11 Mar 2014

All posts from 11 Mar 2014


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)

Mind-blowing Morsel of the Day

Featured in the “Visually Turning Complexity into Clarity” session this real time map of wind patterns in the US blew us away!

Tip of the Day

Erica Kochi, who works at the UNICEF Innovation Lab, had this piece of advice for nonprofit leaders and anyone else whose mission is to bring new ideas to life: Get together regularly to talk about what didn’t work. UNICEF Innovation team holds Fail Fridays, a dedicated time to discuss and learn from mistakes.

Celebrity Sighting of the Day

Neil Young, of course, who was at SXSW to promote Pono, his new music device and download store.

Quote of the Day

Neil Young on Stage at SXSW

Neil Young brought the house to its feet merely by walking on stage, not to sing, but to promote Pono. (Photo: Carolyn Higgins)

Why would a famous artist like Young be willing to pour so much of his energy into the production side of the business? Because, as he says, “Listening to mp3 music is like making a Xerox of the Mona Lisa.”

His response to the claim that albums were passé foists of “filler” songs on consumers who really only prefer one or two songs on an album: “I’ve yet to meet the artist who says ‘I’ll write two really good songs and eight pieces of crap.”

Outfit of the Day

This woman had the striking high-tech style. Great pink hair!

The well-dressed Interactive attendee (Photo: Carolyn Higgins)

This woman had the presence and dignity to carry off this striking tech look.

What else can we say about the comfortable, chic black outfit and ultrafashionable boots? We might not want to walk miles in those heels, but they looked great.

And the hair color was the final, imaginative touch.


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

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.

Brunetti encouraged aspiring producers to trust their gut, make movies (or content) that they would want to see and be mindful to the interests of their audience. During the casting process, he often looks at the actor’s followers on social media and is mindful of their niche community and how this compliments the film or show. He also made sure that everyone in the audience understood that star power isn’t everything. “You don’t have to have a star to make a movie; you just have to have a good story.”

Another common topic at the session was the decision to release the entire season of “House of Cards”. Two percent of all U.S. Netflix subscribers watched the entire season in one weekend following the release. When asked about how this affects the “water-cooler conversation” around a series and spoiler alerts, Burnetti responded by comparing the season to a good book expecting people to discuss the series as they would discuss a novel. He went on to say that a friend “spoiling the plot” is kind of a jerk. Zuckerberg then offered an interesting term “streamcheating” to the discussion.  She described this as “cheating on your significant other by watching episodes in the stream without them.”

Randi Zuckerberg SXSW 2014 Meme by Jenny Penny

(Graphic by Jenny Penny)

With any content there will be “lovers and haters”. Zuckerberg asked how Brunetti responds to “the haters”. Brunetti said “I like retweeting haters sometimes because it’s kind of funny […] If you can’t take what the [jerks] online say then this isn’t the job for you.” Consumers and users have a stronger voice today than ever before through social media and the internet. Reviews can make or break a product. Zuckerberg spoke to to this concept, saying “We are living in a world where our audiences now have audiences.”

The take-aways from this session were:

1. Anyone can be a producer

2. Trust your intuition

2. Know your audience

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Anyone Can Be a Producer

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?

Yesterday, I had a conversation via Twitter with SXSW attendee Luke Robert Mason and he challenged me to “prove” myself as a spontaneous planner, SXSW style, and spontaneously plan a micro-session on spontaneous planning. As someone who never turns down a challenge, I accepted.

Photo Mar 10, 5 36 10 PM

Spontaneous? Yes. But to pull something like this off, you need to plan it out and that’s where I am now. Make sure you check back.

I immediately got to work and started to figure out how I could make it happen. First, I contacted my editor, told her about my plan and got the OK to work on this idea.

Second, I asked for a bit of help from fellow Flipster @JennyMBurns. Together, she and I hit the pavement and started pitching my talk to bars in the area asking that they give me thirty minutes and a microphone. Unfortunately, there weren’t any takers… But I didn’t give up and decided that I didn’t need a mic (I AM LOUD) and I didn’t really need permission, I could just go to a location, set up stand on a chair and start talking.

Third, I need to write, so we headed to Little Woodrow’s, got to work and outlined what my talk would look like.


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Spontaneous Planning at SXSW