STATE OF AMERICA
Al Gore & Sean Parker Discuss Hacking Politics & Call For An Occupy Democracy Movement Online – Former Vice President Al Gore and online entrepreneur Sean Parker gave an overflow crowd at SXSW a pep talk Monday on how the political system needed to be ‘hacked’. The men discussed what they said was the intrusion of big business into the democratic process, and their hopes for the Internet to take power away from the political industry. Parker is setting things in motion by investing in a series of start-ups that aim to fill that void: Causes, which enables people to create movements in support of social causes; NationBuilder, which gives office-seekers a low-cost means to do grass-roots organizing; and Votizen, which helps politically active people plumb their social networks for like-minded voters.
BRAVE NEW CONSUMER
Users (Not Consumers) Are The New Growth Engine – Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, discussed his new book, Users Not Consumers, at a SXSW panel this past week. His talk focused on explaining the difference between users vs. consumers and why they are a brand’s new customer. Users, which may or may not be consumers of a brand, are everyone who interacts with a company through digital channels. When someone uses Facebook, they’re a Facebook user. Checking the weather on a phone? Then that person is a user of The Weather Channel. The prominence of digital media and tech in a person’s life is causing every brand to have more users than customers. These users in total are more influential to the company than those relative few who have actually paid for its products and services.
GroupMe, Last Year’s SXSW Breakout Start Up, This Year’s Brand Partnership Star – Thanks to Twitter, digital media pundits spend all year making predictions about what technology will break through at the following SXSW. In 2011, GroupMe won on the “buzzmeter” for its group messaging technology. It quickly went on to capitalize on the buzz by partnering with marketers and allowing brands to create groups. These partnerships give companies access to the real-life networks GroupMe users build on the texting platform. Despite being less than two years old, GroupMe is no longer a startup trying to get noticed at SXSW. They are now on panels with big brands giving advice to young startups on how to do it right.
Why You Should Start Doodling Now – What’s more overwhelming than all the information learned at SXSW? Trying to take notes and remembering everything learned. The SXSW panel Shut Up & Draw brought a brilliant solution to this problem. Apparently, doodling is the mind’s way of ensuring that there is enough cognitive stimulation to stay focused and remain engaged in an information exchange. Doodling, sketching and drawing is the mind’s way of reflecting information back to itself, allowing people to grasp it more efficiently. Until a person can see something, in many ways they can’t really know it at all.
Start Doodling Here
ON THE RADAR
Know This: Ogilvy Notes is a series of visual summaries of the biggest and best keynotes and panels at SXSW. If you didn’t catch the conference this year, or if you’re just getting back, make sure you check out this site to stay on top of emerging trends.
Try This App: The most buzzed about startup at SXSW 2012 is a location-aware iPhone app based on social discovery. Highlight aims to transform how people meet by alerting users when they are physically near people with whom they share a connection such as mutual friends, similar interests, or the same hometown.