I’m writing today from a small cafe in a remote town in Colorado, a week after attending yet another amazing SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas.
Once again, SXSW was incredibly informative and inspirational, highlighting cutting edge innovation and thinking from industry leaders and up-and-comers.
But, for me at least, the most noticeable thing at SXSW was what was missing, especially in the enormous Trade Show hall. As usual there were dozens of exhibitors with new technology, plenty of robotics, 3D printing, drones and marketing software.
But this year the Trade Show seemed to be dominated by countries and regions sharing their own tech industry news and start-ups. They were encouraging to 30,000 plus cashed-up, highly educated and entrepreneurial visitors to come and do business with them, to relocate, to support their start-up businesses, to invest.
Besides the many states and regions of the USA on display, there were impressive stands for countries including Ireland, Great Britain, Brasil, Puerto Rico and New Zealand.
Who was missing? Australia. No display, no presence at the world’s biggest technology festival.
In fact the only sign of Australia was the smattering of Aussie accents wandering the city. Many of us made the pilgrimage to Austin to learn more and do business. (In fact, I picked up several business opportunities of my own simply by attending and chatting to people).
But the problem is that most of us are doing it ourselves, with no coordinated industry of government support. It really hit home to me that Australia runs a real risk of being left behind in the modern tech revolution. While we are still arguing the toss over high-speed broadband and seeing little government support of innovation, the rest of the world is taking bold steps to be at the forefront of the new economy.
And here is some perspective on why Australia needs to have a presence at SXSW (and other events…this isn’t just about SXSW) and also fostering similar events at home…..
The impact of SXSW 2014 on the city of Austin’s economy was revealed to be a staggering $315 million.
SXSW Interactive director Hugh Forrest told the Austin Business Journal that the figure is roughly 65% of the impact that a city like New Orleans sees from hosting the Super Bowl. It’s nearly a third of the net impact that the 2012 Olympics had on London.
And Australia was nowhere to be seen.
To me it is symbolic of the lack of importance our country is placing upon innovation.
This weekend I will be meeting up with some Australians who have relocated to Boulder, Colorado to work on their own start-ups. They’re in Boulder because of the exciting start-up community and tech network and positive spirit of innovation.
I’m sure I’ll be inspired by what I see, but depressed when I think of how far behind Australia is falling.
Digital disruption and transformation are my big themes for 2015. And with good reason, we are living an unprecedented era of change, where new technology and business models are emerging daily to threaten our once dominant and secure industries and organisations.
I’ve seen it in my own business and I see it daily with my clients. Disruption can be rapid and unforgiving with whole industries and business models being made extinct in a matter of years.
Digital disruption requires rapid change and agile adaptation on many different levels of an organization, both strategic and tactical. And, crucially, it demands constant research and education.
That is one reason my colleagues and I at DiG Festival have just announced a new theme and format for DiG Festival 2015 – Digital disruption and transformation – how to survive and thrive.
We are aiming to deliver a truly informative event, providing attendees with a framework to navigate change, not only to survive, but to thrive in the new economy.
And to continue our own education, the entire DiG Festival committee is heading to SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas this month to hear from and meet industry leaders and research new technology.
The SXSW schedule is truly daunting. Hundreds and hundreds of presenters, workshops and sideshows to attend over 4 days. It’s no coincidence that there is a lot of content around “Disruption”, which appears to be a red hot topic this year.
I have been an enthusiastic user of Twitter since joining in March 2008. In almost 7 years I have posted almost 53000 Tweets and grown a considerable “audience” of Followers. I have told many people over the years how Twitter, more than any other medium, helped me grow my agency. We can draw a direct line between a handful of early key clients who contacted me either via Twitter or because Twitter.
I can even trace over $1 million in agency revenue to one Tweet I made back in 2009 (you’ll have to meet me in person to hear the whole story).
Twitter was a natural extension of this blog, which is why my personal Twitter account shares the same name. I would post content to the blog, share it out via Twitter, drive traffic back to the blog and start a conversation. It was great and it worked a treat. I loved it.
Producing and distributing engaging content, and measuring the effectiveness of that content, are the top challenges faced by Australian marketers, according to a new study from the Content Marketing Institute, conducted in partnership with The Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and sponsored by Brightcove (NASDAQ: BCOV).
The study outlined that more than half of Australian marketers employ content marketing strategies and place a high importance on being able to create more engaging, visual content and optimising content for their target audience.
The study also showed that 46% of marketers believe that ROI measurement was an immediate and important criteria to address, identifying a wide variety of parameters they believe are essential for ROI measurement. Australian marketers measure the effectiveness of a content marketing program through changes in website traffic (60%), higher conversion rates (46%), changes in their sales efforts (46%), shifts in SEO ranking (39%) and assessing the time their customers spent on site (38%).
If you’re in the process of planning future marketing for your organisation it is handy to understand where things are heading in the fast-moving marketing world. That’s why Wheelhouse Advisors have made this infographic on marketing predictions for 2015 relying heavily on market and customer data.
Which of these predictions is your organisation ready for?
While the continued rise of social media is delivering extraordinary benefits to the widest cross section of the community, it also exposes individuals and organisations to enormous risks making the newly published Social Media and the Law an essential reading not just for legal practitioners and academics but also business and corporate managers, HR departments and the broader business community.
For example, the chapter Social Media and Employment Law explores the balance between social media and workplace relations. At worst, employees face dismissal while employers who don’t have a comprehensive strategy on social media in place are at great risk. The reality is that social media blurs the boundaries of what can be considered ‘conduct at work’ and ‘conduct at home’, yet at the same time magnifies the consequences of ill-judged comments and actions. Existing workplace issues including bullying, harassment and vilification continue to take place on social media while the temptation for employers to use social media platforms as a means of pre-employment screening and workplace surveillance raises fresh issues.
One of the unanimous highlights of the 2014 DiG Festival was Jed White’s passionate keynote, The Boulder Experience: Creating a tech-city ecosystem.
Jed is a start-up veteran having launched a successful business in Sydney then moving his family to Boulder, Colorado to work on his next venture Tribe Vibe. During his time in the USA he has had the opportunity to observe start-up capitals like Silicon Valley / San Francisco, Austin and of course Boulder. It was through this lens that Jed came to Newcastle with observations about what makes a great tech-city and how to create a tech-city ecosystem.
Jed is a big fan of good cafes with a quality wifi connections as they are locations where ideas collide.
He noted that most start-up cities are very eclectic and embrace people from different backgrounds. It’s good to be a bit weird. He cited ground level concepts like Renew Newcastle as being important for fostering that culture.
He also stressed that we shouldn’t all aim to create another Silicon Valley, but rather to leverage our own natural assets.
Jed feels that with the Dig Festival, Newcastle has a hook to hang an ecosystem from.
Here is his To-Do List for Newcastle to Create a Tech-City Ecosystem:
1. Support the leaders, the entrepreneurs leading the charge.
2. Get some bandwidth. Our slow internet is a major problem. It is oxygen for business.
3. Build on DiG. It’s only the start, fill the other 51 weeks of the year with activities.
4. Round up the “Feeders” Ie. local, state and federal government and agencies. Lobby for tax breaks, grants etc
5. More caffeine and more wifi. Informal places to meet and work. Newcastle is well-caffeinated already, we just need to add the wifi.
6. Make stuff now!! Don’t await for others, start creating.
The good news is that some of these things are happening already in the region, but they probably need to be more coordinated to enable the full effect.
There is also a growing list of co-work spaces and hubs emerging.
The recent announcement of the latest NBN FTTN roll-out (yes I know its not as good as FTTP but its something better than we have today) means that a large chunk of the region will have improved bandwidth in 2015 and that can only help.
I am also mildly encouraged that some of our local political and business leaders might be finally realising the potential for the region through fostering innovation and start-ups.
At the end of DiG Festival quite a few people approached me to say they would like to do more to foster innovation in the area via events and other initiatives. That’s great news. Now we just need to decide how to coordinate and share this enthusiasm. I don’t want to get involved in every activity, I’m busy enough with Sticky and doing DiG with Steph and Tracy, but I’m very happy to help start the conversation and help spread the word.
For many people the idea of being a social media manger is a dream job, and certainly one that wasn’t even considered a decade ago. But as the web becomes even more reliant on social networks, where content is abundant, and competition for attention is extremely fierce, how do social media experts utilise their time and skills to get the best results?
These days, with so much data available and easily accessible, choosing the right type of metric to monitor can be daunting for marketers. Quite often I see marketers who are too engrossed in focusing on “vanity” metrics rather than analyzing data that can actually make a difference to their business. And this applies equally to the most important metric of all – revenue.
This infographic from Digital Marketing Philippines lists the key metrics to focus on when reviewing a digital marketing campaign. I like that they focus on the big 3: traffic, conversion, revenue.
File-sharing website TorrentFreak reported Game of Thrones set a new record for illegal downloads this week, with about 1.5 million file sharers downloading a pirated copy of the season four finale of the show in the 12 hours after it was released in the US. Data was released showing Australians have increased their lead as the world champions of piracy.
The outcry, of course, was led by the company most affected by the downloading of the program, Foxtel.