Highlights from the Opening Day of me Convention @SXSW
me Convention is the exciting new event collaboration between SXSW and Mercedes-Benz, uniting a mix of inspiration, interaction, music, art and community. Following the huge success of the first ever me Convention in Frankfurt 2017 in Germany, the story continues these days at SXSW in Austin, Texas! On Friday, me Convention launched their program during March 9 until 15 filled with top international speakers, workshops, live acts, co-working opportunities, a food court, yoga classes, and the special “Mystery Talks” on Pool Stage at Palm Park, a world on its own, just created for the time being.
Flip The Switch
“What I do might be ridiculous to some of you. But I have a goal that I work towards. It used to be: win the Olympics. Now it is: inspire people to get out.” With these words, Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Jan Frodeno, Olympic gold medal winner in men's triathlon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and three-time winner of the Ironman, entered an intimate and entertaining conversation with tech evangelist and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Guy Kawasaki at the me Convention stage on Friday night. Frodeno explained his profession (“swimming, biking, running, 365 days a year, with a team built around me”), his diet“Mediterranean, with good fats” and the seductions of Texas (“I’ll have to try brisket while I’m here, even if I’m vegetarian”).
When Guy Kawasaki pressed him on his tricks for winning, Frodeno revealed that he used “a lot of self hypnosis. It’s spooky, but it can help you to flip the switch, to deal with anxieties.” Frodeno said that he eventually managed to challenge his brain over exhausting his body: “It’s a proven fact that the body is never ever empty. There is always something left in the tank. Once you know you’ll never reach a 100 percent, you can start playing with your brain and see how close you get.”
Frodeno also spoke openly about the lows of his career, having to walk an entire marathon with back pain, “being taken over first by the girls and then by amateurs, asking yourself why you’re doing this”. He also revealed that he struggled after his Olympic win. “ The Olympic gold metal is the easiest goal you’ll ever set. It’s ready, it’s magic, it has so much history you can cling onto. It was with me since I was a kid. To find a new goal after that was really tough. Then I found the Ironman.”
The multi-champion invited the SXSW community on a run through Austin together with him - but warned hobby athletes to look for easy solutions to success: “Everybody wants a hack, a quick fix for your brain to overcome the body. It doesn’t exist. It’s just consistent hard work. Set a goal, attach emotion to it, and will become hard to miss a session.”
More humans, less algorithms
Earlier in the afternoon, a high-ranking panel of content curators gathered on Pool Stage to discuss the power of algorithms in the creative world as the opening of the “Mystery Talk” series. All of the five panelists called for more human influence over the increasing power of automated feeds curating content, influencing how people think, behave and even vote.
SXSW Cities Summit Programmer Julie Yost stressed the power of curation as an accelerator for talent - something that she as a gatekeeper strives in and machines don’t. “I have the privileged access to the SXSW platform and can use it to elevate people that I think need more attention. I don’t work like Instagram, which leads everybody to the same spot and changes the way we build things, just to have an Instagram moment.” She encouraged SXSW-goers to not stand in line and follow pre-selected trends, but “go to the room next door and discover something entirely new.”
Jeff Hancock, founding director of the Stanford Social Media Lab and Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University, called for the human gatekeeper to “come back and make us experience real information.” He claimed that still many people are not aware of social media being curated by algorithms, and stressed the scientifically proven fact that artificial lies travel much faster there than true stories.
“Tech is advancing much faster than humanity”, said Josh Rubin, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Cool Hunting, who moderated the panel. “But we can’t just trust algorithms. We need humanity on multiple steps along the way.”
The “Mystery Talks” by me Convention continue daily at 5:30 pm local time until March 15, 2018 on the Pool Stage at Palm Park. Prepare for some of the most cutting-edge thinkers at SXSW and get a feel for me Convention 2018! To see the full program, go to www.me-convention.com.
About South by Southwest
SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, TX, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features conference programming, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2018 will take place March 9-18, 2018.
About the me Convention
The me Convention is presented under the claim #createthenew. It provides an open and inspiring platform for creative people from many different industries and has a clear focus on dialogue, interaction, networking and entertainment. The contents of the me Convention cover important topics for shaping the future. Together with SXSW, Mercedes-Benz has identified five relevant topics derived from its CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service, Electric) future strategy:
New Creation, New Urbanism, New Leadership, New Realities and New Velocity.