When Work and Play Come Together

We’ve all heard the cliche … “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While maybe this line might have been swallowed with glass-half-full optimism before we all entered the workforce, we now know that work is work, and even Rihanna has to be on time for sound check. Some parts of “the job” are more fun than others, and many times, you’re asked push yourself (i.e. work hard) to accomplish your goals. This type of work is the probably some of the most intense and demanding kind you can do, but it’s also makes you feel alive.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of assisting with our brand activation at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX for the 5th year in a row. Hewlett Packard Enterprise was partnering up with Fast Company for their Grill at the Cedar Door. My team was in charge of making it social. Sounds fun right? It was… but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t work.

My weekend started off on Thursday at W2O Group’s PreCommerce Summit, a day of short Ted-like talks focused on the solving current marketing challenges and looking ahead to the future of the communications industry. Special guests, clients, and W2O reps present on what’s next, the technology that’s impacting all of us, how its changing business, as well as other aspects of our lives outside of work. My favorite part of the day, of course, was lunch, where I got to socialize IRL (in real life) with my old friends at W2O Group and former clients from when I was on the agency side. It felt like a high school reunion (in the best way)! It made me feel truly loved to see how people I haven’t talked to in years greeted me so warmly. This event would kick off a non-stop, super-charged five days that I’m still recovering from (thanks, Daylight Savings Time).

After PreCommerce, our team headed to The Cedar Door bar and restaurant, where production crews were putting the finishing touches on what would become the Fast Company Grill. It was fascinating to see the amount of detail and planning that goes into where a light should go, or how high a sign should be placed.

One of the more visual aspects of the Grill was the Living Progress ChallengeMural, illustrated by local Austin artist, Will Bryant. We watched in awe as the life-size mural representing crowd-sourced tech ideas was unrolled and stretched onto a 7 foot-high frame. Over the next few days, this adult coloring book page would be filled in by thousands of guests (with markers in the brand color palette!). We even got to hang out with the talented artist, Will, who turned out to be a very sweet human being that I hope we get to work with again.

The next room was inhabited by an impressive structure of laser beams of green lights connected by white orbs. This light installation represented how connected devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) interact with each other through Distributed Mesh Computing (DMC). It drove conversation about howHewlett Packard Labs is developing a solution to manage the overwhelming amount of data created as a result of IoT, called the Machine.

Other than the impressive lights to help illustrate The Machine, we invited YouTube star Julian Smith and his producer Tyler to cover the event on social media and create a video about his experience at SXSW. It was quite a sight to see Julian interacting with distinguished HPE Fellow (AKA super smart dude),Kirk Bresniker, in an unorthodox “meeting of the minds” (seen below). We had an absolute ball shooting the video – we shot from 10AM until 6PM with barely any breaks. It was one of many instances throughout the weekend when adrenaline was our coffee and laughter was our sustenance. The goal of the video is to bring what HPE was communicating at SXSW to the masses is a funny, relatable way and we can’t wait to share it with you!

So, see you in 2017, SXSW! ‘Til then, on to the next “work thing” that’s actually secretly really fun.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *