2000 Year Old Technology at a Tech Conference
Day 3 of SXSW had two highlights: the trade show floor and a hip hop podcast. The trade show floor at SXSW is pretty amazing. It is heavily focused on showcasing tech — both brand new ideas and improvements on existing technology. But it is also international and socially conscious and fun. Given all of that, my very favorite booth was from the paper and packaging association. It was a booth made entirely out of cardboard boxes. It had interactive activities and cool experiences, and in the words of one guy at the booth, “It’s pretty amazing that the coolest booth at SXSW is showcasing a 2000 year old technology.”
The second highlight was attending the recording of a podcast called It’s The Real. This is a podcast hosted by two white Jewish brothers from Brooklyn who interview rap stars. The stories told by the rappers they interviewed were fascinating and unexpected. One of the rap artists had been forced to change his name due to a legal dispute, and he discussed how he rebranded himself. He told a great story about trying to get in touch with an influential music producer on Twitter by direct messaging him, but he got no response.
So he secured the logins for about 50 of his friends, loaded them on Tweetdeck and began to inundate this producer with tweets about how great this up and coming rapper way, and how he needed to hear him. After not too long, the producer reached out to him directly and said they should work together.
Just a great story about the power of social media and someone savvy enough to use it to market himself.
Day 3 really highlighted diversity, not just of people and stories, but the diversity of technology and how even paper is technologically cool.
Expressing Your Business Through Humor (Tread with Caution)
Whether you’re still discovering the meaning of memes (they’re all over Facebook here, here and here or you consider yourself a human meme generator, you probably didn’t know just how lucrative the business of humor has become.
I waited in line half an hour to make sure I got into the packed session @FuckJerry and The Business of Hilarious Content.
Two unexpected lessons I learned: First, while FUCKJERRY began as a single social media account to throw shade (for lack of a better millennial phrase) at Jerry Seinfeld, the humorous channel grew millions of followers and the 4 you see on stage came together to create a company under Jerry Studios. What evolved next was adding 21+ of their own accounts to manage and earning profit media buying and partnering with companies like Domino’s.
While not every company can tread the line of entertainment bordering on slightly offensive, there are some lessons I learned at this session.
Share dynamic content (people respond to a joke, nostalgia, or something topical) So that means timing is everything to create the perfect meme.
Stay away from offending individuals, the overly political.
The 2nd surprising thing, the power of memes. What started as a joke referring to Michael Kors wearers as unoriginal, ended up with a call from the company asking, “what do we have to pay you to stop making fun of the brand?” The power to sway opinion (the Jerry accounts have been accused of swaying the political election one way or another) could indicate new terrain for social.
Brands who start early are ahead of the curve. Millennials are getting older, getting married, having kids but now Gen Z is the upcoming demographic. College students who are on Snapchat and newer platforms are setting trends (i.e. brands who got on Snapchat early have seen success).
The team at Jerry studios believes in the power of the meme to sway and convert the younger generation, as founder Elliot Tebele assures, “start them young and you’ve got them for life.”