Author Archives: Megan McIlroy
Goodby Silverstein and Partners assembled an all-star panel at the Driskill Hotel Sunday night in Austin, “So When the Hell Do You Sleep,” but the real meat of this packed session was how a group of uber-achievers create, invest, manage and generally take the world by storm.
Hosted by Jeff Goodby, Co-founder and Co- chairman of GSP, the panel included: Paul Bennett, CCO of Ideo; Damian Kulash, lead singer of OK Go; Ivan Askwith, Sr. Director of Digital Media for Lucas Films; Aileen Lee, partner, KPCB; Bing Gordon, partner, KPCB; and Livia Tortella, Co-President and COO of Warner Brothers.
So how does one become massively successful? Practice the 4Cs:
Collaboration: All agreed collaboration is the key to creating great work and great organizations. Said Bennett, “the number one skill we seek in talent is collaboration. If someone says we before I, that’s what we look for.” Lee pointed out that smart people sharing ideas in conversations can be even more valuable than degrees, “it’s about being in these Petri dishes.”
Confidence: Over-achievers do in fact experience pangs of self-doubt – Askwith dubbed it “healthy neurosis–” but part of their success comes from comfort with failure. Goodby summed it up: “Creativity is about being confident and fearful at the same time.”
Conviction: Trust your gut. OK Go, a band credited with helping to reinvent traditional music industry business models — not to mention music video aesthetics –releases video content they like, even if it garners less-than-favorable feedback from executives and internet commenters. Lee cited regret over not listening to her own gut when she had the opportunity to invest in white-hot mobile payment app Square but passed because she was counseled against it.
Cool: “The reason SXSW works is because you don’t go to work for a week, you hang out with people, drink with them and just chill,” Kulash said. Sometimes you have to take the pressure off and relax– ever notice how your best ideas come in the shower? Last night’s session ended with an 8-minute acoustic set from Kulash and his band OK Go. A small, intimate show in a historic Austin hotel — what’s cooler than that?
DGC reporting live from day 2 at SXSWi 2013! The festival is in full gear, with early to mid-morning panels so packed lines were snaked around buildings and one-in, one-out policies were being enforced. We did manage to make a few sessions that boosted big names and big brands. Among them:
Brand Fans, the New Brand Marketers: Moderated by Mashable’s Todd Wasserman and featuring Facebook Creative Strategist Kevin Knight, PepsiCo’s Global Head of Digital Shiv Singh, and Frito-Lay’s Sr. Director of Brand Marketing Jen Saenz, this panel covered the rise of crowdsourcing, its merits, and how it’s disrupting traditional marketer/agency relationships.
PepsiCo has crowdsourced a number of brand initiatives, including Do Us A Flavor, a flavor naming and defining contest for Lay’s, and Crash the Super Bowl, a contest for user-generated commercials for Doritos.
Why crowdsource? It’s a way to engage consumers with a brand in a personal matter on their own terms, Saenz said. What’s more, at a time when consumers have their own media channels in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it’s a natural way to extend reach and drive the all-powerful personal stamp of approval for a brand, Singh said. Wasserman asked if crowdsourcing – with its focus on the wisdom of crowds — lessens the need for ad agencies and marketing skills. Knight replied that great creative agencies makes strong emotional connections between consumers and brands, so the best ones will be able to use crowsourcing as a tool to make even better marketing.
Insights about Innovation: A “Fireside chat” featuring Mahalo.com CEO and Founder Jason Calacanis interviewing Yammer Founder and CEO David Sacks (also the former Chief Operating Officer of PayPal). This wide-ranging discussion covered Sacks’ views on the four big players in tech and what he looks for when funding a startup.
Sacks said he only wants to invest in companies that will overhaul an industry – his latest investment, Houzz, is an app for remodeling homes – and that the first question he asks of new products is: does it promote a behavior I can see consumers engaging in? When asked about copycat products and services in the tech world, he quoted the famous Picasso saying “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal,” and said that one of the greatest flaws in a product managers is excessive pride.
And lastly, a little Page Six-style gossip: SXSWi is teeming with celebrities. So far, our team has spotted New Girl’s Jake Johannsen, Two and a Half Men’s Chuck Lorre, Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley, Matthew Just Keep Livin’ McConaughey and one of this DGC’ers personal heroes: David Carr of the New York Times. Signing off for now …
Is it time to ditch the concept of a “general market” agency? This was one of the hot topics at the 2011 Latin Vision Summit featuring Alain Groenendaal, CEO of Wing. Alain agrees that given the changing nature of the U.S. population, it may be time to eliminate the “general market” mind frame, because it perpetuates outdated thinking that no longer reflects the reality of the American consumer. Find out Alain’s other key takeways from Latin Vision in this video interview with DGC.