At the Crossroads of Media, Culture and Technology

Viral Video of the Week: First Kiss

While the Flip crew was busy covering all the shiny new tech stuff from SXSW, our Viral Video of the Week enjoyed a much-deserved vacation. We don’t really know where it went but when it came back it had a bright smile on its face, a new sparkle in its eyes and seemed one with the world. It’s almost as if it kissed a stranger and fell in love.

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Genuine Insights, Sweeping Predictions and Pure Promotion–Our Take-aways From SXSW Interactive 2014

sxswIn Alfred Hitchcocks 1959 classic “North by Northwest”, fugitive ad executive Roger Thornhill (a suave Cary Grant) says: “In the world of advertising, there’s no such thing as a lie. There’s only expedient exaggeration.”

South by Southwest (SXSW), the festival named after the Hitchcock movie, walks a similar fine line between sweeping prediction, genuine insight and outright promotion.

Of course, it’s also this (in no particular order): a giant Happy Hour with free booze available everywhere, a source of inspiration, a great way to re-learn how to stand in a line (SXSW veteran advice: never stand in line), a place of random meetings, and just plain fun.

For the third year in a row, Flip the Media covered the event through a whirlwind of panels, keynotes, parties and late night editing sessions. Here is what a few of our writers took away from the experience and what they think is hot in tech.

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Looking Back at SXSW Interactive 2014

SXSW was a feast of ideas, color – but most of all, people. This slide show reveals a fraction of the things we saw. All photos by the author.

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Our Last Day of SXSW Interactive Minus the 20 Minutes That Didn’t Exist

Something We Learned Today

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to make his city a hub for the tech industry. More and more businesses are recognizing that the Windy City is a great place to live because of its strong transportation system, affordable cost of living and vibrant arts and cultural scene, Emanuel said during his SXSW interview. He and Michelle Boone from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs talked to Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell about the plans to establish the city as a destination for creativity, innovation and the arts.

“We create the platform for you to develop jobs,” Emanuel said, addressing the tech sector. “We make the city hot enough, the talent you are all chasing now (will be here).”

The mayor said a thriving arts community is important for making a city a desirable place to live and work. Fun fact: His commitment to the arts was informed in part by his background as a ballet dancer.

Disappointment of the Day

A highly noticed communication breakdown occurred today when Twitter was out of commission for twenty minutes.


Best Meal of the Day

Wait, a cookie? Well, it’s not any old cookie. This cookie is made with cricket flour and it tastes delicious (really). Each one contains 5g of protein and a couple of them could be a complete breakfast. Bitty, the maker of this treat is one of many well-funded Silicon Valley start-ups trying to make insect food cool.

Cookie made of cricket flour

Itsy Bitsy Cookie. (Photo: Hanns-Peter Nagel)

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Anyone Can Be a Producer

You may know Dana Brunetti from his work producing “The Social Network” or more recently “House of Cards” but you may not know that he started as an assistant for Kevin Spacey. He claims he has built his career through learning by doing, trusting his intuition. He believes that “anyone can be an executive producer”.

Producing “House of Cards” is the perfect example of following intuition. He just knew that this exclusive Netflix series was going to be a game changer. When Spacey expressed initial skepticism Brunetti responded: “We’re doing this show. Trust me. I’ll explain it later.”

Dan Brunetti Quote Meme SXSW 2014 by Jenny Penny

(Graphic by Jenny Penny)

In a SXSW featured session “Are We All Producers Now?” Zuckerberg Media’s Randi Zuckerberg interviewed Brunetti on his career, artistic decisions, attention to social media and the content producing culture of today.

“Everyone has the ability to film and produce a video with their smart phone. It’s a fantastic time for content creators,” said Brunetti.
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Spontaneous Planning at SXSW

Disrupting the format of SXSW sessions

(Graphic: Jenny Burns)

My name is Cynthia Alice Andrews and I am a Spontaneous Planner.

Some of you may think that saying so is an oxymoron. Some of you may know exactly what I mean when I say that and others may have no idea what I am talking about.

So, what exactly does it mean to be a spontaneous planner? Rather than put it in my words, I took to the interwebz to see how others who identify as such explained it.

I found this quote online and thought it did a great job of defining this contradictory personality type:

“I don’t know if that makes sense. I love to be spontaneous, but then figure out how to make it the best situation possible.” – Jamie (The Red Riot)

In my mind, there are three steps in spontaneous planning:

1. Have an idea
2. Figure out the logistics
3. Make it happen

So, what does this have to do with SXSW?

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Day 4 Wrap-up: Unexpected Moments Make SXSW Special

Hidden Gem of The Day

Chelsey Delaney and Chris Trew.

Chelsey Delaney and Chris Trew. (Photo: Katya Yefimova)

With the Austin Convention Center serving as the hub for SXSW Interactive, it’s easy to overlook the events that happen away from the hustle and bustle. I’m glad I ventured off the beaten path to check out a workshop on humor and design. The class was limited to about 10 people, and I joined an eclectic group that included a physician, a marketer and a developer.

I’m not a designer, but I thought the workshop would help me learn how to bring humor into solving problems at work and at school. The instructors, Chelsey Delaney and Chris Trew, did just that: They showed me that doing improv is similar to how I interact with people at work.

I asked Delaney, a UX designer, and Trew, a comedian and improv teacher, what lessons everyone can learn from humor:

“Part of being a humorist is being OK with failing,” Delaney said. “Using humor makes you more creative and more excited about (what you working on).”

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Forging Connections With Art and Technology

Connection is the new digital currency. Brands, individuals and groups actively seek new ways to harness social platforms, art and technology to build relationships. Technological advances on the internet, and now on mobile, make ideas easily sharable. For many brands (and groups or individuals) art is the preferred method to receive and distribute information because people often form quick, emotional reactions. Combined with technology and its amazing idea-sharing opportunities, art is an ideal way build connection.


(Graphic: Jenny Burns)

 Connecting Through Art

How are brands driven by  artistic communities? In a SXSW Interactive session, #BrandsByArt, experts shared their experience about arts and community-centric platforms as a form of social connectivity and branding.

Social media allows people to share their reactions to current events in real time. Josh Karpf, Director of Social Marketing at Spotify shared social sharing trends he noticed on Spotify about important issues. Users are able to use Spotify to express their views through music and trends show popular opinion and reactions to cultural, political and natural events. For example, Spotify playlists reflect popular music, theme songs to popular films and even current news events. According to Karpf, people curated and shared playlists expressing opinion of the government shut-down last year.

The Humble #Hashtag and its Uses

As one of the largest photo-sharing services on the planet, Instagram has a thing or two to say about the intersection of art and connectivity. One popular but often misunderstood way to find like-minded folk is the humble hashtag. Unfortunatley  “[...] only ten percent of hashtags are actually useful. The other ninety percent are random,”  said Bailey Richardson, Community & Marketing Manager at Instagram.  #thismakessense

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