but it’s very likely we miss something you are interested in. Let us know! Leave comments, tweet us up, hit the Facebook–do what you need to do to get in touch with us but please share your opinion. We’d love to hear from you.
What can you expect to hear from us? Check what our five writers hope to see at SXSW 2014.
It’s really happening; my living room is liberally scattered with warmer-weather clothing, electronic devices, camera gear, and what looks sadly like a very inadequate suitcase, capacity-wise. Yes, I’m heading off to that great Southwest modern-day – ultra modern-day – adventure: South by Southwest (SXSW).
Our Flip team has spent months working out logistics and planning our schedules, and now it’s time to step onto the roller coaster. The all-but impossible task of planning my schedule is done. Even as I research my chosen topics, I know that unexpected things are ahead and I’ll be going with that weird and fabulous flow that is SXSW.
Walking around the Mobile World Congress (MWC) last week in Barcelona, I couldn’t decide whether I was at a mobile telecom show, a car show, a medical device show or a health and fitness expo. Turns out I attended all the above given how mobility is transforming consumer touching industries.
Given the scale of the event (85,000+ attendees, 1,700 exhibitors, eight exhibit halls), the yearly gathering of all things mobile yielded products and services ranging from the useful to the useless. In the “useful” category, the FiLIP calls itself the world’s first “smart locator” and phone for children aged 5-11. It’s a combination GPS tracker worn on the wrist plus a phone that lets kids dial their parents via a single button. More to my taste is Brew Bot, which uses sensor technology to track how I’m brewing my favorite beer. Pick a type of beer, follow the instructions and let your smartphone prompt you when and how to add ingredients. But then there was the Oral-B Smartseries toothbrush that connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone to measure how much you brush and let you know of “problem areas”. Definitely a conversation and it certainly gives the term “Bluetooth” a whole different meaning.
But the example of the connected toothbrush highlights a general theme: connectivity has leaked out of mobile telecommunications to turn cars, appliances, clothes, and a host of other physical objects into interactive devices. I saw applications that ranged from the useful to the banal to the downright creepy. Right now, technologists are driving the bus as we are in early days. However, a consistent thread I picked up in conversations is that technologists recognize that the next stage of mobility won’t be a feature/function dialogue with the consumer. It will pivot on how we communicate the benefits and the trade-offs inherent in a truly connected environment–a task for communicators able to tell stories and engage communities.
As one might expect, conference speakers batted around a slew of numbers about worldwide mobile device penetration, network speeds, spending and the like. However, the figure on everyone’s lips was the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook versus $2.91 billion paid for Motorola by Lenovo. If there was any single figure that epitomized the shift in value in the mobile ecosystem, it was this one.
I will admit that I don’t know much about you. But I do know that you made records when you started racing in IndyCar and NASCAR, sports historically dominated by men. And you have done remarkably well. You are an inspiration to a whole generation of NASCAR fans and women everywhere, but your latest endorsement, well, it’s not so inspirational.
I commute to work. I spend about an hour in the car each way (give or take depending on traffic) four days a week, which means that I’m listening to a whole lot of radio. And imagine my surprise when I heard your latest ad for Ideal Image, a laser hair removal chain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to live on the Internet, but let me refresh your memory with this paraphrase:
Noise that resembles driving fast in a race car
Male voice: Danica, we need you to come in for maintenance.
Danica: No need, I’m great. My skin is smooth and amazing.