2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Maker Culture & Digital Marketing

Written by Megan Simpson | February 18, 2014

Richard Goldsmith talks about the maker movement at SXSW 2014

Richard Goldsmith has more than 15 years of experience in digital, working for brands like Microsoft, Capital One, Jim Beam and Craftsman to change the way they engage with their consumers. Previously, as a journalist for USA Today, he developed an eye for identifying the trends that are poised to shape our culture into the future. At SXSW Interactive, he’ll discuss the trend of “maker culture” in his session, “Maker Culture & Digital Marketing”. Learn more in this installment of the Session Spotlight.

SXSW: What is “maker culture” and how do you plan to approach this topic at SXSW?
Goldsmith: Now that everyone has the potential to be a maker, consumers expect the ability to produce personalized experiences and products. So why should they care about your brand when they can make the awesome they need for themselves? This cultural shift represents a tidal change, and massive opportunity, for brands. We'll explain what it all means and how to take advantage of it.

SXSW: Have you previously spoken about this?
Goldsmith: Yes. I delivered a talk on this topic to a small group of the Chicago chapter of the Association of National Advertisers. They hadn't even begun to think about what the explosion of maker culture meant for their brands, let alone what they had to do to stay relevant and leverage the change.

SXSW: Why should registrants attend your session?
Goldsmith: SXSW attendees should show up and learn because this is the largest change in our culture in the last 20 years, combining shifts in technology, social media, crowdfunding and a generation brought up with the ability to make. If you don't understand what's happening in this movement, you'll be on a countdown to irrelevance.

SXSW: Have you been to SXSW Interactive before? When? What was your experience like?
Goldsmith: I attended SXSW Interactive in 2012 and 2013. My experiences were phenomenal. As a communication scholar, the festival provides an unparalleled opportunity to network and learn from other professionals at the brink of theory and practice.

SXSW: What excites you most about this session?
Goldsmith: Innovation was once considered the purview of large companies like GE and IBM. Then we had an era where select brilliant minds created world-shaking technologies. Now innovation in spaces from entertainment to transportation to home automation can come from anywhere. The gulf between idea to execution is smaller than ever, and that means our entire culture is changing thanks to a generation brought up knowing they can make their ideas reality. That's an incredibly disruptive concept, and we're going to see the traditional marketing and brand structures flipped on their heads in very short order.

SXSW: What is your favorite aspect of SXSW Interactive?
Goldsmith: The ideas. While I love seeing all the people in my field exchanging best practices, I tend to find the sessions that are farthest from my day to day. Things like the 100 Year Starship Project and game design sessions tend to stretch and change the way I think about my own projects and challenges far more effectively. And you only get that at SXSW.

SXSW: How should registrants approach networking at the festival?
Goldsmith: Turn to the people around you at the sessions you decided to go to and talk to them. There's nothing complicated about it. Just be willing to break free of the people you came with and find some folks you don't know.

SXSW: Do you have a favorite SXSW memory from years past?
Goldsmith: Yes. That's an easy one - meeting Chris Roberts. He single-handedly pulled me into technology by making games my poor computer could barely play. Memory optimization on MS-DOS was a cruel mistress.

SXSW: How can our audience connect with you? What’s your Twitter handle?
Goldsmith: It's @richqb, but don't follow me expecting regular updates consisting of technology and marketing wisdom. Typically I talk about movies, comic books and video games (PC and Xbox - anyone from Respawn Entertainment coming to SXSW should feel free to look me up and give me a chance at a Titanfall throw down). So if you're a fan of geekery, I'm your man.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “Maker Culture & Digital Marketing” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.