I’m home now from SXSW and able to reflect on some of the bigger themes that came out of it. There was hard evidence that the “internet of things” is becoming a reality – from Google’s experiments with self-driving cars, a pair of talking shoes and the rise and rise of 3D printing. Software is the future of hardware. And it’s really only just begun.
Related to that is the theme of wearable technology. The Google Glass demo (which I am gutted to have missed) got a lot of buzz. Indeed, according to Mashable, it was the highlight of this year’s conference (http://mashable.com/2013/03/13/google-glass-buzz-sxsw/). Read more »
I’ve spent the first couple of days at SXSW diving into some fairly micro topics. It’s been a wee bit hit and miss, as you’d expect, but fascinating nonetheless. Today, though, I’ve gone macro: Al Gore on “The Future”; Elon Musk on space travel, solar energy and the bid to save humanity; and perhaps most inspiring of all, Chinese-American entrepreneur Ping Fu on life under Mao and how her incredible personal story has made her into such a strong and successful innovator. Only at SXSW. Read more »
The idea that imitators can teach anyone anything about innovation seems at first to be absurd. Surely, the one is the opposite of the other? Not according to Lyn Jeffery, a student of what she calls the Chinese “informal economy.” Today I am learning all about how the imitators have turned innovators at a small session at SXSW.
As Research Director of Institute of the Future in California, Jeffery has undertaken some fascinating research into the “shanzhai” – which, literally translated, means “mountain fortress” and, in Chinese culture, has Robin Hood style overtones. It now refers specifically to the 15% or so of the Chinese manufacturing sector that is dedicated to the production of fake, branded goods. This loosely networked body of disparate small businesses employs 16m Chinese (as opposed to the 11m employed in the entire US manufacturing industry). Read more »
First time at SXSW. My God there’s a lot on. From “naked ladies reading” (I kid you not) to a talk on “the Consumerisation of Revolutions”…via “the architecture of the air”…where to begin? A Hot Polish dog at Frank’s, of course. But then?
For my virginal SXSW experience, I decide to avoid the esoteric and the wilfully weird in favour of a sensible-sounding talk on something I know little about: designing tablet news experiences. It turns out be a good call. As an ex-journalist whose agency’s clients now include Metro, I find it properly interesting. Read more »