Texas' SXSW has come and gone, and we’re hard at work trying to process all of the things we’ve learned. Before we go into detail, we’d like to give you an exclusive look into the most spectacular speakers and notable encounters.
Amber Venz - “Good influencers aren’t necessarily the ones with the most followers!”
Female entrepreneurship is something we hugely support here at Start it @kbc. That’s why Amber Venz’s appearance at the Texan media and tech festival struck a chord with us. This fierce lady founded her own company, called RewardStyle, and she had plenty to say on ‘Digital Marketing in the Age of Influencers’. Influencer marketing is still a novelty in the Belgian market, but Venz has already managed to turn it into a solvent business model.
On top of that, she toppled some interesting misconceptions about the marketing niche. A good influencer doesn’t necessarily mean an influencer with tons of followers, for example. A Twitter user with 5,000 followers could be a lot more valuable to your company than one with 25,000.
Joe Biden - “We need more social relevance rather than all that VR stuff”
Former VP of the United States Joe Biden also had a few choice words to share with the SXSW audience: we need more social relevance, period. Biden talked passionately about The Cancer Initiative, which he founded during his time in the White House. Its purpose? To kick cancer to the curb once and for all, a feat that should surely be possible in this technological era.
The way he addressed the entrepreneurial crowd was quite the revelation. “You all have impressive tech brains, can’t you find a way to build an application that connects hospital so that they may work together, rather than conduct research as separate entities? We keep talking about technologies like VR, but let’s see how we can solve social issues,” he proclaimed.
Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands - “The Nederlands might have more startups, but they’re slightly more mature over in Belgium”
Spotted at the Belgian Startups.be booth: Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, who recently succeeded Neelie Kroes as the head of StartupDelta, an organization meant to put the Netherlands on the map as a great incubator for startups and tech companies alike.
In a candid interview with editor Magali De Reu, he divulged that he was impressed with the technological aptitude of Belgian startups. “Look, in the Netherlands we mostly have apps and online marketplaces. In Belgium, I see more advanced startups that specialize in things like fintech and biotech. The Netherlands might have more startups, but Belgian startups seem to have more maturity on average.”
Marc Jacobs - “I don’t think of platforms like Instagram as marketing tools”
American fashion designer Marc Jacobs sheds new light on the use of technology, and that’s the least you can say about the man’s bold statements. Jacobs casually admitted to barely understanding how social media works. An odd statement from someone who managed a wildly popular Instagram account just two years ago.
Today, the fashion icon does what we’re all doing on Instagram: posting selfies and #foodstagrams. “I don’t think of Instagram as a marketing tool,” he admitted. “The fun thing about social media is that you can show your human side and send emojis to your loyal audience. I guess some of that is marketing, but most of it is just being authentic.”
A sober yet daring statement to make at an event that sings technology’s praises!
Mae Jemison - “The future doesn’t ‘happen’, you create it”
Lastly, we have astronaut, engineer, entrepreneur, physicist and educator Dr. Mae Jemison to round up this list. She combines science, art and culture to solve social issues and to stimulate innovation. On top of that, she is the founder of the 100 Year Starship program, a private cooperation with high demands for space travel 100 years from now.
“The biggest technological revolutions took place in the 60s when we were traveling to the moon,” she said. “Now, we’re settling for a mission to Mars, but is that really ambitious enough? What if we were to aim for the next galaxy and travel across generations? It’s unimaginable when you think about the challenges and the solutions you’ll need to come up with. I want to ponder those dilemmas in a way that turns thoughts into innovative products and insights.
“The future didn’t just happen, it was created”, was the epitome of this conversation. This, in turn, translates into an exciting challenge for startups: the challenge not to settle for the status quo.
- Blogpost by Magali De Reu
More insights and tips on entrepreneurships from SXSW? Check back soon and get inspired by our blog!