IPA 44 Club event on SXSWi 2014 learnings

Sophie Franks and Ciara Wallace, Performance Planners, attended the IPA 44 Club event last night which discussed SXSW Interactive 2014 learnings. Here’s a summary of the event:


Key theme of SXSW: data & privacy

Interestingly in a data rich environment, 63% of internet users say that they don’t want their data shared, however, 77% have never reset their default privacy settings. Despite mass uproar about the abuse of our privacy, every year we become comfortable with x2 times as much personal data being shared than the previous year.

Presenters discussed the increase in sales of George Orwell’s 1984 following the Snowden revelations and how this was never meant to be an instruction manual for the surveillance-heavy world in which we now live. The influence of Edward Snowden on this year’s event and on society was addressed, as he discussed how technology can protect us from mass surveillance. Industry leaders are arguing that data privacy will be a key differentiating feature of new start-ups. Questions were raised on how we can self-edit our data and who sets the precedent for default online privacy setting (given that “default” should reflect the majority of thinking); Facebook, Google or Governments?

Interestingly Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook argues that each year people want to share more and more about themselves. This content that people share is what makes the site so successful. However, in contrast Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp (which Facebook have now bought) collects barely any customer data and argues that he strived to provide a ‘great service & protect privacy’.

Recent hacks (e.g. Mumsnet and the heartbleed hacking bug) will heighten sensitivity of online privacy issues & online users may look for services that will protect their data online.  We think apps & websites that promise to protect data and possibly the development of services that help people control their own data will grow in success over the next few years. As concern grows (even though online users are not very proactive) anything that makes protecting your data online easy will be most successful.

The popularity of Snapchat highlights a change in how people share stuff online and we think its’ success is down to the fear that people have of the permanency of their online posts/updates. The shift in thinking behind these platforms is evident in Snapchat’s founder, Evan Spiegel, declaring “deleting should be default”.

PHD’s Anjali Ramachandran

Anjali discussed the importance of ‘open data, open brands’ and how partnerships can allow data sharing to give consumers something very special. She discussed the importance of brands to be open to partnerships in order to open up the platform to offer a better value exchange with consumers. In sharing data, consumers are constantly on the look out to benefit from original value. Importantly, it was agreed that brands and start-ups that voice issues and mark where they stand around data privacy will be a defining feature of their success with consumers.

Brave’s Dan Machen

Dan discussed 3 key points to consider when thinking about the future of data and what he calls “the superhuman experience”. These are:

  • HELP ME – whereby data is shared in a genuine value exchange between brand and consumer, whereby consumer’s data benefits the user’s experience/utility. A good example of this is Robert Scoble’s use of the airline app, TripIt, when he was faced with a cancelled flight.
  • KNOW ME –unite users to deliver a magic, tailored service. For example, Burger King’s user behaviour-tailored VoD pre-roll.
  • IMPROVE ME – the use of tech to better behaviours. Alfred Lui’s quote, “data without interpretation is just noise” For example, the launch of a new app called “Sense Mother” which have been designed to blend into your life and adapt to your behaviour without requiring any effort, training or care from you.

Dan highlights the importance for our culture to get to a set of shared values (right now, our audience is divided between those who welcome tech and others who are terrified by its capabilities and what it means in a 1984-data driven society). Just because we can, should we? Emotional intelligence is key here, especially when it comes to brands.

Karmarama’s Lawrence Weber

Lawrence discussed wearable technology (e.g. Google glasses) and how developers are trying to simplify these so that they enhance the human experience rather than complicate it. There was a consideration to have in mind for developers – should we be making things that people want, rather than making people want things?

The next big thing?

Wearable technology was one thing discussed. However, if wearing technology isn’t enough for the gadget nerd in you then you may like the concept of eating technology (new physical technology that we put into our bodies).  The development of microchips that we can consume and will communicate with our smartphones is underway. You can swallow the microchip and then check on your iPhone to see if you remembered to take the pill or if you have got enough sleep!




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