We're still alive down here in Austin, though the days are starting to blur together a bit. Today, we're planning to hit up Pandora's setup at The Gatsby and a few panels spanning everything from weed marketing to podcasts. If all goes well, maybe even a nap (just kidding, editors!). Check out our talk from yesterday with OMD's Dario Raciti on brands getting into interactive entertainment. George Slefo also did an AMA of sorts with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman. Keep checking back here for more.
Wednesday, 5 p.m.
Pandora takes over The Gatsby
Pandora has a huge setup on East Sixth, where artists like Tinashe and Dashboard Confessional will take the stage this week. But what drew my attention was "Sounds Like You," a program that guides you through a process of personalizing a song the company claims is made "entirely for you." The program was created by Tool North America and works with Pandora's Music Genome Project.
Several screens walk you through a process of choosing songs you like based on different genres, then the program takes a photo and pops out a song. My song sounds like hold music mixed with spa background tunes with a sprinkling of clapping sounds. Apparently I'm doing a great job of pretending like I'm zen at SXSW.
Wednesday, 12:45 p.m.
High times at Southby
Jeffrey Finkle, a cannabis investor, Level Blends co-founder Chris Emerson and futurist Faith Popcorn gathered to talk about the future of legal cannabis and how brands should be preparing for the industry's rise. Popcorn suggested that smart companies are quietly investing in the area, and says she thinks smaller brands are more likely to win in this area.
"Small indie brands you're going to see be much more open, but it's always the outsider that has the vision," she said. "Maybe they have less to lose. I think it will be somebody who upsets the apple cart—and not the usual suspects."
She asked Emerson about a partnership his company did to offer specialty cocktails including CBD with terpenes. He described it as "a very nice experience."
"A little fuzziness on the edge," he said. "Not going to say no hangover, but it does help." —Megan Graham
Wednesday, 12:05 p.m.
Rolling with Tito's
Tito's Vodka is riding around Austin offering rides in a school bus that serves alcohol. Although the rides are free, the booze marketer is asking for tips, which will all be donated to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Dancing on the bus is encouraged, Tito's says. Judging by the Instagram evidence, there were some takers.
Wednesday, 10 a.m.
A little birdie pointed us to this video of Mindshare North America Invention Studio associate director Miguel Mora's rap about his Interactive experience.
Wednesday, 9 a.m.
Remembering Stephen Hawking
We were out and about last night when someone pulled out their phone and said, "Hate to bring down the mood, but Stephen Hawking just died." Other SXSW-ers were thinking about Hawking and his contributions.
Today, I walked through a VR recreation of a gravitational wave, the result of two black holes colliding. Everything about that sentence would be impossible without Stephen Hawking's work, study, AND advocacy. RIP, good doctor. May you live on in our fierce study of the universe.— Sam Machkovech 🚁 SXSW (@samred) March 14, 2018
RIP Stephen Hawking without you #SXSW wouldn't have been possible thanks to all the tech innovators here....we heard there will be a hologram of him roaming around so that people can pay their respects thanks to SAMSUNG— The SXSW Plug (@TheSXSWPlug) March 14, 2018
so is no one gonna talk about how I was having a breakdown about Stephen Hawking in the middle of a SXSW showcase— trish n chips (@yung_trish) March 14, 2018
Wednesday, 7:33 a.m.
To be fair, it's been a long week
We're going to let this one speak for itself.
SXSW is a great time to see verified creative directors lose their shit at airlines on twitter— Dan Ozzi (@danozzi) March 14, 2018