(We have a guest blog this week from Dale Blasingame, our social media manager at Champion AC. He spent five days at the SXSW Interactive Festival this week, the country’s biggest technology convention. Here’s the most important thing he says he learned, and it has little to do with technology. -Ben)
I was asked this week for my one takeaway from from this year’s SXSWi festival.
Despite getting to interview some social media/online journalism icons like Jeff Jarvis and Gary Vaynerchuk, talking with Craig Newmark of Craigslist, or listening to amazing advice on my thesis topic or brand usage of social media, I kept coming back to an event I really didn’t even want to attend: the keynote from Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes.
I nearly skipped the keynote altogether. I remember asking myself why a guy from a shoe company is talking at a tech convention. But fate intervened, and I believe it has changed my life for the better.
In case you’re not familiar with TOMS Shoes, it gives away one pair of shoes for every pair it sells. Not only does it give away shoes, workers hand place the shoes on the feet of the children.
Much of the talk at the beginning of SXSWi was from people who felt a little weird being so enthusiastic about a tech conference just hours after a country was so devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. “It really puts things in perspective,” I heard several people say.
After a week of partying and allowing ourselves to move on with life, I believe Blake Mycoskie was at the closing day of SXSWi for a reason. He put things in perspective.
On Wednesday, I went and bought a pair of TOMS Shoes. That means a child who has likely never had a pair of shoes in their life will now have a pair. It’s a small step, but it’s the least I can do right now. It was an honor to become a customer of Blake’s company.
I am also lucky to work for a company that believes in social giving. Champion AC will once again sponsor fan drives in the coming weeks to provide box fans to families in San Antonio that cannot afford air conditioning in the summer months. We hope other small businesses and members of the community will join us in our mission.
If the only “big thing” to come out of this year’s SXSWi is that more businesses begin to recognize the benefits of social giving, then this year’s festival was an absolute home run.
Ben is a retired Combat Controller with the United States Air Force. He started Champion AC in 2007. Ben is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is happily married and an avid fan of the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Saints.