You may or may not have seen a bit of commentary since the annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas wrapped up in March so we thought we would give you a brief update in this newsletter from the Hatchlings who were on the ground there….
Firstly- what is SxSW (South by South West)?
Well, it consists of:
- 10 days
- 3 Tracks – Conference, Exhibition, Festival
- Interactive, Film, Music, Convergence, Art, Wellness, Trade, Virtual, Marketplace, Gaming & Comedy
- 85,000 registered delegates
- 350,000 people attend events
- 220+ event locations
- 2,000+ individual events
What this looked like for Stephen and Jack was more like:
- 6 days
- 43 conference sessions
- 180,000+ steps
- 15 hours of queuing
- 10 kilos of BBQ
- 200 chicken wings
- 300 beers
- …& a little bit of sleep in there somewhere…
We had been told that SxSW is like “trying to take a sip of water from the fire hydrant of the future”, and there were some telling themes namely:
- There is a shift from data & tech to humanity, diversity & empathy, with it a call to arms around creativity.
- We’re in an era of incredible connectivity, but our ability to communicate has never been poorer.
- Culture is the cornerstone of humanity (& business) & our ability to harness emotional intelligence is critical.
- Skills & tech are increasingly commoditised. It will be our ability to communicate, connect & understand that will become the single most important trade
Some key outtakes we are applying at Hatched:
- We’re on the right path – we will remain culture focused, people centric & emotionally connected.
- Be curious & knowledgeable in Data &Technology but understand these are simply the plumbing that should inform rather than dictate the magic that comes with creativity & insight.
- Approach Big Tech with caution- Hatched is there to navigate these murky waters.
- Thinking & Ideas remain as our key products.
- Service & people our biggest asset
Some deeper reading on the key themes is provided below and for those that want more, we have put together a whole deck to present to you and your team so please let us know if you would like to join us for a Lunch and Learn in the coming weeks by emailing email@example.com with the subject line SxSW and we will be in touch with further details soon!
Theme: Course Correction: Big Tech is not good for us.
Top line Outtakes:
- there was a clear sense this year of a move towards a course correction around Big Tech, where in the age of Trump, Brexit, Cambridge Analytica, Fake News and potential Russian hackers, data and big tech appear to not be as trustworthy as otherwise thoughts, and Big Tech (ie. Facebook, Google, Amazon etc) operating within some murky waters for commercial benefit. From politicians to people voting with their feet and leaving social channels, there is a movement towards something better which looks like Web 3.0. As Berners-Lee, Rushkoff and Ritson say, it’s time for better oversight and more holistic, longer term approach with a rule book already written before play starts, rather than making the rules up as we go which has seen implications rise significantly
Theme: Less Robots, More Humanity
Top line Outtakes:
- A huge shift away from the reliance of tech and embracing some of the creative magic which has help humanity get to the developed world we are now in the first place.
- This comes on the back of the previous theme (ie. data might not necessarily be trusted unless you own it), and while AI, VR, Gaming, Automation were all key streams, in the geo-political world we live in right now, the stress was on humanity, meaningfulness, purpose, inclusion, culture, and the individual changing the world was a massive part of the conference.
Theme: Data is everywhere, but who owns it..?
Top line Outtakes:
- Data is everywhere and we’re creating more and more of this every day, both intentionally and unnoticed.
- The IoT is inevitable to the mainstream, and Voice is just the start. We’re entering a world where air conditioning will understand by your actions that you might be thirsty, so will connect programmatically with advertisers (Bacardi example with ShowMi) to automatically recommend drinks to suit the moment.
- Your Google Home or Amazon Alexa might be able to hear a croaky voice, and measure how often you are sick. What does this mean to your health insurance premiums if either Amazon and Google get into Health Care (which is probable)?
- That DNA test you took to track your family tree? Sure- you now know that you are a relative to Genghis Khan, but what about your DNA? Who owns this? And if someone else owns your DNA, who then owns your body…? All these questions (and there are countless) are yet to be answered, and further questions are yet to be asked as the playbook is yet to be written…what we do know is that there is an arms race to own the data, where both private and government organisations are stockpiling the data, and we are yet to see where this goes…interesting times ahead..!
Theme: Building Trust in Distrustful times
Top line Outtakes:
- We have the lowest levels of trust we have ever had in government, media, etc. As an example, in 1950’s in the US- 64% trusted their government. Today this is a paltry 14%
- Companies are being urged to stand for something, and encouraged to shout their values to anyone who would listen by firstly stating them and then by living by them.
- We were presented with 3 ways to build trust:
- Infinite vs finite; Our brains like to live in the finite world in an era of choice, the value of curation skyrockets.1000awesomethings.com- 1m people reading it every month. Secret was the fact they had 1000 and will finish (ie finite). Examples of this in real world is CD Binder (much loved, knew what you were after vs Spotify, where no one knows what to play so relay on daily playlists (which means our music is being curated for us). Same with Harvey Norman (200 laptops for sale) vs Apple who has 6. In n Out (5 choices) vs Burger King (countless). “The anticipated joy of being stuck” is something that resonated with us!
- Human vs algorithm. In an era of bots we trust brains. We got a customer service lesson from the world’s best Uber driver here: https://www.fastcompany.com/90178599/7-customer-service-lessons-from-the-best-uber-driver-ever and arrived at the conclusion that Handshakes and smiles are becoming a scare resource. The trust displayed in machines vs humans was on show in a research study whereby a sample group was asked to buy stocks based on advice from a trusted stock picker vs an algorithm, and the good news is that the human won in both confidence and results, showing there is still time for us yet!
- Go all in/show all in. The more chips you push in, the more we buy your hand. Some references to this was the franchise of 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, who do that and only that…no nuggets, no onion rings, nothing else fancy- they are ALL IN, and as such have a loyal following and a great product and a lazy 1,500 stores around the US because of it. If you don’t go all in, you’re spread too thin. We were also reminded of Colgate releasing a Beef Lasagne in the ‘80’s…let’s leave it at that shall we…