aturdays are always conference session heavy because the heavy hitter brand names can easily be available on Saturday (and Sundays for that matter). There’s still plenty marketing and networking sessions happening all over downtown Austin. The Domination Team does it all, with some hitting sessions and others hitting day parties.
The first session the team hits is United’ish, hosted by comedian Kamau Bell of CNN with writer Luvvie Ajayi and marketing executive and social media activist April Reigns. They talk about how Black Lives Matter and Ferguson helped pave the way for the Parkland kids #neveragain movement. Funny, insightful, thought-provoking, intellectual. A few quotable takeaways:
“We all have privilege of some kind and it’s our responsibility to use that privilege to help others.” –April Reigns (possibly not perfectly verbatim)
“Smart people are stressed out because they know what’s happening in the world.” –Ajayi
Later in the morning, acclaimed film director Darren Aronofsky gave a talk on the 10 commandments of Indie Film. A major theme throughout his talk was that it’s not about how you treat the people you know, it’s about how you treat the people you don’t know. Respect all of your staff.
Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s most senior and decorated journalist, talked about the sexual revolution of developing countries and also how financial empowerment through work empowerment has paved the way. She touched upon how social media companies need to be held to the same standard as traditional media companies when it comes to accountability of fake news distributed on their platforms. Yet, she also made individual, everyday people share some of that burden by saying they are responsible for actively verifying, consuming and sharing real news vs. fake news.
Ta-Nehisi Coates had a fantastic session where he was interviewed by his editor at The Atlantic magazine. Most notable about all of Coates question responses was his honesty; he was not afraid to simply say “I don’t know” to a question. He would then unpack why he couldn’t answer a given question and what it would take for him to give an honest, informative answer. Refreshing philosophy in an age where everyone thinks their Google searches make them an expert on anything. His editor, Goldberg, said The Atlantic has actively looked to publish articles from authors favoring Trump, but they have a very difficult time finding someone that meets standard journalistic standards around truth and verification
Other quotables that are not 100% verbatim from Coates:
“Racism won’t be aged out; many young people were marching at Charlottesville.”
“Racism is a luxury. It’ll be around so long as the country can afford it.”
The New York Times podcast “The Daily” interviewed Rukmini Callimachi, an award-winning Times foreign correspondent who is the foremost expert on Islamic terrorism. It was a heavy discussion and topic around Callimachi’s reporting techniques getting information about Islamic terrorists. One of her greatest finds was accounting records from an abandoned terrorist camp in Mali showing expense reports and write-ups on delinquent expenses. It showed how organized these groups were, far underestimated by the west at that time.
The Westworld cast and crew panel was lively, humorous, but not revealing about the upcoming second season. All the main cast for season 2 was present, included co-producer Jonathan Nolan, who later brought out Elon Musk! Elon took over for a few minutes to discuss his ideas and philosophy for humanity, a great surprise appearance to everyone.
The final session of the day attended by the Domination Team was for the Daily Show panel, consisting of correspondent Roy Woods, Jr. along with writers and digital media directors for the show. Not surprisingly, it was hilarious, yet, serious conversations were had about the global politics and producing the show. Most notable was the change in approach to Social Media for the show with Trevor Noah at the helm. Social Media for The Daily Show is an extension of the show, with original content constantly being produced for different social media mediums and some content being specific and exclusive to certain mediums. The panel seemed to know their craft well in this regard, giving examples of different comedic content used on different platforms.
If you think these were the serious amount of sessions for just one day, bear in mind, at SXSW, these 7 sessions are likely just 5% of the total just for that one day!
All the while, an entirely different set of the Domination Team hit the day party events of SXSW. At Fast Company Grill, food and drinks flowed while a very serious interview by KC Ifeanyi of Dan Rather took place. Rather was moved to tears during the interview when speaking about the state of the country and its loss of some prestige and leadership amongst the international community. The Nerdists event at Bungalow was lighter hearted. Comedic panels and activities went on while drinks and food were available to all. Some of the Domination Team were even mistaken for athletes, garnering requests for group selfies.
Tubefilter’s event at BlackHeart in the Rainey Street district of downtown Austin was a favorite of the daytime DomTeam on Saturday. Drinks and food the entire afternoon while sitting outside in beautiful Texas spring weather.
Day 2 of SXSW Interactive night events took an upgrade. Flo Rida performed for Bravo’s Imposter show promotion, doing so with a live band and dancers, something not often seen in hip-hop these days! Express clothing surprised everyone at their event at Bungalow’s by bringing out Common for a surprise show. The three sisters making up the pop-rock group HAIM performed for Bumble’s event at Fair Market, and as always, shredding guitars just as easy as rock stereotypes. A few too many open bars at all these events had the rest of the night hazy, so most of the Domination team called it quits well before 2am… there is still 7 days of SXSW left to survive!