The buzz and anxiety of the first sessions at South by Southwest (SXSW) are palpable. And its easy to see some of the broader themes of SXSW 2017 rise to the surface: leadership in times of adversity, using the technologies we have at our fingertips to solve everyday problems and the rise of chatbots were some of the front runners. Here are our highlights from Friday at SXSW: Read more after the jump…
I love great ideas! Especially the ones that start out small but then revolutionize an industry. In 2007, a like-minded group of individuals, including Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, wanted to find a way in which everyone could help improve their own community. Their solution: They taught their local residents to take control of their community through gardening and eating.
“The answer was food,” said Warhurst in her TED Talk. “Everyone understands food. Food gets people talking; even better, it inspires people to take action.” They started with small herb gardens and community plots in a Northern England town called Todmorden. Then they planted corn in front of a police station, fruit trees on the sides of roads, vegetables in front of the senior center, and even planted gardens in the cemetery, where “things grow really well because the soil is really good!” Read more after the jump…
This year, Patagonia announced that it would donate all Black Friday proceeds to grassroots environmental groups fighting to protect natural resources like water, oil and soil. The company expected to rake in about $2 million across its 80 global stores and Patagonia.com. In reality, Patagonia recorded $10 million in revenue – five times what the company expected – and is still promising to donate 100 percent of that revenue to the environmental groups.
Last week marked the fourth straight year that GroundFloor Media/CenterTable has sponsored The Wright – a Shark Tank–esque event focusing on Colorado companies who work in the outdoor/lifestyle industries, and love to give back to their respective communities. Companies are nominated, finalists are required to produce a short video about their business, a panel of judges narrows the list to three finalists at a live event and then questions those companies before selecting the winning contestant.
Some of these companies are big, some are small, some are new and some are more established. The common theme is that they’re all amazing Colorado-based companies who have great entrepreneurial spirit. It’s truly one of my favorite events each year – and one where everyone can learn a thing or two from the contestants. Here are a couple of things we took away from, or were reminded during the 2016 Wright: Read more after the jump…
For the sixth year GFM is headed back to the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, March 11 – March 15. Beginning this Friday you can follow Jon Woods’ and Carissa McCabe’s recaps of all things SXSWi here on the GFM blog, or via Twitter (@WoodrowWilson and @CarissaMc).
The reason we value the South by experience so much is the fantastic programming, which is most easily explained as marketing-meets-digital-platforms-meets-Texas-meets-thought-leadership-meets-TED-Talks-meets-food-trucks-meets-pop-culture-meets-startups-meets-hipsters-meets-brilliant-minds-meets-Tech-Stars.
Over the years, I’ve read many farewell columns by retiring or transitioning journalists.
Even before the profession hit this sustained downturn, I mostly thought these columns were self-serving, focusing on the glory days of news reporting, and self-aggrandizing about news stories uncovered.
With so many departing journalists, the farewell column has become cliché, and editors are surely loathed to provide the opportunity to all those leaving. And readers, remember them, aren’t interested.
This week, however, I came across a particularly poignant goodbye column by a reporter retiring from The Seattle Times after nearly 40 years.
Jack Broom was a general assignment reporter, which means he usually covered the big stories of the day, and when there wasn’t breaking news, he would work on occasional feature stories. General assignment reporters are a special breed; they can cover a legislative hearing one day and a volcanic eruption the next with the same grace and poise.
Broom started reporting when newsrooms were filled with typewriters, and over the years had the dubious honor of writing obituaries for his colleagues. There are few journalists left like him.
Broom saw his role as a journalist quite simply. “My goals have been straightforward: To tell readers something about the community and world they live in, and — if possible — help them enjoy the time they spent with the newspaper.”
While many of us have some well-deserved down time over the holidays it’s a great chance to get caught up on some reading – and possibly discovering some new content sources for the New Year. We polled our GFM team, asking them to share their favorite social media accounts with our readers over the holidays, and we’ll be sharing them platform-by-platform in the coming days.
To be somewhat unbiased, we’re not including our client’s social accounts (because they’re all fantastic, of course), and we’ve left off some of the more obvious choices that many people already follow (Mashable, local news sources, etc.). But we hope these recommendations bring some new and useful content to your holiday season and New Year! Read more after the jump…
I was curious about a book written by a famous movie producer, one who had been responsible for such mega hits as “Splash,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13.” In fact, Brian Grazer’s movies and TV shows have been nominated for 43 Oscars and 152 Emmys. A Curious Mind, The Secret to a Bigger Life is Grazer’s 35-year story of having curiosity conversations, every two weeks, with thousands of people, including scientists, politicians, writers, athletes, dictators, inventors and entrepreneurs – everyone from Steve Jobs to Fidel Castro to Jacques Cousteau to Dr. Edward Teller, the maker of the hydrogen bomb.
I recently caught a segment on CBS Sunday Morning about a Spanish language TV show called “Sábado Gigante,” a three-hour program that airs every Saturday night and is viewed by millions of people in the U.S. and in 40 countries around the world. The interview included Don Francisco, the gregarious host who has missed just one week in the 53 years since the show began. Amid declining viewership over the past few years, particularly among younger viewers, the show is ending its historic run.
That’s just one example of how TV viewing habits have changed dramatically over the past decade, particularly among the Gen X and Y viewers. Many in these age groups are forgoing cable TV in favor of the massive on-demand content of Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. According to a Retrevo “Pulse Report,” 23 percent of people under 25 watch most of their television content online compared with just 8 percent of people over 25.
Every few years a mavericky, break-all-the-rules type of leader bubbles up into the public consciousness. He wows people with his “blunt” talk, “refreshing candor” and willingness to address complex issues in a very simple and straightforward manner.
A decade ago it was Donald Rumsfeld. While U.S. Defense Secretary, his treatise on “known knowns and unknown unknowns” made him the darling of the lecture circuit. It even resulted in a book deal – Known and Unknown: A Memoir. And much more recently, Donald Trump has climbed up the GOP presidential nominee rankings through a sometimes-incoherent strategy of attacking almost anything that moves. Supporters admire his “leadership” and “take-action” style, if not his depth and nuance.
Leaders like the Donalds usually have a shelf-life, but the internal and external damage they may do can live far beyond the FOX News and CNN news cycles. The Donalds are charismatic, and serve as role models for many other leaders, including C-level executives.
CEOs who tire of having constraints placed on them with media will point to people such as the Donalds as proof that they should be able to speak bluntly and without talking points. After all, the Donalds prove that people love outspoken leaders who are not afraid of saying what people are secretly thinking.
So here’s some free advice for PR people who work with C-level executives: Don’t let them listen to leaders like the Donalds. Both Rumsfeld and Trump are outliers, and CEOs who seek to model themselves after them will quickly find out that you can’t count on lightning striking every time. And if they try, the clean up will not be pretty.