Arena Media's No Good Sense 2014 #6 SXSW Edition | Blog - Arena UK

Arena UK

No Good Sense 2014 #7 – SXSW Edition


New news


It’s SXSW Interactive week in Austin, Texas and I have been soaking it all in. Privacy and data have been centre stage as both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden made live-stream ‘appearances’. There is a huge wealth of activities at SXSW, from start-ups, to sessions on any tech subject imaginable – and parties of course. Here is how I’ve made sense of everything I’ve seen.



In more SXSW news, Trustev, an Irish start-up that offers identity verification services for e-commerce sites, took the top prize in the SXSW Accelerator competition. The other winners (and start-ups to watch) were Synbiota, Waygo and Samba.me.



Back on UK soil, the government is planning a review of gambling ads, after concerns were raised that children were being exposed. Pre-watershed sports programmes mean that a generation of school kids may be taking to the playing field with the words ‘in play; bet now’ as a peculiar addition to their sporting vocabulary.


New thinking


Kristina Halvorson delivered one of the most provocative marketing talks at SXSW this week: ‘Go home marketing, you are drunk’. She argues that the marketing community has jumped on to a real-time content bandwagon, and that we need to take a strategic, customer-oriented view of content marketing.



In another SXSW highlight, Matt Danna, a product and user-experience designer, delivered an incredibly useful guide on how to use persuasive web design to change user behaviour on brand and e-commerce sites. It’s a great way to understand what kind of design tactics to employ to make customer journeys better, and more profitable.   


Meanwhile, ahead of International Women’s Day, Belinda Palmer, of Lady Geek, had a pertinent point to make concerning wearable tech: ‘While engineers and designers improve these products with every generation, the challenge faced by marketers is to communicate the value these devices bring, especially to women who have traditionally been the audience most interested with products that can be worn.’ It may be time to bring the brand designers onboard.

New ideas


A personal highlight of SXSW was an inspiring talk by Studio Roosegarde – an interactive design and innovation group from Holland. Among many inspiring projects, their current project to make highways and roads smarter is fantastically smart.


Product design consultancy Ideo ran an SXSW session alongside Joi Ito of MIT Medialabs. They discussed Ideo’s excellent Made in the Future project, which explores how products and manufacturing are going to radically change through innovation in technology.



Amid renewed criticism of the way in which fast food companies approach the subject of health, McDonald’s has launched Free Fruit Fridays, offering a bag of fresh fruit to anyone purchasing a Happy Meal. These will fall on the first Friday of every month, although McDonald’s was keen to stress that it’s been doling out fruit bags for years. We must’ve looked past them while our eyes were gorging on cheeseburgers.

New research


Research by Nielsen suggests that TV and online video advertising will ‘merge’ by 2020, as more of the targeting and buying tactics of online advertising become possible in TV, and as more is done online to create formats that match the impact of TV.



Twitter may be first to the news these days, but a new report says that the majority of the social network’s 15 million UK users still connect with a newspaper – even if it’s via Twitter! Some 62% of tweeters told researchers that, while they find breaking news via the service, they also use it to follow a newspaper, and rely on these more traditional sources to verify the facts.



If ‘second-screening’ was the buzzphrase for the past two years, ‘switching’ is one to keep an eye on in future. New research from Facebook has found that our concentration is so fragmented 42% of adults in the UK start something on one device and finish it on another, meaning that ‘switching’ is now a mainstream thing.


New tech UK


With its headquarters in London, music recognition app Shazam is surely one of UK tech’s greatest success stories. This week, the service went from strength to strength when it announced a cash injection of $20 million, bringing its total investment fund to $92 million since the company was founded back in 1999.



At the time of writing, news was breaking that the Maker Faire – ‘the greatest show and tell on earth’ – is coming to London for the first time next year. The family-friendly event brings together, ‘over 300 hackers, crafters, coders, DIYers and garden shed inventors from across the globe’. A den of geek, in old terms, but a modern-day colloseum of heroes!




And finally, it seems that musical instruments are the latest trend to hit London’s Tech City. Only a week ago, early adopters were keen to get their hands on Mogees. This week, it’s the turn of the Ototo, an ‘all-in-one musical invention kit’ that turns anything into a tune. Plug in your drainpipe and wail!

See you next week.