SXSW 2017 – Diversity combined with passion and technology advancements are delivering the shiniest stars to follow

South By Southwest (SXSW) unites more than 30,000 attendees from over 80 countries, celebrating and helping creative people from the interactive, marketing, technology, film and music industries achieve their goals.

This was my fifth year attending SXSW, and it continues to prove to me that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and different people from different backgrounds come together.

South by in my mind remains the premier destination for creative inspiration. My previous SXSW blog posts can be accessed below;

2012 – My transmedia journal
2013 – The premier destination for creativity and discovery
2014 – There’s no physics in the number of things
2015 – Curiosity and emotion are driving the big ideas

SXSW 2017 like previous years had over 16,000 talks, panel sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, mentor sessions and a variety of networking opportunities to choose from.

The key is deciding well ahead of time what larger inspiration and meaning you intend to bring back. I find the best way to do achieve this is to reach out and follow the people coming to the event who you believe you can learn from. Turning up unprepared and making decisions on the day based on wacky click bait program titles can make your day feel very overwhelming and ultimately you are not going to get the best learning experience.

My SXSW 2017 schedule for the week can be found here.

Things I learned at SXSW 2017

Mix Reality over Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality story telling is starting to develop, but the headsets are still not fashionable enough…..yet.

You can’t go to SXSW and not spend some time in virtual reality (VR) as it was everywhere again this year and will be for many years to come.  Each year, the gathering of tech-film-music enthusiasts highlight virtual reality/augmented reality and now mixed reality technologies that seem to be on the brink of widespread use, but never quite get there was pushed along in 2017.

I still don’t know a single person who spends an hour a day in VR. So I tend to believe VR is currently suitable for gaming and general entertainment first but if used for the brand experience I think it’s best to develop stories in Mix Reality (MR) to enhance in-store, or real world events rather than a customer being at home using a VR brand experience. This will of course change as headsets improve.

This year, for the first time in its thirty years plus history, SXSW organizers created a “Virtual Cinema,” where VR/AR content creators could show off the latest innovations at the JW Marriott.

I liked the VR production from INITION, a London-based production company specializing in 360-degree and VR/AR. There were showcasing “Spatium,” a VR piece which celebrated the sculptural qualities of Philip Treacy a designer renowned for creating hats that appear to defy the possible. Maybe best known for his millinery creations for Madonna or Lady Gaga.

When seen from the front, Philip’s hat appears flat yet the more you explore, the more you find a more elaborate form. When struck with the light it appears to glow. These attributes are given scale to create a fantasy building of light and shadow where surfaces change as you navigate them.

In VR experience the hat becomes architecture where the limitations of the physical no longer apply, conjuring discovery and wonder. “Fantasy hats give you the possibility to dream,” said Philip Treacy.

Probably the best talk on VR, AR and Mixed Reality from Jake Lee-High an artist, creative technologist, and CEO of Future Colossal  based in NYC.  H is talk was titled Holens Magic Leap and Making the Mundane Magical and featured a number of Future Colossal immersive experiences produced for brands such as BMW, Showtime, JayZ, Warner Bros, Microsoft, and Citibank

He outlined some clear advantages for Mix Reality over VR. The main one is no isolation or unobstructed sight feeling safe to navigate your environment which makes it a much more human experience.

Directional speakers was also an important element and having the sound down to the ear so that you can hear the real world combined with augmented sounds.

The clear glass and being to see the real world was the most important reason why AR and Mix reality will grow as an industry must faster than VR over the coming twenty four months.

As for Mix Reality head sets there are many but the five I ried and thought the best at the momeht are listed below;

Microsoft Hololens is the best on the market, and I am a big fan of their gesture capabilities. It containing more computing power than the average laptop, no wires, external cameras, or phone or PC connection required, you can move freely and self-contained.

ODG R-9 powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip is cool. Like the Microsoft HoloLens, this head piece has six-degree-of-freedom tracking, so you can place digital items in real space instead of just slapping a flat overlay across the world. It’s expense at over $1,500US price but is headed in the right direction regarding a fashion piece.

Daqri is also a good device although a little ugly to look at. The Los Angeles-based startup Daqri originally developed with a specific demographic in mind—blue-collar workers. The Daqri Smart Helmet was developed to help make the lives of onsite engineers, construction workers, and technicians easier with an Android-powered hard hat, complete with an array of sensors.

Meta2 has great hand tracking support and very good field of view. While on the one hand, it’s far cheaper than HoloLens at $949 compared to $3,000. On the other, its images look less convincingly real, more like a projection than a solid object. It’s tethered to a computer, not self-contained which has big limitations.

Zapbox is an impressively low-cost option. The Google card box of Mix Reality. It was originally launched on Kickstarter and an affordable way to experience mixed reality and room-scale virtual reality using the power of your smartphone. It uses the phone camera pass through to display virtual objects on top of the real world, but even more impressive is that it uses a pair of handheld controllers that let you interactive with these virtual apparitions.

The biggest advantage for Mixed Reality are the practical applications that can be developed. It will grow in use and not be just be another advanced gaming console in my mind. Instead, it will add a whole new world of interactions, apps, games and experiences we have yet to imagine.

A hybrid of both AR and VR, Mixed Reality (MR) is far more advanced than Virtual Reality because it combines the use of several types of technologies including sensors, advanced optics, and next-gen computing power.

All of this technology bundled into a single device will provide the user with the capability to overlay augmented holographic digital content into your real-time space, creating scenarios that are unbelievably realistic and mind-blowing.

A few limitation of Mix Reality (as of now) is the field of view, and this needs to be addressed but the content I saw it didn’t bother me that much once you got used to it. Sunlight is a problem, as it doesn’t work outdoors to well. Processing and battery life and of course fashion the biggest issue that needs to resolved. The manufacture that brings a fashionable earwear peice, that links to your smarphone has a hand controler capability is going to super charge the industry.

But while there are, limitations the future is bright, especially with the faster wireless transmission on its way. When you experience Mix Reality on a 5G connection it means cloud-based process and rendering will be doing all the heavy lifting.

There were many Mix Reality examples at SXSW but still the best video on the topic is the Ted Talk done from Microsofts Hololens Creator Alex Kipman.

Digital off screens and into real world items are moving fast and becoming practical and fun experiences for creative ideas.

When you see digital tech beginning to integrate into real world items as well as becoming fashion wearable you can start to see how our digital lives are on the edge of another radical shift; new forms of technology are decoupling digital functionality from consumer electronics.

Connectivity and digital interaction are being integrated into those familiar objects from hats to clothing, furniture, cars, buildings – creating the opportunity for seamless, discrete interactions that reduce our reliance on any single device.

Google ATAP Technical Project Lead Ivan Poupyrev and Levi’s VP of Innovation Paul Dillinger talk Beyond the Screens: the Ubiquity of Connectivity spoke about moving beyond smart gadgets to a future when our entire world is intelligent and interactive.

They went deep into the Levis and Google partnership and what they learned developing the Project Jacquard platform.

Called the Commuter, which uses Google’s Jacquard technology to turn its denim fabric into a gesture-controlled canvas.

On the talk, Google and Levi’s revealed that the smart trucker jacket will arrive this Autumn in the USA for $350. The Commuter comes with a Bluetooth cuff that pairs with a smartphone to let you get directions, adjust the volume on your music or answer a phone call — all triggered by finger swipes on the jacket’s fabric. Some people said it was the Google Glass of jackets. I think it’s a much better attempt of focusing on fashion first over tech.

Another interesting talk on digtial in the real world items was “Making Music Physical Again” by Dr. Kate Stone from Novalia.

She is a creative that adds interactivity in the form of touch and Bluetooth to printed surfaces. Kate talked about being physical again, the fusion of physical and digital requires a focused design service skill set to create immersive interactive experiences.

Kate spoke about the power of physical print with a musical digital soul and went about sharing stories of these achievements and put forward a vision for the future of interactive experiences with everyday things.

For example, McDonald’s turned their placemats into music production tools, Bootsy Collins played bass on a paper note book and Budlight turned a wall in Brazos Street into a 50 ft long musical experience at SXSW all using her inventions.

The world’s first working DJ turntables made from a pizza box using grime DJ P Money and Rinse FM’s DJ Vectra. Despite being made mostly out of cardboard, the box features two decks, a cross-fader, pitch volumes, cue buttons and the ability to rewind music.

The playable DJ decks also sync via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone or laptop with DJ software such as Serato. Using conductive ink, users can mix, scratch and release their inner DJ by tapping and sliding their fingers over the controls.

To make your dreams you had as a child come true requires passion of course, but you also need to be one step ahead of today’s technology and consumer trends.

Fresh off the successes of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” director Gareth Edwards gave an SXSW keynote to discuss how he got his start in filmmaking. In a very powerful, funny, and above all inspiring talk, Edwards recounted, step by step, how he went from for-hire VFX artist to his awesome 2010 feature debut Monsters and from there into a galaxy far, far away.

As a kid, Gareth had a dream he wanted to join the Rebel Alliance and destroy the Death Star like the heroes in the movie, but soon learned that this was impossible. Or was it?

Zane Lowe, Creative Director of Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio, give a wonderful address at SXSW. A New Zealand-born radio DJ, Live DJ, record producer, and television presenter, Lowe is now the Creative Director and LA Anchor for Beats 1, Apple’s first free global radio station broadcasting 24/7 to over 100 countries.

Zane recapped his life, career and musical philosophy that was crisp, polished as well as a great example of how to do a talk aided by video stills and plenty of musical snippets.

Lowe told the packed room that he “never had a choice” about going into music industry; “It was my passion”. It may have been his passion but how he went from a kid in Auckland loving his first album from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ to the heights of the music industry was his ability to read the trends in technology, and now it impacted his industry of his career choice.

Cannes 2016 – Festival of Advertising and now Technology

Cannes Advertising Awards 2016It’s been ten years since I have attended the International Festival of Creativity, the Cannes Lions Festival.

Somethings are exactly the the same. The abundance of awards, drinking, dinners, parties and the networking events held on large yachts.

Dentsu Group companies (Dentsu Inc., Carat (London), 360i (New York), Dentsu Young & Rubicam (Tokyo) and Drill (Tokyo)) were awarded a total of thirty-one Lions (one Grand Prix, one Gold, twelve Silver, sixteen Bronze and one Product Design) at the 63rd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (June 18-25), Lions Health Festival (June 18-19), Lions Innovation Festival (June 21-22) and the inaugural Lions Entertainment Festival (June 23-24) held in Cannes, France.

The Dentsu Group Grand Prix Lion winner was “Life is electric” for Panasonic Corporation.

The insight for this work is very powerful. What if we could see electricity? It managed to use the power of design to change the perception of a product that has become a commodity, by bringing storytelling in—in every space. It creates a bridge between the digital tools and the analog world. A great piece of work.

Dentsu team with the Grand Prix Design Lion

Dentsu Inc: – Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Cyber:    Two Silver, one Bronze
Design:    One Grand Prix, one Gold, six Silver, one Bronze
Direct:    One Bronze
Film:    One Silver
Film Craft:    One Bronze
Media:    One Silver, one Bronze
Mobile:    One Silver, one Bronze
Outdoor:    Three Bronze
PR:    Two Bronze
Product Design:    One Product Design

Lions Health Festival
Pharma:    Three Bronze

Lions Innovation Festival
Creative Data:    One Silver, two Bronze

The three minute award entry show reel continues to drive what entities are awarded and what isn’t.

If you can’t tell a three minute video led story on why your work should be awarded, you have no chance of finding a jury judge interested, no matter how effective your results were for your client.

What is very different for me is how much Cannes has turned into a tech show. A Consumer Electronics Show crossed with a watered down SXSW festival.

I remember ten years ago Microsoft just starting to make a presence on the ad scene. Now it’s all about the big showy setup from Google, Facebook and Twitter and a thousand other tech venders attending all shouting for attention. Advertising has certainly transformed from a festival celebrating print, radio and film to an event all about digital advertising tech led solutions.

So many talks seem to be about promoting tech and the benefits of big data, virtual reality and audience demand generation platforms rather than a celebration on how a big strategic and creative idea can deliver brand impact and business growth.

What has also changed is how separated the creative and media agencies are in operation, focus and collaboration with each other. Creative agencies are now creating ideas with a no canvas approach but it often does not support the media agencies approach to an endless amount of platforms both online and offline to push the message. Too often the creative idea is not made for the media channel to amplify.

This is very apparent at the Cannes event itself.

Advertising messages are planted everywhere. Sure it’s a ad event but the ads themselves are not for client brands but rather have been purchased by tech ad vender solutions.

This means all the outdoor advertising is very average creative work. It is a very polluted ad environment as no brand is making an impact on the audience. It would seem every iconic building in Cannes has some type of tech vender ad message screaming out for attention.

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This to me is a miss opportunity. Cannes should be a celebration of beautiful brand client advertising rather than a place to showcase bad ad executions from partners and venders.
Sure I get the event is a money making exercise, but I find the work so bad and disturbing and such a  missed opportunity to program the event as showcase for the power of great advertising to our clients.

While the event is held over seven days I think that is too long to hold people’s attention.  You can feel very contraphopic within 24 hours of arriving as their are so many limited ad themes to speak about. There is so much overlapping talk on Big data, virtual reality, experience design being talked about without any real authority or case examples.

The event attempts to bring in other industries to pad out the ad talk. All the agencies tend to invite big name guests from the film, music and business industries to flesh out their points of view.

Over the last ten years I have elected to attend SXSW for my creative inspiration over Cannes, and I think based on this years experience it continues to be a wiser choice. There is much more diversity and authority in Austin over Cannes in how to grow brands and business using innovation.

As I was only six weeks into my new job as CDO in the Dentsu Aegis Network I found the timing of Cannes very convenient to meet up with colleagues from around the globe and receive a debrief on our network strategy and capabilities and our journey to 100% digital.

When not in meetings I attended the conference hall seeking out inspirational talks. One highlight was a conversation with Brian Eno and Dentsu Lab Tokyo on their project to explore whether machine intelligence (MI) can acquire the creativity that is innate to human beings. Brian hired Dentsu to work on his latest project called The Ship.

Brian Eno-talks-about-using-artificial-intelligence

I have always had a man crush on Eno the musician, producer, visual artist, creative thinker. I remember when I first heard U2’s The Unforgettable Fire when I was about 15. I was so amazed with the abstract sound on that album. It was so different to U2’s previous albums like War. I remember reading the album credits and seeing for the first time the names Brian Eno, Producer and Daniel Lanois, Sound Engineer. 

Eno changed how music was recorded. He mastered the multi track technique. His work with Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Ultravox were the soundtracks of my life. I studied in sound engineering and manipulation because of this man so it was great to meet him after the talk.

 

SXSW 2015 – Curiosity and Emotion are driving the Big Ideas

sxsw-2015

Every year SXSW in Austin becomes both a conference and a festival offering the unique convergence of emerging technologies, original music, film and television.

SXSW 2015 starts on March 15 and runs to March 22, with programming focuses on creativity, innovation and inspiration across various media industries. The Internet continues to change the business of media and marketing and the week’s goal is to foster creative thinking and professional growth alike.

SXSW is the premier destination for discovery in my mind and my fourth year attending didn’t disappoint me. My previous SXSW blog posts can be found here;

SXSW 2012 – My transmedia journal
SXSW 2013 – The premier destination for creativity and discovery
SXSW 2014 – There’s no physics in the number of things

Year after year, the event is a launching pad for new creative content and there were hundreds of new media presentations, music showcases and film screenings that with Austin opening some new hotels seem to spread the massive crowd to deliver a real world socially fuelled event platform that was both informative and entertaining.

large_jwstsxswnasawebbtelescopehttpflic.krpe1q3vr

Austin continues to serve as the perfect backdrop for SXSW, where the environment is perfect for career development amid the relaxed atmosphere.

Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving media field, and connections are made that remain strong long after the events’ conclusion.

The meeting of old SXSW friends and finding new ones allows you to test new learnings.  SXSW is alive instead of programmed and you feel ideas as much as think about them.

My SXSW 2015 schedule for the week can be found here. Below are my insights from what I experienced and took away.

Five things I learnt at SXSW 2015

1. Evolve your company structure and rules to maximise an ever-changing world so wisdom can come to your workforce

It seemed I was not the only one seeking out new ways of working in teams. What was interesting at SXSW was the number of USA government officials attended the conference than ever before. Between senators, congressmen and administrators, about 40 Washington influencers were on the ground. Everyone from New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) to Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) were speaking on panels and mingling with entrepreneurs. They were all learning about technology and bridging the gap between Washington, D.C. and innovation and the changes in community. Discovering techniques on how companies organise or create high performance teams to delivery creativity, results and innovation was top of mind.

Jedi Mind Tricks to Drive InnovationA couple of good examples of people thinking included Nicole Glaros, Partner, Techstars Ventures & Chief Product Officer at Techstars talk titled Jedi Mind Tricks for Entrepreneurs. Nicole has a master’s degree in sport psychology, and a background in helping athletes overcome obstacles.

Don’t fire employees after a major mistake, embrace them was a key theme on how to get innovation happening . Conscientious employees won’t make that same mistake again and will be more loyal to you because of how you treated them.

Furthermore, you won’t have released a newly wiser person into the workforce to get scooped up by the competition. “Your best person is the person who just screwed up,” she says, “When people fear for their job, they aren’t going to [take a risk].” By treating your employees with affection, you create camaraderie and collaboration. “Creating an environment where you can be vulnerable is a powerful thing to do,” Glaros says. No one will succeed until they feel comfortable admitting to failure.

One instructional talk was from Brian Robertson who left a stable job and founded Ternary Software, a start-up software company that became a laboratory for experiments designed to answer the question what gets in the way of people working together as effectively as possible? In the most efficient way possible?. He learnt a lot on this topic and found techniques to remove organisation obstacles.

Holacracy®

After a number of years on consulting on the topic he went on an founded Holacracy that is essentially a real-world-tested social technology for purposeful organisation. It radically changes how an organisation is structured, how decisions are made, and how power is distributed. 

Holacracy is a distributed authority system – a set of “rules of the game” that bake empowerment into the core of the organisation or team.

Unlike conventional top-down or progressive bottom-up approaches, it integrates the benefits of both without relying on parental heroic leaders. Everyone becomes a leader of their roles and a follower of others’, processing tensions with real authority and real responsibility, through dynamic governance and transparent operations. One of the larger companies that use Holacracy thinking is Zappos.

 

2. Wearables are in right now, at least when it comes to experimentation.

I’m sure it will take some time for the sector to find that right level of refinement, be it through insight or trial and error.

Intel views wearable technology as the new frontier of computing. The level of intimacy of wearable technology opens up a world of transformative experiences that is different from a smartphone. The devices on show in various trade halls are all aimed to enrich the users experience especially in fitness and health by providing data that can increase motivation, enhance training and ultimately improve performance.

This recognition is leading to some pretty interesting alliances between engineers, designers, marketing experts and sports scientists. The trend of “smart fabrics” where sensors are embedded directly into the fabric vs. existing on external devices is another example of where fitness-oriented wearables are headed. Wearables offer a level of intimacy and personalisation that cannot be matched by a smartphone, in addition to delivering more precise measurements by virtue of being closer to the body.

Tinitell the Kickstarter backed project, which is the brainchild of CEO and founder Mats Horn is essentially a phone that a child wears on his or her wrist, packing a week’s battery life (with 60 minutes talk-time), GPS and GSM connectivity, and a durable water resistant design. Very cool designs

Tinitell watch

Tinitell, a Swedish startup that makes a GPS tracking smart watch designed for kids, won the SXSW Accelerator Award for the wearables category.

3. Robots are now curating more and more content experiences but the speed is at the cost of craft.

Three years ago, media and advertising companies would say at SXSW they didn’t think it was possible to have robots or software write news articles and write ads. Now it would seem every single major news and media organisation will roll out at least one kind of automated product by the end of the year just to stay relevant.

Media Automation

Media Automation is on the increase

With mankind developing innovative ways to augment machine, what will happen to human journalists, human creative writing of any form if robots are introduced as writers more and more. Automation as theme at SXSW continues to gather speed and the biggest industries to be impacted is news media and advertising. Both for different reasons but both certainly impacted.

Machines are taking over. Programmatic, real-time bidding, automation and the finding of audience, the buying and selling of digital media is increasing but I didn’t feel it was making an impact for dollars spent yet. Over 70% of all digital advertising is now sold by one machine talking to another machine, and its growing more with every passing week. Publishers are desperately grasping onto business models that ignore old ethical boundaries and bend to media buyers will and in the process trade away their core value proposition to engage audiences.

Thank god for the experience killer creative content at MOFILM’s Industry mixer event.  Hosted by actor/director John Slattery, MOFILM’s legendary hospitality, stimulated and sate my appetite that branded advertising content is still very relevant and not one machine was in attendance.

4. The business of Sport Media is getting even bigger, louder and has no off season.

SXsports™ started in 2014 as a new convergence track of the annual event. The three-day, sports-focused programming features panel sessions, film screenings and meet ups. SXsports explores cultural impact and the human experience, tackles the future of sport in all its forms, and embraces entertainment and innovation.

Stadium Experiences

Consumer expectations and behaviours at events have changed

So many great panels but one I enjoyed a lot was Social Media Playbook: Activating Fans on Gameday, where they presented some case studies that explained how consumer expectations and behaviours at events have changed dramatically in the past five years– and how those expectations are being met at sporting events.

According  Brian Cheek, Director of Business Development at Postano and the other panelists, Wi-fi is now a requirement, fans check-in and order food with apps, and Instagram photos and selfless are the new proof that you attended a game at the actual stadium or arena. But key to it– the best part– is that they are using big screens in the venues to create the experience. It’s not about thousands of random posts. It’s about bringing all that together on huge digital screens to create the experience.

Virtual reality is a pipe dream no longer; the technology is here, and it's awesome.

Virtual reality is a pipe dream no longer; the technology is here, and it’s awesome.

Virtual and augmented reality took centre stage at this year’s SXSports where audience members were shown demonstrations on how the technology is being used in sports. A popular panel was The Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Sports with presenters Bob Bowman, President and CEO of MLB Advanced Media; Brent Dewar, Chief Operating Office of NASCAR and Rachel Nichols, Reporter for TNT/CNN. The discussion focused on the technology NASCAR and MLB have in place for their teams and fans. The biggest problem MLB must overcome is the pace of the game. Bowman says it is not realistic, they are looking for ways to eliminate the time between innings and pitches. He says viewers tuning in have a higher chance of seeing action if the pace of the game quickens. Bowman says the future of technology in baseball will include “mundane things” like being told which parking spaces are open, having tickets pop up on your phone as you enter the stadium, and being able to see which concessions have the smallest lines.

At the panel Acing the Sports Game with Oculus Rift, audience members were given cardboard cutouts with specialised lenses. They downloaded a Beyond Sports app on their phones and placed it in front of the cardboard cutouts. They were transported into a video game like soccer pitch. The panel members from Triple IT ran through plays where the audience members could see animated soccer figures running around them.

Second Screen Sport Experiences

Second Screen Sport Experiences

At the panel What’s in your Living Room? with presenters Jeff Beckham, Writer for Playbook/Wired, Mark Kramer, Head of Digital Technology at Pac-12 Networks, Spencer Hall, Editorial Director for Vox Media/SB Nation and William Mao, Head of College Sports Partnerships for YoutubeThe panel members focused on the transformation of television and how fans will be watching sports on TV in the near future. A good comments was “I think what I really want is the TV to know who I am,” Mark Kramer said. “I want it to know what I like, and for it to deliver linear TV to me.

We have this with Facebook where Facebook knows what you like and builds on that. We need the ability to personalise the entire TV experience: It can give you ads, it can give you offers, a number of incredible things.” Spencer said “People in sports want the shortest points to content and they don’t want the line around the fence, they will cut through the fence.”

5. Film is still the most inspiring and effective form of story telling. 

Thousands arrive in Austin, Texas, to attend the film festival component. While there is not as many distribution deals as at Sundance or Toronto, SXSW is starting to be a big launching pad for upcoming releases and focus for streaming on demand services.

 

Fresh off the debut season of his HBO comedy-drama “Togetherness,” the actor-director-producer and writer Mark Depluss delivered a rousing SXSW keynote about his successful indie experiences and his new Netflix deal. Worth a look when you have 45 minutes.

A few films that stood out were A Poem Is a Naked Person (24 Beats Per Second) a music-related documentary which was a unreleased 1974 feature by the late Director Les Blank about ’60s stellar session musician-turned-Me Decade headliner Leon Russell.

Lamb the novel by Bonnie Nadzam is a deeply uncomfortable drama inherently disturbing meditation on virtue and vice, by actor and director Ross Partridge, blurred lines between them that present themselves over the course of one 47-year-old man’s spur-of-the-moment camping trip with an 11-year-old girl he befriended in a burned-out Chicago parking lot. The film is as dangerously compelling and quietly terrifying as that premise suggests.

Steve Jobs Man in the Machine

Steve Jobs Man in the Machine

Another dark and reflective film was  Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine a documentary feature by Alex Gibney who is best know for his controversial Sundance film “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.”

His portrait of the Apple entrepreneur’s life and legacy is very confronting, brutal, mostly one-sided take on the late Steve Jobs. I am sure more will be said from Apple Executives over the coming weeks.

My favourite quote from the film sessions was from Brian Grazer the Academy Award–winning producer of A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Splash, Arrested Development, 24, 8 Mile, J. Edgar.  “The grey area between the question and the answer is where ideas are created.” The crux of Brian’s creativity stems from what he refers to as “curiosity conversations.” He meets with people who are experts in something other than show business. Subjects like politics, science, medicine, religion, and anything else is where he spends considerable time.

Conclusion: Get more curious and it’s OK to get emotional.

There is a genuine sense of discovery, inspiration and awe at SXSW like no other conference or festival in the world can create, and despite it being a hot mess of conflicting themes, brilliant innovation and over exuberance I think it works so well because it is all of these things.

My fourth year at SXSW I found the week fundamentally much more now an emotional experience as it is a high tech and creative one.  Thank you to everyone I met, the meetings, the talks and the gatherings and the long nights. SXSW does not ever seem to disappoint and I’m so lucky I was able to attend.

A big thanks must go to my employer Telstra for giving me a week out of the office to experience and learn.

On Fire ‘Pass on the Passion’ series produced by muru-D

maru

muru-D is the start-up accelerator backed by Telstra looking to support the very best digital talent that the Australasian region has to offer.

on fire™ series one ‘Pass on the passion’ was created and hosted by muru-D on April 15th, 2014 in Surry Hills Sydney.

This curated series hosted by Kylie Jaye was produced by Telstra Media and broadcast services from Chief Entertainment.

The series features a vast array of amazing mentors and startups, sharing their passion to stimulate and encourage everyone to do big and small things – every day.

Speakers for series one are;

Ann Parker, co – founder of muru D Start up Academy
Stuart Fox, Managing Director Artesian Capital
Chris Adams,  CEO founder Spondee
Audette Exel, Co- Founder, CEO Isis Group, NED Suncorp
Naomi Simson, Founder CEO Red Balloon
Richard Webb, Founder Red Ocean, Chairman & Founder Effective Measure
Mick Liubinskas, Mr Focus @ muru D & Founder Pollenizer

I was delighted with the day and much thanks goes to Kylie Jaye for producing the great event. It was a pleasure to close the day and thank all the speakers who donated their time. we look forward to doing more in the future.

Adam Good Telstra Media Muru D On Fire Series 1.

Adam Good Telstra Media Muru D On Fire Series 1.

We believe that whilst an idea is the kernel to innovation, it is passion that gives us the power, tenacity and energy to make those ideas real.

Passion gives purpose and meaning for us to dive deep and push beyond our comfort zone. Passion is the courage to ask ‘why not’ and to expect the extraordinary.

It may spark just one tiny change at a time but that spark leads to a fire that grows ideas into businesses, changes attitudes, improves lives and helps others be better in every way.

Full playlist of the day is below.

Ad Tech Australia

Ad Tech Australia

Australia’s #1 media and marketing conference is back!

Today the Sydney Hilton is packed enjoying a completely reshaped program from the ground up. This year Ad tech is focussed to better serve the needs and interests of Australia’s media and marketing industry.

It’s been exciting to be part of the event program as both an advisor and closing keynote speaker of day one.

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Here is my presentation.

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SXSW 2014 – There’s no physics in the number of things

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It’s my third year attending South by Southwest (SXSW) my favourite film, interactive and music conference hosted in Austin Texas.

No doubt SXSW has now become one of the most important cultural and economic incubators of the new millennium. Every March, more than 40,000 people, including a Who’s Who of innovative executives and entrepreneurs, flock to Austin for the ten-day festival. They debate the future of business and the Internet. They wheel and deal. They party. They wake up and do it all over again.

The event offers a unique convergence of emerging technologies, original music and independent films that foster’s the creative and professional growth of anybody who has a career in the communication industry.

My SXSW 2012 experience  was all about the transmedia learning I gained at the event.A year later at SXSW 2013 it was all about a week that demonstrated clearly to me, that the progression of technology is increasingly shrinking the lag time between what we can imagine and what we can create.

This year the conference has had a big focus tech safety and security. They also had a wonderful new sport stream where I was a considerable amount of time. But like previous years you learn to just go with the flow and always be looking up. My event schedule That outlined everything I attended can be found here,

From past experience you need to be very flexible with your daily plans and let each day take you on a creativity discovery based on the people you meet and the conversations that are had.

Some of my highlights on SXSW 2014 are listed below;

There was a massive turn out for the keynote Dr deGrasse Tyson who was amazing with some memorable quotes. “Science literacy is how much do you still wonder about the world around you. What is your state of curiosity?” or “I would encourage you to not become attached to the number of things. There’s no physics in the number of things.”

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I attended the Fast Company event of some of the original SXSW Interactive event coordinators giving the untold stories behind Twitter, Foursquare launches at SXSW as well as the famous keynote in 2008 from Mark Zuckerberg which defends into chaos as the audience takes over the twitter back channel. SXSW Interactive has certainly come a long way in a very short time.

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I also attended a talk with Ralph Steadman who I have always been a fan of his art, wit and satire.  One that I remember that know doubt I will use is ‘a good idea runs away with itself in case of a theft’ or ‘a mistake is an opportunity to do something else’.

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I attended the premier of Penny Dreadful the new John Logan TV series that starts on Show Time. It was chilling and makes Walking Dead look like a kids show.

I was invited for the second year in a row the MoFilm awards at the Driskhill Hotel. A great night and wonderful combination of wonderful T-Mex food and branded content. I love them both. I spent good amount of time with the AT&T group who are doing a lot of this branded film work. See the finalists here

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I attended the Beats Music party and I encourage those that are in the USA to download the Beats Music app and give the SXSW playlist a listen. Below is a photo of myself with Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers on the night. Currently Telstra distributes MOG in Australia which was acquired by Beats Electronics a year ago. Beats Executives gave insight into there exciting plans and roadmap for music streaming. I can’t say what was discussed but rest assured it is big news that will transform the way people experience music. Telstra is excited to work with such wonderful partners and look forward to launching a big music offer to our customers in 2015.

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I attended a Conversation with Jon Favreau the writer, actor, director, producer of the Swingers and big productions like Elf and Iron Man. He has an indie film here called Chef premiering here which I didn’t get to see yet. It was an inspiring talk about working in cross function and collaborative teams,

I spotted Google Glass approximately .000034 seconds on arriving in the conference halls. They really look stupid I have to say. No-one looks good wearing these.

On films I also saw the Speirig brothers new film called Predestination with Ethan Hawke. This is funded by Screen Australia so plenty of Aussie’s in the house. A riveting piece about time travel. Such good story tellers. An entrancingly strange time-travel saga that suggests a Philip K. Dick yarn by way of Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Middlesex,” or perhaps a feature-length mash-up of “Looper” and “Cloud Atlas,” Wonderful performance by Sarah Snook.

This is obviously only a fraction on what I attended and saw. On the last day I enjoyed a film called ‘Fort Tilden’. A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach. A great script, awesome dialogue and a worthy SXSW Grand Jury Prize winner.

It was a great week. I can’t wait for 2015.

 

Living Media at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

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This week I attended the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with another 85,000 other visitors from over 200 countries. It was my first time at the mobile industry’s premier event and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Mobile World Congress features more than 1,800 exhibiting companies showcasing cutting-edge products and services across 98,000 net square metres of exhibition and meeting room space. The four-day conference and exhibition was a wonderful time to meet with executives from the world’s largest and most influential mobile operators, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies.

The conference programme featured Mobile World Live keynotes from Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, and CEO, Facebook and Virginia Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM which gave the week a real software flavour.

I saw a number of flagship smartphone launches, several new wearable devices and some innovations from several car brands. This was cool but I wanted to go deeper and wider so I ventured out to Fira Montjuic which is outside the main halls from day three. Here I attended the Mobile Media Summit, HACKATHON and 4 Years From Now (4YFN), a mobile entrepreneurship and innovation event created by Mobile World Capital.

I heard talks and saw innovations that really brought to life where the mobile video traffic is going and what experiences are going to take up the expected growth of more than 75% year on year of mobile data.

My entire week was focused to learn more about the future digital multi screen media experiences, TV anywhere services and an end-to-end integrated platforms for service providers to engage deeper with customers. What I saw was the depth of new interactivity and multi-screen capabilities to deliver OTT video was staggering and seeing this all from a mobile first perspective gave a lot of insight to the future of media in general.

There are now so many more way consumers are using smartphones to work, live, and entertain. Mobiles are true rich media devices now. The increase in screen size, display quality, HD imaging capture and a clear momentum behind 4G is all pointing to come together to open to make rich content experiences on-the-go viable for end users.

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The demands and opportunities this places on service providers no doubt requires strong leadership in crafting strategies to combine fixed, to wireless, to LTE, and, in the future, 5G programs to match customer demands that build each year.

As a media guy I learnt through the lens of network and engineering professionals about the intersection of TV, media and telecoms and the strategies required to partner with broadcasters and cable operators around the world to make content available across any screen. The high quality video content on mobile devices that LTE Broadcast gives customers a new mobile media experience that is very exciting.

I was also wrapped that Telstra and partner Ericsson picked up an award for Pushing the Limits in mobile technology at the inaugural Telecoms.com Industry Awards at Barcelona for their work on LTE broadcast technology. In late 2013, Ericsson and Telstra conducted the world’s first LTE Broadcast session on a commercial LTE network, allowing the operator to send the same content simultaneously to a very large number of devices in a target area, achieving efficiencies not possible before.

This was very relevant and when I watched the keynote panel called The Battle for the Multiscreen Home, the discussions rested around three main areas: mobile as a “door to the internet”; mobile as a stand-alone product opportunity; and mobile as part of new integrated experiences, which also span across linear TV and the wider web.

The term ‘living media’ was heard a number of times during the week best explained as the seamless integration of linear programming, second and third-screen content, viewer and cast interactions, and broader social media. This will obviously raise the bar for content providers and advertisers as it requires a shift to start rethinking the use of television and media not only from a consumer perspective, but also that more television services are landing on mobile and PC devices, and not on actual television sets as we go forward.

Wearable-Tech

Another interesting trend I saw was that smartphone seems to be developing in increments now. Despite two big announcements from Sony (the Z2) and Samsung (the S5) I didn’t see anything amazing. What was a clear trend was cheaper smartphones and really all phones now are internet enabled making the rush to connect the next billion people globally as a major focus of so many organisations, including Facebook.

The facebook acquisition of WhatApp, the over the top mobile messaging platform was a constant side  discussion at Mobile World Congress. Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance this year was significant on a number of levels and the showdown between app-builders and networks about ownership of messaging as the call experience on smartphones is going to be fascinating thing to watch over the coming years.

While there may have not been much new in smartphone hardware, it is not true of software, where the battle to own the mobile user experience being hotly contested.

Android is becoming ever-more dominant as a platform for the ‘internet of things’ and it is a testament to the growth of Google’s platform they are in everything. No doubt Google will continue to be increasingly important part of the digital marketing tech and advertising universe for many years to come.

There are now true signs, research and example that mobiles could yet shape how we choose to watch TV, and of course, how we experience TV advertising. This brings me to my main observation of the week. The sheer volume of advertiser and marketers attending Mobile World Congress from outside the telco industry this year underlined the increasing influence mobile has on the advertising industry.

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Coca-Cola brought 15 marketers out to Barcelona, Unilever had a strong marketing contingent and there was even a whole separate fringe show at MWC’s old venue via the Mobile Media Summit.

There were speakers from the likes of Twitter, the BBC and Walmart. Announcements made from such brands at the show demonstrated how mobile is shifting from becoming a minor part of the media plan to a major part of the business process. The mobile ad strategy is shifting from pop-ups and banners to more native and immersive forms of marketing.

The first ever showing of the Mobile Media Summit at Barcelona was significant and congrats to my good friend Paran Johar for putting on such a great show. The key trend of the event was that brands are using mobile as part of a native advertising approach. While the idea of programmatic and real time marketing is also on the rise, native is an ideal strategy to connect with consumers.

If you also add in the growing appetite for wearable technology and devices expected to grow by 947 per cent by 2017, big brands are watching and learning. Mobile marketing is going to continue to challenge everyone but one thing is for sure it is here to stay.

My key take aways from the conference is companies and brands need to focus on creating a totally customer centred operating experience that integrates living media, secure utility, seamless multi screen and if possible some wearable product innovations.