Kura Tyerman + Ali Tilling SXSW wrap: New tech, future gazing, Gosling-gazing + breakfast tacos

Photo 1_Kura and Ali (1).jpgBMF head of client and business innovation Kura Tyerman (left), and head of planning Ali Tilling (right), wrap up their days at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

SXSW. New tech, future-gazing, Gosling-gazing and breakfast tacos. But beyond the content, what made it so captivating? There are lessons to be learnt from witnessing big-names take the stage and engage an eclectic audience. So whether your stage is big or small, you might find something here for you.

"I'm doing my keynote as a Q&A because the others are all basically reading out a press release for their own best behaviour" - Gary Vaynerchuck, founder of VaynerMedia and serial entrepreneur

Ah, Gary. Full of humble brag, a bit of a cliché, but very funny.
This Q&A had one of the longest lines and there were some gems, including "remember that creativity is still the key variable of success" - after the 54th question about data.

He was right about some of the keynotes...so whatever kind of talk you're doing, changing up the format can work a treat.

"Can agencies lead?" Preston Kelly - Winner of AdAge Small Agency

This was another interesting format - an open forum where agency and marketing folk threw opinions around like a ping-pong match. The most interesting discussion was around the 'in house' agency. We agreed that the biggest challenges were attracting the best talent and therefore developing credible work - but the control, knowledge and commercial opportunity are hugely appealing. The debate continues but it's great to question "could my client go in-house?" and "how can I protect our agency's lead?"

If you've got the right premise, and a bloody good moderator, an open forum can be really provocative.

Photo 2 (1).jpg"Who here has had a vasectomy?" - Michael Nieling (owner and creative director, Ocupop)

Strong start to a strong talk about imposter syndrome, the voice inside your head saying you're not good enough and one day they're all gonna find out...

This was a personal account of how Nieling's internal voice got the better of him and how he emerged the other side, realising that "the one thing imposter syndrome can't survive is empathy".

So, start strong and set the tone. And don't be afraid of getting personal.

Photo 3_Marie Kondo (1).jpg"Organise your life to spark Joy" - Marie Kondo, author of best seller - "The life-changing magic of tidying up"

This Japanese pocket rocket gave us complete sanity edged with complete madness. Sanity as Marie softly spoke about how organising and tidying can bring happiness and actually change your life. The madness came about 40 minutes in when we (around 5,000 eager SX's) watched this beauty demonstrate the best way to fold clothes. Lots of clothes. For ten minutes.

So while the unexpected can definitely work on stage, the magic might not last forever.

Photo 4_Ali_Cam_Kura (1).jpg"One of the strongest pitches I've seen started with, 'Here are three reasons why you should NOT invest in this idea' " - Adam Grant.

This was gripping, from Wharton Business School's youngest and top-rated professor. He used a few examples of pitches from entrepreneurs trying to get venture capital funding. Babble's, quoted above, stood out for him for the reverse psychology of giving people reasons NOT to invest. Punchy, but it made potential investors feel clever for having ways to overcome the challenges Babble faced.

Interesting, and a brave one to try. Especially in pitches.

There are loads of ways to be captivating. Getting personal, being provocative, trying a new format... and getting a bit of madness in there are great things to try.

Just maybe leave the taco for afterwards.

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