SXSW Day One Top Takeaways

Communications director for DDB Europe, Sara Cosgrove, shares her thoughts on the first day of SXSW Interactive 2016.

Day one, and time to tackle the extensive program. Of course everyone tells you it can be daunting with so many choices, but until you are trying to figure it out for yourself, it’s difficult to understand just how hard it really is. The trick, as always, is to focus on a couple of things and try not stress over all the things you’ll inevitably miss, as it is impossible to attend everything.

One of the most popular seminars of the day Disruptive Philanthropy in a Digital World featured Jacquelline Fuller from Google, who said she recognizes that Google has “a lot of work to do” with regards to diversity. She explained that the majority of people with a degree in computer science are not diverse, and it is one major in which the number of women graduates is decreasing. Another hot topic she addressed was that of unconscious bias testing. Google has carried this out, and Fuller strongly advised the audience to go through this as well. In addition, she talked about Google’s philanthropic purpose, which is great for retaining and attracting talent.

With reference to the subject of unconscious bias testing, the panel Diversity and Tech Breaking Down Unconscious Bias addressed this issue. The argument here was that we are now at a point where there is an opportunity to push back on bias.

Surely we can all agree that “getting things done” is awesome? Aimed at the creative industry, one of the more inspiring sessions of the day was Celebrate the Process of Getting Things Done! Becky Simpson, illustrator and author of the book I’d Rather Be Short, provided plenty of tweet-friendly quotes on the subject. The top three being:

“Starting somewhere now is better than starting somewhere later.”

“Measure by progress, not comparison.“

And to round off, a favorite one, which also applies to the process of navigating around SXSW: “If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.”

Guest Author DDB Blog