SXSW 2014: Interactive

I had the good fortune (and surprise) of my employer sending me and another designer coworker to SXSW Interactive this year! This is my first year that I’ve been able to go to SXSW with a badge in hand; very exciting stuff.

The one thing I majorly regret is not making it early enough to attend the Nic Cage panel (and I heard it was great). Apparently he committed to buying a fan a plane ticket home, because she willingly missed her flight to be at the panel. Anyway! I sat in on many other panels, and met a lot of interesting people from around the world. I swear, after trading the “where are you from” question, and answering “Well… here,” you can practically see people deflate visibly. It’s not a very interesting answer in comparison to overseas!

Next year I hope to attend more of the workshops rather than the talks, but this year I was really just getting my feet wet (and very sore).

I waited an hour or so (in the drizzly rain) to try out the new Occulus Rift virtual reality headset. In addition, I went to the Gaming Expo (Hotline Miami 2 is out!) and the Renegade Makers Faire (both free Interactive events, by the way). I also went to a few free music events. I worked across the street from thumping party that is Fader Fort in 2013, so it was nice to actually check it out in person and see a band or two (Chromeo was fantastic live). After, it felt like I spent two days straight at Butler Park (Foster the People and Childish Gambino both put on great headlining shows).

And the crowning gem (in my opinion) of SX… the traveling gig poster show, Flatstock! I managed to not empty my wallet at the poster show this year, but a few of my favorite artists did not appear to have booths, so that may have had something to do with it.

3% Conference @ GSD&M

620studio_3_Percent_Conference_lo-res_041713_0286Today, there was a conference at GSD&M to bring attention to the small amount of women in the upper divisions of creative and advertising careers (hence the name). It’s actually a part of a larger conference series which will culminate in San Francisco later this year.

A lot of it is due to the child-rearing years, but as the keynote speaker Kat Gordan said, if we change expectations in the work place then maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for women to break through the glass ceiling we seem to have partially set for ourselves as a gender. She asked (and answered) questions like “When did creative agencies become sweat shops?” “Why is it a boy’s club/why does it cater to men?” (she mentioned the Cleo Awards’ campaign this year) “If women are the majority of social media users and shoppers, 620studio_3_Percent_Conference_lo-res_041713_0186 why do ads seem to be mostly geared towards men? And the ads that are geared towards women are heavy-handed and usually have to do with cleaning products or beauty.” Apparently women make up the majority of social media users (with the exception of LinkedIn) and gamers!

I had not planned to see anyone I knew at this event, but I ended up running into many former classmates and coworkers, so that was a great surprise. I met some really great people, and also reconnected with some acquaintances (some that I saw as recently as Monday at the AIGA: Finding Work event). And there was a slightly surprising amount of men there, 620studio_3_Percent_Conference_lo-res_041713_0146 which was rightfully recognized by the speakers and crowd.

Here are some great (sorta out-of-context) soundbites from the panelists:

“It’s okay to fart in front of us.” (when talking about how women and men can get along in the workplace without a filter)
-Stefani Zellmer, with Zeehive

“…being a creative director is a cross between a cheerleader and an orchestra director.”
“And I asked ‘Oh, when was this work done?’ And it was when I was out of town. And that’s when I stopped helping.”
-Scott McAfee, with Sanders Wingo

“Sometimes you have to be out of the office so the muse can sneak up on you, and sometimes it happens at Chuck E. Cheese.” 620studio_3_Percent_Conference_lo-res_041713_0262
-Shanteka Sigers, with Sanders Wingo

“Less foozeball.” (jokingly said when asked what should change about the industry)
-Carlotta Stankievicz, with GSD&M

Images used with permission from 620 Studio.

AIGA: “Finding Work” Panel

AIGA_600X350

Tonight, AIGA hosted a small panel (that’s a part of a series) above the Royal Blue Grocery on Congress called “Finding Work.” It was a great networking opportunity, and I met some great people. Thanks to Eli Perez for the heads up about the event!

Some good advice that I heard tonight (some of which I have heard before):

- “Stalk” Junior Designers at places that have been hiring to see the kind of work they’re looking for
- Someone looking at your book would rather see 5 “blown out” campaigns, rather than many smaller projects
- Write your cover letter, then reduce it by half. Say more with less words.
- If you are unhappy at your current job, a good way of being gracious about it at an interview is turning it into a positive: “It’s been an adventure, and I’m ready for the next one.” (to paraphrase Scott McAfee)