I’m not even at South by South West, or SXSW as it’s known
by its hashtag on twitter, and yet I know what it’s all about. For all you folks wrapped up in SEPA, EMIR,
the PSD, Banking unions, bonus caps, the Banking Reform Bill etc, this may seem
to have zero relevance to you or your banking lives, but I assure you it does.
What’s it all about?
SXSW or South by South West is a show that started as a
small music and film extravaganza in Austin, Texas back in 1987, but has become
known over the world as a place where emerging consumer technologies are
Here and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are the two
major new tech events in the States each year, and SXSW is the one to be at if
you want to know what’s really cool in tech and design.
For me, it’s the place to spot the next big thing. For example, grabbing the headlines is
Makerbot, a 3D Printing firm that now offers 3D Scanning.
3D Printing is already transformational, as keynote speaker
and Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis made clear on the opening day.
3D printers are now delivering prosthetics for children born
without hands at low cost and allowing firms to prototype before they build a
prototype at low cost too.
Now, you can just point your laserbeam at a garden gnome and
scan the 3D image into your PC to print out another gnome … or PC or car or
whatever it is you’re going to try to digitise and print.
As I said at the start of the year, this is the year of the 3D
printer and now the 3D scanner.
Other major keynotes this year included the co-founders of PayPal Peter Thiel and Elon musk.
Thiel gave an interesting speech about when Facebook was offered $1 billion by Yahoo! to sell out in 2006.
"Full disclosure, I think that we should take the money and run," Thiel recalls.
"I was a little bit worried about it. The one partial rationalization I was able to come up with for not taking the money was that I looked at the history – two other companies were offered a billion dollars [by Yahoo] and had been turned down: It was eBay and Google.
"The argument that Zuckerberg finally came down on was that there were all these new things that we were going to build at Facebook. [Yahoo] had no definite idea about the future – they did not properly value things that did not yet exist. They were therefore undervaluing the business.
"The companies that are not profitable are actually companies that have a lot of ideas of what to do with money," Thiel said.
Thiel's compatriot in disruption is Elon Musk also gave a great quote:
"The things that I’ve chosen haven’t been optimized on a risk return basis. I didn’t think these were great opportunities, I just thought that something needed to be done to make a difference. I focus on disruptive change."
But the really big deal at SXSW has been the grumpy cat.
Grumpy cat is exactly that: a grumpy cat, and star of
He’s also been the star of SXSW, with a personal guest appearance
at the Mashable booth and fans have queued and queued just for a second to meet
this superstar cat, as shown in the video below
Now, we’ve known for a while that cats and kittens make the internet.
After all, this follows the superb I can has cheezburger phenomena …
… and lolcats is a meme
that goes around the world, as do puppies and babies.
These things are getting millions or billions of hits (like
Gangnam style) in some cases.
What’s this got to do with banking?
Well, it's all about marketing and some banks are great trend spotters. Some banks know the art of being in
on the latest consumer trends, from a branding perspective.
A case in point is Gangnam style, with many banks doing a
version for promo purposes on YouTube, although some are better than others …
… not saying which.
Now they’re all doing the Harlem Shake of course …
So, thinking about cats, shakes and the Gangnam style, why
not a grumpy fat cat for a bank.
You could even have grumpy bank cat doing the Harlem shake …
Now I think that’s brilliant … any thoughts?