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Monkee Boy @ SXSW

Each year we send a group of Monkees to SXSW to keep a pulse on what the conference has to offer and what thought leaders are, well, thinking about. Here are some of the highlights:


Monkee Boy: David Saunders 
TitleThe Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Speaker: Daniel Pink
The pattern of the day profoundly affects our mood and performance. Positive mood and performance tend to rise in the morning, dips in the afternoon, and rises again in the evening. As a result, in the morning, when we are at our "peak," we should do work that requires our focus and attention, such as analytical work since our vigilance is at its highest point. In the early afternoon, however, we should focus more on administrative work (e.g. responding to emails, etc.) since our mood and performance tend to fall in comparison to where it was earlier in the day. We should also be taking more breaks throughout our day to stay more focused and productive. The speaker emphasized that the best breaks are those where one is moving around outside with at least one other person and is completely disengaged from work (i.e. talking about other topics). Being out in nature, getting some exercise, being in a group setting, and taking one's mind off of work tasks helps allows one to more easily refocus and be more productive when approaching tasks after the break.

Monkee Boy: James Stoney
Title: Able, Allowed, Should: Navigating Modern Tech Ethics
Speaker: Margaret Stewart
The ability to create and utilize technology does not always mean we <em>should</em> create and utilize that tech. As designers, engineers, and developers, it is our responsibility to make sure the technology we create remains in service of people, does not cause harm and is scrutinized with objectivity.

Authentic Storytelling

Monkee Boy: James Stoney Burks
Title: Walter Isaacson on Hacking da Vinci’s Genius
Speaker: Walter Isaacson
Leonardo da Vinci was successful largely due to his ability to stand at the intersection of technology and creativity. Many of his ideas and theories came from a life-long, relentless curiosity with trying to understand and dissect the world around him. Creativity comes from all manner of places. The more we expose ourselves to novel ideas, thoughts, cultures, and places, the more likely we are to ignite the flame of creativity. 

Monkee Boy: Juan Reyes
Title: Art Attack: Data as the New Creative Director
Speaker: Melanie Shreffler (Cassandra)
Design in the digital landscape needs to incorporate data. Gone are the days of launching creative and ending a project. Use data to incorporate feedback and adjust your creative in real time to maximize performance.


Monkee Boy: Yanira Leon
Title: More than Numbers: Data Analysis & Storytelling
Speakers: Amber Thomas,  Liz Manashil,  Jess Fuselier
In the age of big data, reporting and access to this data may be limited. Data for any industry is essential as it orients your goals and helps unveil your target audience. 
One of the biggest takeaways is the ability to build your target audience using data. This enables us to test messaging, creative and content. This data can also indicate if our target audience interacting with our message, what efforts are yielding the results we desire and what medium is generating a high revenue stream. 


Monkee Boy: Emmett Newton
Title: Accidentally Making the Most Popular Podcasts Ever
Speaker: Ira Glass
Ira shared his insights into creating content that keeps listeners engaged. One particular piece of information he shared was that "people don't care about the content of a story; it doesn't have to be interesting. It just has to follow a certain structure - this event happened, which led to this event happening, which led to this event happening." A major theme of the discussion was that the NPR podcast never really did any market research/specific tailoring of their show. They created content that they wanted to see, and then "got lucky" in the sense that millions of Americans wanted to see it as well. 


Monkee Boy: Savannah Solis
Title: Building a 21st Century Entertainment Brand
Speaker: Chad Ludwig (Fandango)
Brands that are creating an "experience" are taking advantage of their product's world in order for consumers to buy further into their product. The HBO show Westworld recreated their environment at SXSW in order to immerse their audience and create a sense of history with people. By doing this, they're enhancing their entertainment brand so that in the future they can succeed by doing less. 


Monkee Boy: David Saunders
Title: Create Magic: 6 Experiential Storytelling Secrets Panel Session
Speakers: Cynthia Jones, Christian Lachel, Claire Tolan
People don't buy goods and services, but instead, they buy relations, stories, and "magic." In order to get users to buy into a brand, it's important to design around what is important to the users, not what's important to the brand. It's also important to determine what the unifying theme and story of the brand is (e.g. in the Wizard of Oz, the unifying theme is that everything you need is already inside you) in order to make sure that everything being designed and built is supporting the brand's message.

Monkee Boy: Savannah Solis
Title: The Designer’s Weakness: Understanding Power
Speaker: George Aye
When we (as a company or as an individual) acknowledge the influences that gave us the privilege we possess, it allows us to understand others, users, and the abilities that separate us. Animation


Monkee Boy: Juan Reyes
Title: A Marketer's Groundhog Day: The Need for Agile
Speaker: David Lesue
No one methodology works for everyone, take what works for you and adjust it to fit your needs.


Monkee Boy: Yanira Leon
Title: Chatbots & Robots Give Rise to the “Human” Brand
Speakers: Kerry Flynn - Mashable,  Kristen Berman - Common Cents Lab - Duke University, -Hassan Sawaf - Amazon, Lucas Watson - Intuit Technological advancements such as AI are making devices mare integral to our lives (Siri & Alexa). Panelist discuss how to humanize technological devices. Lucas Watson from Intuit (Turbo Tax) discusses Algorithm aversion where people are more likely to trust a person although people are prone to human error. Therefore, brands should shift towards a more humanized experience to create trust to influence the user. As people continue to use these devices the more complex the questions become leading to more interactions with the device (also making the device more “intelligent”). 

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