Walking the streets of Austin during South by Southwest (SXSW), I am startled by the difference since I first attended (and rocked) this event 12 years ago. What with the tweets, and blogs, and webinars, oh my! But even “Back in my day” this Interactive/Film/Music festival was alive with talk of the latest and greatest. The video industry was changing at the widespread adoption of DVD’s: “You mean I can just skip from scene-to-scene with the click of a button??” There were no iPods back then, so bands were pushing CD’s. Websites were trying to build and engage online community participation, but there was no Facebook or Twitter to help implement the strategy. Speaking of communication, I remember waiting in line at the payphone my first SXSW. What’s a payphone? For that matter, what’s a cell phone? They have been replaced by “mobile devices” capable of so much more than making calls – capable of changing the way we live.
So as we say goodbye to CD’s, DVD’s, phones and all the other antiqued technology of our recent past, I just want to say to everyone, especially to those in the younger generation – don’t get too attached to this next best thing – whatever it is. Today’s latest innovation is tomorrow’s punchline. Change happens fast in our relentless pursuit of “The Greatest Thing Ever.”
What truly is “The Greatest Thing Ever” is our ability to adapt, to let go of the things we value, and be open to the possibilities that something better will come along – because it always does. Don’t fight it! This generation – these kids filling the streets of Austin – they will be required to constantly adapt in a rapidly-advancing world, with a life of perpetual learning. You can fight the change. I see that mentality all the time from my senior peers – people that are hoping to retire or pass away before they ever have to learn anything new. In today’s generation, those that are unwilling to embrace change will face a life of extreme disadvantage compared to the enabled believers.
From a marketing perspective, there certainly are changes to the way companies are spreading their message:
- Companies paying to rename a bar for the week
- People being sponsored to wear t-shirts and blast a message to the world
- Conducting surveys with potential clients
- Offering special deals through mobile devices
- Encouraging fun interaction with company mascots/brand icons
I can’t wait to see how these methods will continue to evolve and impact the way companies interact with clients. It’s a strange new world people – soak it in, but don’t get too attached.