Jumping into SXSW

Updates from the whirlwind days at SXSW. More to come!!  

Beyond Work/Life: Changing the Debate & Making Change – Anne-Marie Slaughter led a lively discussion on the balance women and men must create in their lives. Key sound bites: 

o Family comes first. Work doesn’t come second. They must come together. 

o The conversation must surround caregivers and breadwinners, not framed as men vs. women. Caregivers must be valued and know that it is possible to handle personal obligations even with a significant workload. 

o For millennials a larger paycheck isn’t the most important aspect of their career. They want a balance between money and meaning.  

o Re: Yahoo’s latest announcement – do they understand what public relations is? 

People are far more productive when allowed to have a flexible schedule. 

o If you’re caught up on email, your priorities are not in the right place. 

o Following the panel, I spoke with Susan Isenberg, Global Health Chair and GWEN Steering Committee member. We discussed her take on the panel and how the lessons can be brought to GWEN: link to video

Insights about Innovation: David Sacks Fireside Chat – David Sacks, COO of Yammer, offered his four tips when launching a new product – all relevant when a team addresses a new client launch. 

o Hook – what’s going to interest consumers? 

o Market need – are you solving a problem? 

o Distribution strategy – how will people find out about you? Is there a potential viral component to help spread the news? 

o Network effect – how do you create it so others won’t copy you? 

Elon Musk Keynote – Elon Musk spoke about his work with SpaceX, but as a PR pro the Tesla NY Times review was top of mind. The only thing Musk would have done differently was making the rebuttal he sent to the NY Times public editor to make the situation more clear. Other than that, he stood his ground explaining he readily accepts critical reviews – what he does not accept is false reviews. The focus of the keynote was Musk’s ongoing quest to send people to Mars – the audience was even treated to the first viewing of his company Space X’s reusable rocket. Musk explained the US is a nation of explorers and people must understand it’s possible to expand space exploration. It’s not a question of will, it’s a question of way. When asked to share his biggest mistake, Musk said putting too much focus on a person’s talent versus their personality. In order to have a good partnership, colleagues must have a good heart, end of story. 

Life on the Line: Tweeting the Drug War – There are thousands of people missing in Mexico – social media gives a face to the missing. Tweeters share photos and information about people who have disappeared in Mexico. Mexico has the most reporter deaths of any country – many are threatened for covering the drug war, but politicians do not step in. Citizen reporters are the only way to communicate and keep communities safe (#reynosafollow).  

What’s so funny about innovation? Like brands, stand-up comedians must consistently deliver fresh thinking for their audiences to relate with. Ultimately, will the community jump or board or not appreciate what’s put in front of them? Former Digital Director of The Onion Baratunde Thurston joins as a presenter and with Paul Valerio of Method Inc., a research-based company. 

o Know your audience through research, then ignore their advice.

o Data does not replace insight. Insight is the bottom line that provides innovation. 

o Keep it fresh. 

o Develop your own point of view. 

o Don’t expect everyone to get it. 

o You can’t test your way to a decision. We may be killing potential great ideas because we judge too quickly or just follow the crowd. 

o Overall, Thurston explained that competitive analysis can be reframed. Approach instead as what are the possibilities – what collaboration can come from this? 


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