From the moment my flight touched down in Austin for South by Southwest last Thursday, it has been a nonstop bigger-than-ever year of brands, start-ups, celebrities, and geeks roaming the streets. The buzz is all about who is getting funding, who is the next big thing, and how the world will change because of the digital revolution we are all a part of.
But there are also discussions that aren’t being blogged and retweeted with quite the same fervor. There are quieter conversations by about the world beyond this weekend. About what any of these ideas and new t-shirt clad 20-something CEOs will actually be able to do outside nurturing biosphere of SXSW.
I was reminded of Jerry Maguire and his passionate plea to his sports agency as he struggled with his newfound aspiration to do something more meaningful. “This moment will be the ground floor of something real and fun and inspiring and true in this godforsaken business and we will do it together! Who’s coming with me besides …”Flipper” here?” Can we create something beyond the constant buzz and drone of new, better, best that comes out of SXSW? Something that lasts beyond a tech press article and the flurry of retweets that it is sure to inspire.
Recently I spoke on a panel about the future of technology in the world of tourism and travel with Del Ross from Intercontinental Hotel Group. In the session, Del spoke about his fear that we may be on the cusp of seeing a massive amount of people “Going Amish.” As I took that thought to my peers the past few days, some of the big brands and established corporations I work with have shared some of the same fears. With a new “revolutionary” company launching on a weekly, or here at SXSW, hourly basis, there are so many opportunities for advertisers and content creators to evaluate, they’re barely finding the time to form an opinion, much less make a strategic brand decision.
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