Alex Miller is Founder and CEO of Jam.

RIP “advertising”?

I’ve stopped counting the times I’ve heard the term “storytelling” or now even “story whispering” at Cannes.

In contrast I have hardly even heard anyone use that good old fashion term “advertising”. At the biggest advertising festival in world, even ad men couldn’t bring themselves use the a-word.

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What I hope to see at Cannes.

So Cannes is sixty. In those sixty years there’s been “changing of the guard” many times over and I am hoping to see a new seminal shift once again this year. I hope this year we see those that challenge the very way we communicate in this industry applauded and rewarded with big shinny doorstops.

Read more on What I hope to see at Cannes….

Fantasy cars, 3D printing, robots and Google Glass

If you gave Henry ford the Internet in 1909 he probably would have made cars differently. Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors, certainly believes this as demonstrated in probably the most-inspiring session that I’ve seen at SXSW yet.

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SXSW: Weekend Inspirations

Friday morning I caught a session called Is Mobile Really a branding vehicle? featuring Dennis Maloney, VP of Multi-media Marketing at Dominos, Rich Lesperance, Head of Digital Wallet / Emerging Media at Walgreens and Tim Reis, Head of Mobile & Social Solutions at Google.

They had one key statement to make: mobile drives real sales.

Look at American pharmacy chain Walgreens – they have 8,000 stores and 40% of their customers use their mobile app in-store to redeem vouchers, fill prescriptions and more. Better yet, Walgreens estimates these mobile-using customers are six times more valuable than their average customer.
The other big stat came from Dominos — 33% of all Dominos sales come from digital, and 30% of these sales come from mobile devices. That’s a lot of Americans ordering pizzas from their iPhones and Androids.

Later on, I listened to reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian tell his Tale of US Entrepreneurship Beyond Silicon Valley. The passionate team, regaling us with their tales of travelling the States looking for the best tech start-ups. And did they ever find them. The team introduced us to Boosted Boards, makers of the lightest motor-vehicle on the planet and Cubelets, pretty-much adult LEGO that build robots. 
However, the single most-inspiring was Elon Musk’s keynote on Saturday. This man is incredible – he made his fortune founding Paypal and then, instead of sitting around spending his cash like other successful tech entrepreneurs,  set out to tackle the world’s biggest problems, founding TeslaSolarCity and Space X.
All of us from Jam were dead impressed by his ambition to get humanity to Mars. He was even more impressed that, during his keynote, the SpaceX founder volunteered himself to take part in a Mars mission – providing he knew that he’d be able to get there safely.

“I want to die on Mars,” Musk said during his keynote. “Just not on impact.”

That is solid leadership if I’ve ever seen it. 

Alex Miller is Founder and CEO of JamFollow him on Twitter for the latest on what’s happening at SXSW. 

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What we Expect from SXSW 2013

I’m flying to Austin today and I’m already looking forward to landing at getting out into the city.

The vibe in Austin is excellent – half the fun of being there that your constantly surrounded by the biggest brains in digital innovation.

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Looking Back on #MWC2013

I’ve been back from Barcelona for a couple days now. A few things are sticking with me.

First of all, what’s with the new location for MWC? It may be beyond massive – gargantuan, really – but it was bland and soulless. It had the vibe of a telemarketers trade show. MWC really needs to push the boat out on location next year. Read more on Looking Back on #MWC2013…

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Live from #MWC2013

The new venue is the NEC of Barcelona, a soulless collection of large sheds. Last year, the venue at least had some outdoor space and majestic fountains. This is just grim -  Cannes and SXSW without a doubt win in the atmosphere and location categories.

However, I’m not here for sights. I’m here for innovation, insight and inspiration. And that is bountiful. Read more on Live from #MWC2013…

MWC 2013: What to Expect

It’s that time again, where the entire mobile industry descends upon Barcelona for the four days of innovation that is Mobile World Congress.

Last year we came back buzzing about how mobile is now the first screen, developers drive the innovation and the over-the-tops could be taking over.

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My SXSW Diary: Heading Home

The Flight Home: Reflecting on Key Themes

I’ve landed back at Heathrow this morning. The SXSW Guantlet is over. On the flight home I finally had a chance to begin collecting my thoughts, digest a weeks’ worth of barbeque and get some much-needed shut-eye (as they say in Texas).

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My SXSW Diary: Days 3 and 4 – Pinterest, Segways and Al Gore

Monday

Monday kicked off with Ray Kurzweil’s keynote: “Expanding Our Intelligence Without Limit”, which was full of mind-blowing predictions. Among other things, he posited that within 25 years, what we think of today as ‘mobile phones’ will be shrunk to the size of blood cells and live, always-on, in our brains. No typing, no differentiation between thought and action, just a blend of tech and biology that radically alters our physical ability to communicate. Like I said, mind-blowing. Read more on My SXSW Diary: Days 3 and 4 – Pinterest, Segways and Al Gore…

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