I Met my Artificial Intelligence at SXSW and it was Broadcast on Meerkat

Home » I Met my Artificial Intelligence at SXSW and it was Broadcast on Meerkat

I never met my artificial intelligence at South By, as the locals call it, but I did get a glimpse of the future. Everything from driverless cars, wearable technology and medical devices, to 3-D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things were explored during the five-day South by South West Interactive (SXSWi) conference I recently attended in Austin, Texas.

With more than 35 concurrent sessions and presentations taking place every hour over five days, SXSWi is one of the largest digital and social events of the year. My goal at SXSWi was to participate in a variety of sessions to gain insights on the trends that are redefining how individuals and organizations interact, communicate and do business.

Here is a summary of some of the highlights of my five days at the conference.

Content Ignition

Mark Schaefer captivated and ignited the audience with his practical messages about increasing the reach of your content. According to Schaefer, content is the starting line — not the finish line. Our focus needs to shift from just writing content to ignition; finding ways to spread our content. Sometimes marketers think they need to spend more time making epic content, when in reality they need to spend more time connecting, engaging and building relationships with the niche audience that will help them spread their content.

[Tweet “Content is the starting line, not the finish line. #DGSXSW”]

After all, 70% of consumers likely to purchase based on friends’ social updates.

Sharing content with content marketing increases retention.

Sharing content increases retention.

People share content for three reasons:

  1. An expression of self-identity
  2. An act of generosity and kindness
  3. A symbol of love and support

Schaefer said the first step to getting people to share is to create a heroic brand through congruency, consistency and work ethic, service to others, and trust.

  1. Find an unsaturated niche.
  2. Choose an aggressive strategy based on keywords.
  3. Nurture an audience who ignites.
content code

6 Elements of Content Code

During his presentation, he provided some practical tips — his book sponsored by his friends at gShift is worth a read.

[Tweet “Shift your focus from writing content to finding ways to spread it. #DGSXSW”]

content marketing

The 3 keys to shock and awe in content marketing


The Future is Now

Although I didn’t meet my AI clone, I did get to hear the impressive Martine Rothblatt keynote address AI, Immortality and the Future of Selves.

The highest-paid female CEO in America has a list of accomplishments to make most of us feel like underachievers. Her talk about such concepts as xenotransplantation, artificial intelligence, transgenderism, pharmaceutical development, space exploration, robotics – and the ways in which technology can help extend human life, and love, captivated the large audience.

content marketing

Keynote by Martine Rothblatt at SXSW

In Rothblatt’s case, her belief that we are close to cyber consciousness is represented by “BINA48,” the cyber-conscious robot version of her real-life wife, Bina Rothblatt. I highly encourage you  to learn more about Martine.

Gary vs. Jack

Two heavyweights of “new” and “old” business shared their insights, opinions and experiences in the Jack Welch vs. Gary Vaynerchuck session on how to succeed in business.

In a series of questions posted to Twitter, the moderator Suzy Welch engaged the Giants of business in a conversation.

content marketing

Brawl in the Hall

Here are a few of the excerpts:

  1. Q) What’s the best thing your employees can say about you {as a boss/business owner}?

Jack Welch: “He really cares about me.” Welch also stressed the importance of bosses/managers ensuring their employees know exactly where they stand – ‘tell people 3-4 times a year’.

Gary Vaynerchuk: “That I [as a manager/boss] am prepared to adjust, that I’m always prepared for the worse and that I will be there to protect them”.

  1. Q) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given regarding business?

Gary Vaynerchuk: (from his father) “If you buy something, you keep it”…he went on to explain, that simply put this means ‘always stick to your word’

Jack Welch: “Be yourself/stay authentic…like who you are but change as you learn about yourself. Business is a game and the best team wins…your job is to build the best team”

To end the conversation, Suzy Welch asked the CEOs what their “key takeaways” would be from the conversation today. They stated:

  • Gary Vaynerchuk: “Self awareness and empathy. Start giving a f*$k about other people and they will put you in the right position.”
  • Jack Welch: “Care a lot about what you’re doing. Have a passion for it. Be authentic.”

My key takeaways were: have confidence, work hard and surround yourself with people that share your vision.

[Tweet “Have confidence, work hard & surround yourself with people who share your vision. #DGSXSW”]

Thinking Beyond Medical Devices

Just like in other parts of our lives, technology is fundamentally changing how we define and approach modern-day health care. I attended a few sessions dedicated to exploring many of these emerging healthcare technologies, including innovative medical devices, new drug development, unconventional marketing channels that establish partnerships with patients, advanced analytics, and social platforms to increase access.

content marketing

Thinking beyond medical devices

Medical advances are at the intersection of sport and technology, in the palm of our hand or in wearables, such as smart watches and other devices. Many of these new devices are able to monitor our health, our mood, or read our vital signs to determine whether we have enough energy or physical ability to participate in certain sports or a workout. The advances are very exciting but make you think of the potential impact of all your personal health data being shared with devices.

Your Heartbeat Tells me Everything

In a session on innovation, Ben Gaddis of T3 Innovation Labs talked about how your heart rate determines your mood. Using biometrics, new smartphones are now able to detect your heart rate and therefore, your mood. In the near future, your phone apps will be able to adjust their content based on biometrics.

Building Personal Relationships Face to Face and Online

Walking around SXSWi can sometimes feel like your Twitter stream has come to life as many of the people you follow or connect with on a daily basis are sitting next to you.

[Tweet “Walking around #SXSWi can sometimes feel like your Twitter stream has come to life. #DGSXSW”]


Your Twitter stream come to life at SXSWi.

Your Twitter stream come to life.

Despite the influx of technology into all aspects of our lives, and despite the fact we are Digital Giants, personal relationships continue to be the core of every interaction at SXSWi. Those human connections are what drives brands to work so hard to develop technology and create moments that reflect the human experience and the human touch.

Perhaps that is why Meerkat was the big story of SXSWi. The social media livestreaming video app allows anyone to instantly become a broadcaster: it’s a new tool to facilitate person-to-person interactions at scale. Within the time I’ve returned from SXSW, Twitter has already launched a rival service called Periscope… the battle for eyeballs begins.

[Tweet “Personal relationships: still the core of every interaction at #SXSW.”]

meerkat vs periscope

Meerkat Vs. Periscope

Taking Giant Steps in the Right Direction

There is so much more to share about SXSWi, and I encourage you to research some of the topics and discover other bloggers insights and observations.

The biggest takeaway for me after being at South By: the event and sessions confirmed to me that our clients are on the right path and Digital Giants is guiding them in the right direction.

Rescue dogs were sent out to help those with a dead battery.  Thanks @mophie

Rescue dogs were sent out to help those with a dead battery.


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