Great news: after spending a few days at SXSW, I am now an expert on SBV and the global banking system.

Isn’t everybody?

Maybe not. But I did get to witness the first-ever SXSW Interactive where bankers were the most sought-after celebs.

At this SXSW, for about 72 hours, instead of AI and GPT, all anyone could talk about was SBV.

And then the dam broke. As attendees headed to their Sunday night taco-eating competitions (aka dinner), the banking system was shored up, at least in a Scotch tape kind of way. Founders assumed they would probably not lose all their money, and then everyone could talk about literally anything else.

It was that night when I nearly got into a fight with a startup founder. All that pent-up SBV madness must have gotten to me.

Really though, I figured if there was anyone I’d meet in Texas this past week who I’d wanna get all Walker, Texas Ranger* on, it would have been someone who works in the governor’s office. But no, a friend introduced me to this founder, and I felt some moral obligation to tell them not just what was wrong with their startup, but their entire worldview.

Aren’t you bummed you didn’t introduce me to YOUR friends out there?

The short story is the founder told me they have some system to detect a lot of personally identifiable info (name, email, phone number, and more) from people who visit a site and don’t identify themselves. When I asked if this was kosher, he said it’s perfectly legal (umm, not exactly). I told him even if he could do it, it doesn’t mean he should, and it violated every sane person’s expectation of privacy. He told me he understood where I was coming from, and I corrected him that given his spurious reasoning, he clearly didn’t understand where I was coming from, and I proceeded to elaborate further.

I am so fun at parties.

When I saw our mutual friend the next day, he said the founder described the interaction with me as “kinda weird,” which is one of the most understated utterances anyone has said about me. I owe the founder a Shiner Bock.

Here are a few other quick vignettes of what I saw at SXSW:

Brands are (Kind of) Back
Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve seen a few eras of brand involvement. Around 2006-2010, it was very tech-focused, with the launches of Twitter and Foursquare helping get other brands’ attention. For much of the next decade, mainstream consumer brands like Pepsi, Chevy, and McDonald’s joined in, setting up experiences to reach the influential crowd. Kudos to Steve Sarner, then of social network Tagged, for arranging all the airport pickups in pre-Uber days that put Tagged on the map for so many of us back then.

After the Covid hiatus, last year saw fewer brands outside of the crypto onslaught. Many plans for the show, like plans for the 2022 Super Bowl, were made when crypto coins were riding all-time highs. During SXSW last year, the price of Bitcoin was still more than double what it’s been much of the year since (see Mediaocean’s blog for more on this).

This year, the most prominent brands were Amazon, which heavily plugged its Prime Video lineup, and HBO and Showtime. SXSW always strove to cross that chasm from entertainment to culture, and most brands didn’t try too hard for the culture part this time around. I did hear some buzz, including from an agency friend who I caught up with boarding the flight home, that certain non-entertainment brands scouting the 2023 show will make a bigger push in 2024.

Also, this has to be said: the winner for most awkward brand activation goes to… Roku City, which had one of the best-attended parties and smartest brand tie-ins the night when it came out that the company was one of the most exposed to SVB’s collapse. This was when there was still no plan to protect uninsured deposits. Kudos to all the purple-clad staff who kept it together during what had to be one of the more stressful weekends of their lives.

When I searched the official 2023 agenda for sessions about AI with a marketing angle, there were so few to choose from. Many more such sessions were part of the unofficial side events. Next year, generative AI will be everywhere. Just as GPT-4 arrived just a few months after ChatGPT and GPT-3.5, and Dalle-E 2 hit us when most thought Dall-E referred to either a country music legend or a cloned sheep, the festival couldn’t adapt at the pace of technology.

Don’t feel bad, SXSW. If Google was caught off guard, the rest of us can be forgiven.

web3 2.0
Can we just pretend the first era of web3 never happened? Who’s ready to call “do-over”?

So many of the better web3 ideas and applications were the babies thrown out with the bathwater. Some good ones remain; I’ve been seeing some promising demos lately and am working on getting a new NFT approach going to unlock value for those participating in the community. You know why I haven’t already? Because to do something well, it takes work. And marketers that want to put in the work have a shot at getting something out of it.

I’ve been burned (ahem, $CMO coin, ahem), and my guard is up, but I like to think the questions that I ask potential partners are way more pointed this time around. There’s a lot of tech worth vetting now. But it’s on the marketer or brand to provide the “so what” factor for their target audience.

When I posted a thread on LinkedIn about lessons learned from SXSW, I added this one:

Meeting some people like immigrant Ethan Starke who came to Houston from Lebanon and Hussein Khader who is Jordanian but sees a ton of opportunity for his business to expand in the US helped me appreciate that for many around the world, the American Dream is still very real. There were others I met like Stephen Feline facilitating closer connections between the US and London, and agencies like the Dutch code d’azur (h/t Esther Kroes) expanding their TX presence. As hard on ourselves as Americans should be, there are so many who see the best of us here and see this as the land of opportunity. Thanks all of you for the all-too-necessary reminder.

There’s still nothing like SXSW. When people asked me why I was there, I mentioned that prospects were there, and I talked about meeting folks from Serial Marketers.

Most of the time though, I just said, “These are my people.” And I couldn’t be more fortunate to have been in the same room and same city as all those brilliant thinkers, makers, creators, and doers who come out there.


*I have never seen an episode, but I imagine it’s all about Chuck Norris getting all Texan on people. I prefer the Tommy Lee Jones version anyway.


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(times EST unless otherwise specified)

  • 3/16,12pm (virtual): The Four Currents with Tom Daly. Register in advance on Zoom. Tom’s a legend, who ran mobile for Coke for years, among other key roles, and you’ll likely learn a ton from his framework
  • 3/22,12pm: The Mediaocean Current: AI & Automation. I will be part of the speakers for this webinar that will discuss the different types of AI applications, such as chatbots, voice search, and more.
  • 4/12: First Wednesdays in-person NYC, Mason Jar on E 30th between Park & Madison. See you there! Shifting this one since Wed 4/5 is the first night of Passover.
  • 4/19: Serial Marketers & U of Digital present… Navigating Identity Management with Shiv Gupta, Founder of U of Digital.
  • 5/9, 6-8pm (NYC in-person): How Marketers are really using Generative AI. Nominal $10 fee – RSVP on Eventbrite. Thanks to BrainStation for hosting us. Learn more about scholarships for their bootcamps.

March 22 – 25, Scottsdale, AZ
“As data-driven media explodes onto every available sightline, MediaPost’s Data and Programmatic Insider Summit brings a bigger funnel. In case studies, discussion sessions and MediaPost’s signature roundtables, we bring some of the most experienced digital marketers and media buyers together to share their case studies and best practices for navigating omnipresent digital media.”

March 22 – 24, Orlando
“Global Pet Expo, presented by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), is the pet industry’s premier event featuring the newest, most innovative pet products on the market today. In 2023, Global Pet Expo will take place March 22-24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The Show is open to independent retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers, and other qualified professionals. This show is not open to the general public.”

March 28
Free Online Event
“LDV Capital brings together top technologists, entrepreneurs and investors to discuss the cutting-edge in computer vision, machine learning and AI solutions to improve the world we live in. Speakers come from Mural, BioAge, Synthesia, Harvard Medical School, Insight Partners, Useful Sensors, Conviction, Niels Bohr Institute, Air Street Capital, Humanity, Northeastern University, Seedcamp, and more. Expect enlightening keynotes, inspiring panel discussions and empowering fireside chats for free from the comfort of your couch”

September 26-29, Washington D.C.
“Content Marketing World 2023, the largest gathering of content marketers in the world, is in an all-new location, Washington D.C., September 26-29. Produced by the Content Marketing Institute, #CMWorld is jam-packed with keynotes, sessions, workshops, and masterclasses, covering all aspects of content marketing. No matter your level of expertise, you can customize your experience at #CMWorld 2023. Come learn, network, and have fun making meaningful connections with fellow attendees and speakers before, during, and after the event. BONUS: Use the code SERIAL100 to save an extra $100 on your registration.”


Keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers for more. You can also see our full list of job resources here. Here are some great opportunities shared in these places or sent to me directly.

Growth & Social Strategist
United States only
$40 – $60/hr
“Responsibilities: -Execute and optimize our social media strategy across multiple social channels. -Determine new social media channel opportunities and test for effectiveness. -Oversee social research, planning, calendaring, creative development, publishing, moderation, and reporting. -Understand historical narratives in the crypto space and observe current industry events. -Monitor crypto and NFT trends to identify engagement opportunities. -Curate, write, schedule, and interact with social media posts. -Interface with and Support, Growth, Product, Brand, and Comms teams. -Maintain social media tracking, data presentation, and perform optimizations. -Follow and contribute to brand and content guidelines.”

Marketing and Communications Manager (Web3)
Remote; open to US-based candidates only
“The Marketing and Communications Manager (Web3) will be responsible for developing and executing our marketing and communications strategy, with a focus on leveraging web3 technology and ethos to engage and grow our community. This person will report to the CMO at Snickerdoodle Labs and work closely with cross-functional teams, including product, engineering, design, and business development, to ensure that our messaging and positioning are aligned with our product roadmap and business goals.”

Marketing Analyst
Via Mariana in the community
“Excellent content begins with incredible people. If you are passionate about content marketing and technology, and also looking for a startup with global potential, you’ll like what we are offering you. As a Content Marketing Analyst, you’ll be responsible for translating ideas into clear and didactic content for multiple channels. You’ll be in contact with the technology, product, design, and sales team. As part of the job, you will:- Help to plan and create content for multiple channels (newsletters, rich content, blog post, communities, social media, ads). -Use SEO techniques to improve our site’s performance. -Help keeping other teams engaged in spreading our content in multiple channels. -Help interns to develop themselves…”

Head of Growth & Community
Via Summer in the community
“The Head of Growth & Community will lead the efforts to build out Backdrop’s network and help opportunities flow between members. This role is equal parts design of a system that can scale to tens of thousands of members, and participation in that system yourself. You will work directly with thousands of the leading builders in crypto, and build the systems that connect them with each other, with us, and with the products we build to help them do amazing things.”

Also, check out the Serial Marketers job board

Other job resources (see a full list here):

  • Beeler.Tech: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
  • Braintrust: A freelance platform where you are the owner and where freelance talent keeps 100% of the bill rate.
  • Candidate: Featured marketing and sales jobs
  • 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)
  • Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
  • NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
  • Questions to Ask for a Marketing Role: What questions should you ask when starting a new marketing role or job?
  • Serial Marketers Job Board: Post regular and featured listings and subscribe for updates.
  • Venwise: Submit your job interests here and get in front of their roster of hiring leads; select “Serial Marketers” under “How did you find us”

Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I’ll share them.

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