30 November 2023
3 mins

Mel’s SXSW round-up

Mel Dickinson
Mel Dickinson
Senior Designer

I’ve always wanted to go to SXSW. It’s been high on my bucket list. So it was a rather wonderful stroke of luck that this year, it came to me as Sydney hosted its inaugural SXSW.

And SXSW Sydney did not disappoint.

From in-depths discussions on the future of AI, emerging retail trends and tech inventions, new ways of working, diversity and shifts on cultural mindsets – the calibre and robust viewpoints of topics were eye-opening, showing a whole world of possibilities. Keen to soak up as much of the festival as possible – I attended a whopping 23 sessions (not to mention the plethora of activations on offer).

Notable speakers included “the most powerful man in advertising” David Droga (Accenture Song CEO), Noelle Russell (Global GenAI Lead at Accenture), Sulinna Ong (Spotify Global Head of Editorial), Cal Henderson (Slack Co-Founder & CTO) and Roxy Young (Reddit CMO).

My top 5 takeaways are:

1. GenAI can help solve Tier 1 problems and pain points – Utilise it as assistance tool for automation and ‘grunt work’ so that people can focus on high value tasks.

2. GenAI has levelled the playing field – SMEs can do more with smaller budgets. Now you don’t necessarily need professional equipments, big productions or big studios to create something that’s on par.

3. Innovation needs creativity as much as creativity needs innovation – You can’t have one without the other. Creative makes tech more ‘human’ and tech gets creative out in the world and measure tangible results.

4. The world will always need good story tellers – Anyone can create content, but we need people with insights and an opinion. GenAI can write the script for ‘Fast and Furious 15’, but it would never be able to create the ‘Barbie’ movie.

5. Step outside your algorithm – Have an open mind. Be curious about things that are the opposite of what you know and like. You need to learn other viewpoints to understand how others may use your product/service differently.

Watch my event highlight clips below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

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