Issue 89: South Bye
From Serial Marketer: "The Cutting Edge of Marketing”

Instead of waiting until Wednesday to publish this, there was a lot that I've been trying to process around about Austin shutting down South by Southwest (SXSW) this year. I'm sending this week's early, and we'll resume the normal schedule next week. 



That’s how many entries I had in Google Contacts mentioning “sxsw” in the notes.

426 people.

Those are just the ones I managed to tag properly.

Some of these are people who I knew before and got to know much better during South by Southwest over the past dozen years.

Most are people I met for the first time at SXSW, riding up to the Salt Lick, prepping for a talk, or waiting in line for a panel or a party or a pastry.

There’s no way it was just those 426. Most of those entries were written around 3 a.m. before I went to sleep or after 11 a.m. when I woke up, exhausted but functioning in large part to the wonders of that seltzery savior known as Topo Chico. The sparkling water has become the Viagra of SXSW, helping older festival-goers last just a little bit longer each night.

I can’t remember every one of those 426 people, but scrolling through those names, I can tell you stories about so many of them, and most of the best stories involve times we spent together at one or more SXSW festivals over the years.

As I looked at those names, I had to hold back a few Topo-y tears.

Hours before SXSW was canceled, I reached out to their housing desk, which offered to refund my hotel deposit, and the registration desk, which refused to refund my badge fee. I was grateful for the change in housing policy and hardly surprised I’d eat the badge cost. It didn’t make sense for me to go this year, and I had to make the tough decision after so many friends and businesses pulled out. I’m shifting around some of the projects I’m focused on, so I had other reasons to skip it. But still, I wanted to be there, coronavirus be damned.

Even after SXSW got canceled, and even after they said they will issue refunds or allow attendees to apply badge costs to next year (which I also requested when I wrote them, and which they also refused to do at the time), I still felt disappointed. I gave up on SXSW before Austin gave up on SXSW. As I looked through those 426 names, it wasn’t right. I should have stuck it out. I had more than 426 reasons to return.

I can’t tell you all the business value I got out of SXSW over the years, whether for my employers, my clients, or myself. And I won’t get into the return on investment of those MRY parties. Damn, those were fun though. Every now and then, I take out the 3D-printed sandstone Rev Run figurine that I ordered from Shapeways to accompany VIP invites to one of those bashes. Mini Rev hangs out in my desk drawer as a token, if not a totem, of all the creative energy that went into the events.

I’ll miss it all. SXSW 2021 can’t come soon enough.


This too shall pass.

Not for all of us. COVID-19 is deadly. Many more people will die, and there’s no softening that blow.

As a society though, whatever human society we’re a part of, we have a way of getting used to death. For decades, we were comfortable with all the deaths caused by tobacco products. For even longer, we’ve accepted the hazards caused by automobiles, even as the macro health issues have become clearer (sedentary lifestyles, pollution, ease of isolation, etc.). We are just now trying to address preventable deaths related to heart disease. Then there’s gun violence, which seems to be preventable in much of the world but is somehow less so in the country where I write this. With death, we are habituated to the one thing we tend to fear the most.

Then there’s the flu. We mobilized around making flu shots available, but the flu kills hundreds of thousands of people globally each year. We’ve grown comfortable with doing what we can to treat it, including by quarantining ourselves briefly when we have it, and we accept the risks.

By most predictions, we will have a coronavirus vaccine soon, whatever "soon" is (to those who contract it, it's clearly not soon enough). We have no clue how effective it will be and how fast it will be mass-produced and widely distributed. Once that happens though, we will then return to habituating ourselves to the risks.

That does not lessen the trauma of losing loved ones, and it doesn’t mitigate the short-term economic burdens that will cause so much chaos to many people’s livelihoods. None of this should be taken lightly. But, socially, we do accept many risk factors that can kill us and our peers. Somehow, however long it takes, coronavirus will be another one of those risks rather than some nuclear mushroom cloud that prevents us all from seeing the light of day again.


Video conferences – as substitutes for events, rather than group chats -- are terrible. They’re all the worst parts of conferences (slides, talking heads) without most of the upside (making emotional connections with the speaker who’s presenting right in front of you, meeting people serendipitously, those metallic bottles of Diet Coke that seem to only appear at hotel-catered business events).

You can’t have SXSW over video. There’s no bonding with people over a video pedicab ride. Through video, you can’t scramble to find a new restaurant for your vegetarian client because the first one you picked smells like an abattoir. There’s no sneaking out of a slow session or event with your seatmate and finding a funky food truck in a nearby parking lot.

Virtual events can be a temporary salve. They’re okay when you’re trying to learn a concrete skill, like changing a tire. They’re not so good when you’re bringing together experts on the history of wheels as a springboard to discuss how future applications of the wheel will change transportation, mobility, and urban development. It's like going from movie theater popcorn to the Jelly Belly buttered popcorn-flavored jelly beans. 

Virtual communities are wonderful. I am biased, and I believe they are needed even more now, and people will rely on them in ways they never had. The greatest forms of value that people can derive from them may happen outside of the community, especially in person. But that's not necessarily the case. I've done so much business with people who I've met through online communities as well as resources like Upwork and Fiverr, often without a single call.

Whether you're even in Serial Marketers, you should find a virtual community or two that resonates with you and commit to being more active, even for just five minutes a day. Set a reminder or a calendar appointment. Help others, share ideas, and build a presence so members know you and will be there for you when you need it. Your life may not depend on it, but in a year like this, your livelihood may. Start now.


SXSW will be back.

We’ll be back.

We’ll be shaking hands, and perhaps hugging more.

We’ll be filling planes and hotels and restaurants. 

We’ll be looking for food pantries to donate all this canned food to before it expires – for those of us who are fortunate to avoid quarantine.

We won’t all get through this, but as a whole, we will, and we will not forget what it means to be human.


I am making plans to bring together some would-be NYC-based SXSW fans next week; come join us. What are you making of yourself?


P.S.: I added a bunch of events to this issue (hoping some go on as scheduled), plus a new job-finding resource that's launching (Wanted) in the resources. 


Heidi Cohen offers her latest recap of tons of really smart people (and one less so -- namely me) sharing their definitions of what "social media" means today and the favorite tools they use. 

"If American women earned minimum wage for the unpaid work they do around the house and caring for relatives, they would have made $1.5 trillion last year," write Gus Wezerek and Kristen R. Ghodsee. Globally, that's $10.9 trillion. The article's less surprising to me after just finishing Caroline Criado Perez's Invisible Women, one of the most impactful books I've read in some time.


Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details. Obviously, many of these events are subject to change without notice. I'm including them with as much optimism as I can muster.

Let's just get together during what-would-have-been-SXSW so we can then go back to needing to fly halfway across the country to get together. I'm confirming the venue; RSVP to stay updated.

I love this free event series, as they screen startups very well. This month, following remarks by Jon Bond, Co-Founder of Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners, we'll see pitches from:
-Alon Leibovich, CEO & Co-Founder, BrandTotal
-Dan Pantelo, Founder & CEO, Marpipe
-Colin Jacobsen, Co-Founder & CEO, Arlene  



If investing in booze is more your thing, join this from my friends at Gotham featuring:
-Matt Bruck of Eaters Drinkers
-Jesse Falowitz of Mizu Shochu
-Kyungmoon Kim, Master Sommelier

-Eamoon Rockey of Rockey's Botanical Liqueur
-Effi Panagopoulos of Kleos Mastiha Spirit

Granted, if samples are provided, I might have to get here too. 
This is a very smart annual event from Columbia Business School. The focus: "sharing knowledge on how innovation and technology affect the ways organizations build and maintain brands."

Awards ceremony: March 27, 2020, in Venice, Italy
Voting ends today!
BOLD Awards recognizes top companies, projects and individuals powering breakthroughs around the world.

April 1
Serial Marketers has teamed up with First Wednesdays to bring back this long-standing tradition in NYC. Every month, we meet at the top-floor penthouse bar from 6-9. While Zack Rosenberg and Rachel Herskovitz post the event links on Facebook, if you want the recurring invite on your calendar, just let me know, and I'll add you to it. I'm also now sending updates via Meetup.



Gotham is back - like a peacock! ("30 Rock" reference). Panelists at this include David Perlmutter of Perlmutter Properties, Duke Long of the Duke Long Agency, and Nikki Greenberg of Real Estate of the Future and Women in PropTech. 

April 29-30
I loved this event so much in New York that I'm joining them in Chicago as both a speaker and media sponsor. I'll be speaking about how to build and run a successful B2B community, and of course I will be including examples from many others, with a bit of experience covering mistakes I've made that others can learn from.

May 5-7
The annual slate of thought-provoking programming returns. This is another can't miss event, even as the topics it covers expand way beyond social media as most of us know it.

May 13-14
"The premier global gathering in visual tech" is run by one of my favorite firms of any sort out there, LDV Capital. They specialize in bringing some of the best people together in all sorts of ways.


Reach out to me if you want introductions or any additional information, and let me know if you have other job postings you'd like to share. There have also been many job updates within Serial Marketers, so if you're part of that, be sure to check the #jobs channel for more. 

Senior Communications Associate
"Luminary Labs seeks a digital-savvy communications specialist to support public-facing initiatives, including open innovation programs, accelerators, and more, on behalf of our Fortune 500, government, and nonprofit clients. This is a unique opportunity to help our clients communicate complex problems, learn directly from senior leadership, and grow within a consulting firm as an in-house communications and marketing expert. This role reports to our Communications Manager."

Product Marketing Manager
LiveIntent writes, "The Product Marketing Manager (PMM) will play a key role in refining and communicating the value proposition of LiveIntent products to marketers and publishers." Apply below or see Kerel in Serial Marketers.  

Account Manager, Programmatic
Via David K. in Slack: The Account Manager is responsible for all phases of the Varick post-sale process. This entails supporting the Sales Team through the post-campaign life cycle post campaign analysis, wrap up reporting, and liasoning with traders to ensure campaign success. The Account Manager collaborates across all operational teams as well as communicates directly with clients to provide consultative support and best in class client service through strategic thinking.

VP Marketing
See details here. Reach out if you want me to refer you their way:

A strategic and creative marketing professional that has a wide breadth of experience in multiple marketing disciplines. This person:
*Will excel at building Axio's brand voice and image
*Can project manage and execute effective demand generation campaigns through events, social media, and online channels
*Has interest or curiosity about the cybersecurity space and the evolution of the industry.

Axio helps organizations understand cyber exposure, calculate risk, and make data-driven decisions that improve their security and risk posture.  

Director of Product Marketing
Via Dorothy in Slack: "I’m hiring a Director (head) of Product Marketing at Paxos in NYC. Paxos is a B2B fintech startup using blockchain tech, building infrastructure to make assets more accessible and to make them move faster in a new, open financial system. The company is full of mission-driven, smart, kind, humble, ambitious and collaborative people. Looking for a player/coach to build and run this brand new function." DM or email her in Slack, or apply directly. I can make an intro as needed.

Other job resources:
  • Ad Ops Online: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
  • Built in NYC: Jobs at a range of levels and functions, as long as you're okay working in this quaint, backwater hamlet.
  • ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster, but I don't profit from it).
  • Facebook Groups: NYC Ad Jobs & Networking
  • TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups.
  • VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads (but it might not).
  • Wanted (new): Wanted helps top talent in tech and marketing find a job at your desired pay. Plug in your salary, stay anonymous at first, and connect with companies that want to recruit you.
Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I'll share them.


David Berkowitz, publisher


100+ TECH RECOMMENDATIONS (updated regularly)

18 TYPES OF STARTUP MARKETERS (now in quiz form, thanks to Riddle)

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