So SXSW continued, as did the lessons and advice offered by an array of speakers. Among them were some pearls of wisdom:

  • Trust is one of the biggest threats for a digital future – From healthcare professionals, to regulators, to Elon Musk himself, lots of people had lots to say about trust during SXSW. As more and more industries find themselves disrupted by digital, it has never been more important for consumers to trust in technology. For startups, this means building ‘trust’ into your brand and your communications strategy from day one.
  • Your happiness is in your hands – What would happen if you tried to ‘hack’ your own happiness? Tal Shmuel, founder of HackMeThon, wanted to remind SXSWers that our bosses aren’t responsible for our happiness; we are. Tal’s tips for hacking your life? Embrace feedback and find your sweet spot – that area where all the stuff you like, the skills you’ve developed and the things you’re interested in overlap.
  • No one has a roadmap to success, even if it feels like it – It can be easy to look at success stories from other entrepreneurs or high-profile individuals and believe that they had a plan from the start. Turns out it’s not true. The affable Tatiana Maslany (star of sci-fi series Orphan Black) received loads of knockbacks before landing her big break. Entrepreneurship, like acting, is an unpredictable journey.
  • Scientists are doing some really cool stuff – From crowdsourcing clinical trials, to curing depression via psychedelics, to redesigning rockets… science has never been so exciting. Medtech and biotech are rapidly growing industries and there’s some serious capital being pummelled into them at the moment. It might be time to dust off the science kit you had as a kid and start learning.
  • ‘Innovation’ is dead – at least in marketing terms. When everything - from banking to domestic services to hairdressing - is described as ‘innovative’, it’s time to rethink your marketing messages. And if you want to be seen as innovative, you need to show not tell your customers. Make your product the best on the market, respond quickly to customer feedback (and let them know when you make changes) and trust your employees to be your ambassadors. Then you have a chance of standing out.


Stay tuned for more 'lessons learnt' in the coming weeks.