SXSW 2016: Day 5

17 Mar

The last day of Interactive. You kinda fight a sense of relief because your brain is so saturated with ideas and talks and smart people that you kind of need a break, but you are sad because do you really have to wait all year for SXSWi to come around again and be inspired? (No, but it’s definitely one of the big awesome places to be inspired).

Creating A Movement: SoulCycle

What better way to start the morning of the last day than to sit down with your Starbucks spinach feta egg white wrap and listen to the founders of Soul Cycle talk about how they built their brand?


It was more interesting than I anticipated. I LIKED them, but I was basing my initial impression about them on some snarky Gawker articles about SoulCycle being a cult, so…extra surprise. They started SoulCycle because they hated to exercise (natch) and were working in real estate and as a talent agent. They focus a lot on branding and experience, and the thing that really impressed me is they do not want to franchise, because they’re control freaks. So often a brand will franchise and then you never know what you’ll get as it grows and other people are in charge of customer experience but don’t have to follow all “the rules.” I like that they refuse. If I had a successful something that could franchise out and make me filthy rich, I don’t think I’d do it either.

“How Streaming Has Changed Listening”

This panel converged over the tech and the music part of the conference. Nothing totally shocking here and – NEWS ALERT: no one knows what to do about the new music industry – but some good stats. One of the panelists was from Bandcamp and he stated that on their service, CD sales (the disc kind) had actually gone up by 10% last year. And vinyl sales were up 40% (what up, hipsters!). People still do want physical product. Ultimately, the streaming world means more access to music for fans (good) and decreased revenue for musicians still (bad).


Zach Anner: The Art of Starting From Nothing

I had no idea who Zach was when I went to this panel, I just saw that he was a Youtuber and it was across the hall from the previous panel (laziness counts!). I was so glad I chose this one…Zach turned out to be one of the highlights of the conference for me. Check out his Youtube channel here. He played a lot of clips from his videos and explained how he started (basically, you just START). He also reiterated there should be no obstacle in your way if you want to create. It’s true. The tools to do film are dirt cheap at this point and so is editing software. Check out his amazing Workout Wednesday series (my favorite is here) and dive in. Truly a great inspiration.

Brian Solis – The Future of Brand, Tech & Business is Experience

The last panel. It was PACKED. I was hot. I couldn’t take one more note, but I was glad to just sit and listen. Brian is a guru whose latest book “explores the intersection of where business meets design to create engaging and meaningful experiences.” Sweet. Truthfully I had heard the terms “experience,” “personalization,” and “authenticity” so many times this week I was not sure I could comprehend them anymore, but that’s another blog post.

We wrapped it up with pancakes at Kerbey Lane and I spent yesterday sitting in silence thinking about things. And messing with the Google Cardboard VR headset, but that’s for a vlog post.

There is truly nothing better for my brain than immersing it in a conference like this…hearing people talk about topics I am working directly with, or even better – stumbling on a topic I know nothing about and having my mind blown. SXSW always offers a good balance of both. Now to start synthesizing. I think I need some sunlight for that.

Oh and I found Amy (who is actually working this conference and dealing with these crowds!) and we got free hats. Blue steel duck face.


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