Day 4 Wrap-up: Unexpected Moments Make SXSW Special

Hidden Gem of The Day

Chelsey Delaney and Chris Trew.

Chelsey Delaney and Chris Trew. (Photo: Katya Yefimova)

With the Austin Convention Center serving as the hub for SXSW Interactive, it’s easy to overlook the events that happen away from the hustle and bustle. I’m glad I ventured off the beaten path to check out a workshop on humor and design. The class was limited to about 10 people, and I joined an eclectic group that included a physician, a marketer and a developer.

I’m not a designer, but I thought the workshop would help me learn how to bring humor into solving problems at work and at school. The instructors, Chelsey Delaney and Chris Trew, did just that: They showed me that doing improv is similar to how I interact with people at work.

I asked Delaney, a UX designer, and Trew, a comedian and improv teacher, what lessons everyone can learn from humor:

“Part of being a humorist is being OK with failing,” Delaney said. “Using humor makes you more creative and more excited about (what you working on).”

According to Trew, research has shown that trying to be funny basically unlocks a part of your brain that otherwise goes unused. “The techniques you use to find humor can be used to find many other things,” he said.

I agree with that statement. I didn’t just learn more about what makes people laugh. I walked away with a fresh perspective on how I communicate.

Unexpected Moment of the Day

The digital crowd talks a lot about content strategy, multi-platform storytelling and native advertising. But away from high-powered panels and industry speak, less tech-savvy users are trying to make sense of all the new technology and do their best to use it to their advantage – sometimes in desperate circumstances.

A powerful reminder of this simple fact came at a session on using Reddit as a marketing tool (tip: handle with care). At the end of the concluding Q&A, Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht, got up to ask how to use Reddit and specifically AMA’s (Ask Me Anything) to raise support for her son’s defense.

Quote of the Day

Graphic by Jenny Burns.

(Graphic: Jenny Burns)

Disappointment of the Day

Flipsters were sad to see that a young couple brought their pet, a miniature pig, to Facebook’s after party Funny or Die. The little guy seemed scared to be surrounded by crowds of people and loud music. It’s cruel and irresponsible to use your pet as a prop. Not cool.

Best Meal of the Day

This taco and cider were not only gluten free and delicious, they were also free to press pass holders at SXSW Interactive. Tacos are definitely the signature food here in Austin.

Yummy taco

Yummy taco

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