Making The Most of Your Time At SXSW: 20 Can’t Miss SXSW Sessions

The Case Foundation is heading to SXSW this month for five days of Interactive programming and events. While there, we will certainly dine on breakfast tacos and good ole’ Texas barbecue, but most importantly we will participate in and host a series of engaging can’t miss SXSW sessions and activations onsite designed to turn interest in to action.

In particular, the Case Foundation is excited to interact with SXSW participants at one of our sessions featuring our own Jean Case, Steve Case, Emily Yu, Sarah Koch as well as to debut our first-ever #GetInTheArena Lounge, in partnership with Oculus (at the JW Marriott from March 11th to March 15th). There, we invite you to “Get In The Arena” and share how you will turn intention into action on the causes you care about, learn about the future of social good and hear more about the important work the Foundation is leading throughout the year. A few highlights:

  • Record a short film in our 360-degree video OrcaVue that will capture your very own “Get in the Arena” video moment;
  • Check out the virtual reality videos courtesy of Oculus for Good;
  • Donate to a charity of your choice with GoodWorld as they bring the #donate phenomenon to attendees live on site;
  • Demo our soon-to-be-released Impact Investing Network Map;
  • Test your knowledge of the inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem;
  • Share what you are going to do to “Get in the Arena” in 2017.

Veterans of SXSW will tell you there are countless sessions and meet-ups on just about every issue you care about—from ocean exploration, to inclusive entrepreneurship, to tech for good platforms that are changing the way we champion causes. To make the best use of your time at SXSW, here are 20 sessions that we think you shouldn’t miss:

MARCH 10th


1. The Rise of Academic Incubators
11:00am – 12:00pm
Hotel Van Zand, Lady Bird Ballroom

Join Texas A&M, Harvard University and more as they share how universities are responding with pathways, such as curriculum enhancements, mentorship programs, and physical incubator space, to facilitate connections to students, potential investors and industry leaders

2. Funding Our Future: Investing in Diverse Startups 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Hilton Room 400-402

Valmo Ventures, Base Ventures and Connectivity Capital Partners share why the growing trend of more tech startups being founded by Women, Latino, Black and Asian founders, greater investment in these ventures is needed to ensure the innovation and economic growth across all communities that these founders represent as the global population becomes more diverse.

3. Convergence Keynote Photographer Cory Richards 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 pm
Convention Center Ballroom D

A climber and visual storyteller, Richards was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year (2012) and a National Geographic Fellow (2015). His photography has appeared in National Geographic Magazine, Outside Magazine, Man of the World, and The New York Times.

MARCH 11th


4. Navigating a Rapidly Changing and Connected World Steve Case and Beth Comstock 9:30am – 10:30am
Convention Center Ballroom EFG

Sensors that track a food’s temperature from source to store. Hospitals designed to avoid misdiagnosis. Traffic lights that actually respond to traffic. These are the changes we are likely to witness in the Third Wave: a period in which entrepreneurs will use technology to revolutionize major sectors—healthcare, manufacturing, education and food—and transform the way we live. Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and CEO of Revolution and Chairman of the Case Foundation, and Beth Comstock, Vice Chairman at GE, discuss how to adapt to the changes coming our way.

5. Changing the Face of Entrepreneurship with Jean Case 11:00am – 12:00pm
Hilton Salon C

Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. Tech pioneer and investor Jean Case explores the journey of fearless entrepreneurs who are changing the way business is done. She sits down with Reena Ninan of CBS News to discover the wide range of dynamic pioneering founders who are closing the opportunity gap and scaling creative solutions to persistent global problems. Challenge the traditional notions that entrepreneurs are exclusively wealthy, Ivy League educated white men in this conversation on how a new breed of entrepreneurs from all walks of life are fueling economic growth and shattering the status quo.

6. How Elections Change Next Gen Cause Engagement 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Hilton Salon F

Fact: Millennials value cause engagement. But what happens during an election year? Could politics influence how this generation participates in social causes? Achieve, in partnership with the Case Foundation, conducted a multi-stage research study on the millennial generation’s cause engagement as related to their political ideologies. The study measured how the 2016 U.S. presidential election affected how Millennials across the country engaged with social causes. The final 2016 Millennial Impact Report identified what, if any, demographic factors are connected to engagement trends. The final report will be debuted exclusively at SXSW and reveal key shifts that will alter how we think about this generation of changemakers. Speakers include Emily Yu of the Case Foundation, Abby Philip of the Washington Post, Carolyn DeWitt of Rock the Vote and Amy Thayer of Achieve.

7. Payments Gone Viral: The Rise of Social Commerce 3:30pm – 4:30pm
JW Marriot Salon D

Augmented reality. Hashtag payments. Messenger bots. The payments space is fundamentally changing: cash and checks gave way to credit and debit cards, which are now being replaced by apps. In an era where social proof reigns supreme, how is social media shaping the future of commerce. Meet a diverse cross-section of companies pioneering social payments: the ability to buy, pay and give on social media. Moderated by finance veteran Hans Morris (Visa, Citigroup, Nyca Partners), this session shows how the latest technologies enable people to pay where they play. Speakers include Dale Nirvani Pfeifer of GoodWorld, Kahina Van Dyke of Faecbook, Hans Morris of Nyca Partners and Ambarish Mitra of Blippar.

8. Harlem: The New Tech Frontier 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Hilton Salon E

Join Jessica O. Matthews of Uncharted Play as she explores how the startup is democratizing energy access worldwide, and changing the face of innovation. With its core technology MORE, (Motion-Based, Off-Grid, Renewable Energy) – a scalable system of micro-generators that can sustainably power cities – the company is eyeing infrastructure opportunities in emerging markets.

MARCH 12th 


9. Keynote with Lee Daniels
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Convention Center room 18ABCD

Lee Daniels is a widely recognized director, writer, producer, and philanthropist in both the film and television space. He is perhaps best known for the 2013 critically acclaimed box office smash Lee Daniels’ The Butler, in addition to his 2009 feature Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, which was nominated for six Academy Awards including “Best Motion Picture of the Year” and “Best Achievement in Directing.” The film also made history as Daniels became the first African-American to be nominated for the DGA’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Award.

10. Humanitarian Design In Action 11:00am – 2:00pm
Hilton Salon D

In recent years, universities across the country have been increasingly engaging with the entrepreneurial ecosystem, developing programming internally to cultivate entrepreneurial activities and working to bring entrepreneurs into the university. Join MIT, Rice Univesity, StartX and the University of Chicago as they explore what bridges are currently being built to facilitate flows of information and people between universities and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

11. Tech for Good: Solutions for the Refugee Crisis 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Westin Continental 2

When lives are at stake, it can be difficult to figure out how we can make a real difference. The Humanitarian Design Summit with Google, Facebook and Crack + Cider is about meeting the people who are using everyday design practices to prevent suffering and save lives. This workshop will task participants with rapidly designing responses to a real world crisis scenario. The goal isn’t to solve a difficult humanitarian problem, instead it’s an opportunity to test out the principles of Humanitarian Design in a risk-free environment with world-class designers.

* This session requires RSVP, and access will only be available to badge types listed under “Primary Access.” RSVP HERE.

MARCH 13th


12. How Tech Companies Can Give Back to Communities
12:30pm – 1:30pm
JW Marriot Salon D

Join Andrew Keen, Elaine Weidman-Grunewalk from Ericsson, Gary Shapiro of Consumer Technology Association and John Donovan from AT&T as they explore game-changing technologies and disruptive innovations and the sharing economy bring the power to improve our lives and what are the best practices that allow “Technology for Good” to authentically come into play with both the bottom line and corporate responsibility and community engagement.

13. Turning Inspiration Into Action on Instagram 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Hyatt Regency Ballroom 1

With over 600 million users, Instagram is the 2nd largest platform behind Facebook. From curated content to real life moments, Instagram is a place for inspiration and discovery. But how can marketers move inspiration and discovery to action? In this session, Instagram’s Michael Hondorp, the retail lead for the brand, will discuss the most innovative ways brands are driving impact with Instagram. From using ad formats in unexpected ways, to developing ideas customized for the feed, attendees will leave inspired to think differently about creating for the platform.

14. Interactive Keynote: Adam Grant 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Convention Center Ballroom D

Wharton’s top-rated professor, a New York Times writer on work and psychology, and author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Rule the World and Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. Grant has been recognized as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers, and Fortune’s 40 under 40.

15. Kimbal Musk on Trust: The Currency of Our Generation 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Convention Center Ballroom EFG

Musk sits down with Fast Company magazine’s Amy Farley exploring the ability of consumers to uncover truth and authenticity in seconds with the help of the Internet is creating incredible opportunities in the food industry. As cofounder of The Kitchen, a family of businesses working in tandem to bring #realfood to everyone, he will discuss how farmers, consumers, and companies are demanding and delivering trust back to the table.

MARCH 14th


16. Investing to Change The World
9:30am – 10:30am
Convention Center Ballroom EFG

This panel will offer practical and powerful solutions for people who want to generate positive impact on society through their investments. Join Ben Jealous and Karina Funk of Kapor Capital, with Dune Thorne from the Brown Advisory and Victoria Fram of Village Capital as they explore the forefront of impact investing and will explore opportunities that range from green bonds to public equities to private equity investments. You can generate profits AND progress by investing in companies with cutting-edge environmental strategies, in bonds that fund clean energy or support low-income communities, and in innovative private investments that seek to drive social change.

17. National Geographic Explorers Changing the World 11:00am – 12:00pm
JW Marriott Room 203-204

National Geographic pushes the boundaries of exploration to further our understanding of the planet and empower us all to generate solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future. Meet the Emerging Explorers—fearless young scientists, conservationists, storytellers, and innovators who are harnessing technology to expand the frontiers of exploration. Join a discussion about taking risks, being bold and failing forward to change the world through technology for good with National Geographic Explorers Topher White and Erika Bergman and CEO Gary Knell.

18. How to Fundraise Without Silicon Valley 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Hilton Salon C

We are witnessing a new wave of investment and entrepreneurship in the United States. How can we level the playing field for women-entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color to fund, grow and scale their thriving businesses? Learn both investor and entrepreneur perspectives on what it takes to build and back inspiring companies and bring the deal process to life for diverse founders. Join Earl Robinson of Consequent Capital, Sarah Koch of the Case Foundation, Nicole Sanchez of eCreditHero and Carolyn Rodz of Circular Board for this engaging discussion.

MARCH 15th


19. Nonprofits Get the Keys to the VR Kingdom
12:30pm – 1:30pm
JW Marriot Salon 3-4

Virtual Reality has been touted as the ultimate empathy engine, immersing viewers in experiences that can open their eyes and create personalized memories for important causes. To widen the reach of this unique immersive technology to deserving nonprofits, Oculus has created the “VR for Good” workshop that pairs budding filmmakers with veteran VR talent to craft powerful storytelling pieces for a variety of featured charities and causes. Participants in the inaugural launch of this program will discuss their process in collaborating with these nonprofits and how the program combats the pitfalls that worthy causes often face with innovative marketing approaches.

20. How Brands Do Well By Doing Good 3:30pm – 4:30pm
JW Marriot Salon D

Cynics believe a marketer’s biggest goal is to get a consumer to click on an ad and purchase a product. This is especially true when it comes to digital advertising, which is immediately measurable, both in its success and failure. That’s what we call short-term thinking. The best brands think about themselves—and their stories—in the long term. They consider how to connect with consumers in a way that feels authentic, and that communicates something about what the brand stands for, something that goes far beyond whichever product they’re currently peddling. Upworthy presents the brands that do well by doing good.

Have a session or event that the team shouldn’t miss? Tweet us @CaseFoundation. We look forward to seeing you there!

SXSW 2017 PanelPicker – Vote Today

Every year the Case Foundation and our partners submit innovative and compelling panel ideas for consideration to be included at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW). Last year, we were excited to host or be a part of 12 amazing sessions at SXSW, ranging from inclusive entrepreneurship to online movement building through hashtags. All included incredible speakers, invaluable lessons and memorable quotes to walk away with.

This year, we’ve submitted 11 fantastic panel ideas for the SXSW PanelPicker process, and we need your help to vote to get them to SXSW 2017. Below are descriptions of each panel, along with the link that takes you directly to the page to vote for that session, and a tweet for you to share with your networks to help spread the word. Find your favorite panels below and be sure to vote by September 2, 2016!

Changing the Face of Entrepreneurship

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/67551

SXSWPanel_Ent4AllJeanHow can we level the playing field for all entrepreneurs—particularly women and people of color—in all places in order to create stronger communities, close the opportunity gap and scale creative solutions to persistent problems? Join tech pioneer and investor Jean Case as she challenges the traditional notions that entrepreneurs are wealthy, white men in this discussion on how women and entrepreneurs of color are fueling economic growth and creating scalable businesses. Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. Explore the journeys of fearless entrepreneurs of color and women who are changing what it means to be a startup founder.

Speakers:

Tweet this: Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. Vote for “Changing the Face of Entrepreneurship” in the #SXSWPanelPicker bit.ly/Ent4AllSXSWvote

 

Emerging Explorers Changing the World Through Tech

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/66014

SXSWPanel_ExplorersNational Geographic is one of the world’s largest scientific and education organizations working to turn interest into action—to inspire people to care about the planet and protect it through exploration. Through the Emerging Explorers program, they unite fearless young scientists, conservationists, storytellers, and innovators who are harnessing technology to expand the frontiers of exploration. Join Jean Case and Gary Knell of National Geographic as they highlight the next generation of explorers who are taking risks, being bold and failing forward to change the world through technology for good.

 

Speakers:

Tweet this: #SXSWPanelPicker Vote to hear how @NatGeoExplorers harness #tech to expand frontiers of exploration #BeFearless bit.ly/ExplorersTechSXSWvote

 

Using Data to Unlock Capital

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/66995

SXSWPanel_DataCapitalAcross the country, data scientists and developers are working alongside experts in the impact market to forge connections through data that can scale innovative social businesses. Sounds great! So what’s the problem? Data can be hard to come by and the path to connecting people to good data isn’t always clear. Luckily, a growing number of tools with innovative, data-powered interfaces are being developed right now that empower investors, consumers and entrepreneurs to make informed, socially responsible decisions with strong information. What’s ultimately decided around data transparency and reliability has the potential to change the future of how we invest in and grow transformative ideas.

Speakers:

Tweet this: How can data unlock capital for social impact? Vote to help this panel get to #SXSW #impinv bit.ly/UnlockCapitalSXSWvote

 

How to Fundraise Without Silicon Valley

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/67828

SXSWPanel_FundraiseSVWe are witnessing a new wave of investment and entrepreneurship in the United States. How can we level the playing field for women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color to fund, grow and scale their thriving businesses? Learn both investor and entrepreneur perspectives on what it takes to build and back inspiring companies and bring the deal process to life for diverse founders.

 

 

Speakers:

Tweet this: How can we level the field for women & entrepreneurs of color to fund, grow & scale? Vote this panel to #SXSW bit.ly/FundraiseSXSWvote

 

Best of SXSW

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/68267

SXSWPanel_BLabBusinesses are the engine of economic growth, and B Lab believes that they are also an engine for good social and environmental outcomes. Best of SXSW invites business leaders at SXSW to measure, compare and improve their impact. Take the Quick Impact Assessment to see how your business stacks up, then learn how you can improve your score and your impact. Hear from the B Lab team and meet other local and global business leaders striving to improve the quality of life for their employees, customers and communities. B Lab is seeking to empower all businesses to be a force for good by measuring what matters, and now you can be a part of the movement.

Speakers:

Tweet this: Vote to hear @BCorporation & @CaseFoundation at #SXSW on how business can be a force for #good bit.ly/BestOfSXSWvote

 

Going Live With 2 Billion Of Your Closest Friends

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/66640

SXSWPanel_FBLiveTake a deep dive into Facebook Live with digital leaders from the Case Foundation, AJ+ and Facebook. Explore how brands are captivating audiences and using powerful, real-time storytelling through the largest social media platform in the world. From going live with refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, to bringing Broadway to the digital world, to activating the Millennial generation for good, learn from our panelists’ wealth of experience covering global events and high-profile influencers. This workshop will leave participants with tangible methods to experiment and expand their own Facebook Live activations. Leave with best practices on how to set up a quality broadcast on any budget.

Speakers:

Tweet this: Take a deep dive into #FacebookLive w/digital leaders @CaseFoundation @ajplus @Facebook. Vote for this #SXSW panel: bit.ly/FacebookLiveSXSWvote

 

Follow the Crowd—for Good

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/67780

SXSWPanel_GoodWorldCrowdfunding is changing the landscape for nonprofit fundraising online. Today there is a growing phenomenon, with dozens of platforms helping organizations using crowd-based tools to reach and exceed their fundraising goals. Join digital pioneers and fundraising champions from the Case Foundation, GoodWorld and more as we explore new and tested approaches to crowdfunding, the power of experimentation, how to tailor creative projects for your campaigns, and what’s new in rewards-based fundraising. Learn how to unlock the power of crowdfunding to drive new innovations, advance game-changing projects and ultimately harness energy and dollars to change the world.

Speakers:

Tweet this: Follow the Crowd — for Good! Vote on #SXSWPanelPicker to learn how crowdfunding is changing nonprofit fundraising: bit.ly/CrowdfundingSXSWvote

 

Virtual Reality—A New Lens for Social Change

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/66544

SXSWPanel_VR4GoodVirtual reality is taking the multimedia world by storm. Whether you’ve been transported to Pluto, melting glaciers, or the frontlines of the refugee crisis, immersive video experiences such as these are transforming how stories are being told and experiences are being shared. The ability to bring an issue to life such as hunger, poverty, climate change and countless other challenges is game changing for the social sector. Join us as we explore the new frontiers of virtual reality with leading technology developers and storytellers who are using VR for Good.

 

Speakers:

  • Emily Yu, The Case Foundation (@DCxchange)
  • Sally Smith, The Nexus Fund (@Smith_Sally)
  • Chris Milk  (@milk)

Tweet this: Vote to help the panel “Virtual Reality – A New Lens for Social Change” make it to #SXSW bit.ly/VR4GoodSXSWvote

 

How Elections Change Next Gen Cause Engagement

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/65678

SXSWPanel_10Fact: Millennials value cause engagement. But what happens during an election year? Could politics possibly influence how this generation participates in social causes? In November, we learn not only who the next President of the United States will be, but also, for the first time, we are able to track and document the impact of an election on the way in which Millennials engage with social causes. Through the 2016 Millennial Impact Report, Achieve and the Case Foundation identified what—if any—demographic factors are connected to engagement trends. Join us as we release the final wave of survey results exclusively at SXSW and share how organizations can motivate this generation.

Speakers:

Tweet this: Learn How Elections Change NextGen Cause Engagement – vote to see this panel at #SXSW: bit.ly/NextGenSXSWvote

 

Gaming for Good: Changemaking Becomes A Gamechanger

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/66435

SXSWPanel_Gaming4GoodIncentivizing people to do good is nothing new… but making it fun and entertaining, now that’s a more recent shift in how changemaking is conceived, thought of and done. Whether it is through raising money through crowdfunding platforms; offering prizes in exchange for actions taken; or watching your favorite gamer play a game and tipping them—knowing that a portion of the money will go to support a nonprofit. The increasing popularity of gamification for good online is helping to bring forth new models of engagement that are creating real world solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges. Find out how games are fundamentally changing how change is made.

 Speakers:

Tweet this: How is #gaming fundamentally changing how change is made? Vote to see this panel @ #SXSW bit.ly/Gaming4GoodSXSWvote

 

How Media Brands Thrive 100+ Years Later

Vote at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/65479

SXSWPanel_Media100YrsMore than 200 years of content and rich history exists between the global media powerhouses of National Geographic and Atlantic Magazine. While new technology and changing business models usher in a steady stream of competition, these brands continue to thrive. So what sets them apart? Learn from the media platforms that have adapted over decades and are still publishing today reaching nearly 1 billion consumers across the globe. Explore the evolution of their digital platforms, the shifts in American news consumption, trends that are captivating the media industry, key findings on the habits of the modern news consumer, and the standout traits of the most enduring media brands.

Speakers:

Tweet this: 200+ yrs of experience exist btwn @NatGeo & @TheAtlantic —Vote 4 this #SXSW panel on how 100 yo media brands thrive bit.ly/100yrMediaSXSWvote

The Art of Storytelling: Sparking a Conversation on Inclusive Entrepreneurship

At SXSW 2016, the Case Foundation took the stage to engage in an important conversation on inclusive entrepreneurship. The goal was to talk openly about and spark ideas around how to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs in order to create stronger communities, close the opportunity gap and scale creative solutions to persistent problems. We had 60 minutes, an audience that wanted to be engaged (not talked at) and a serious, sometimes sensitive topic. No big deal, right?

Embracing our “be bold, take risks” attitude, we tried a somewhat unorthodox route. Inspired by NPR’s popular “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” show, we crafted a series of stories to share with the audience, who then had to decide whether each one was true or false. Each story was specially crafted to confront a myth of entrepreneurship—stories that pervade our culture, our media and our minds—head on. These are stories that we felt were important to flag because they may have the unintended consequence of keeping entrepreneurs from tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges and may be particularly holding back women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. The stories were told by some of the sector’s most inspirational changemakers, while Jean Case and I did our best impersonations of Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis, the stewards of the real show. Check it out here and play for yourself!

story1SXSW[InHand]

Not far from the slot machines and neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip, a few dozen tech companies hammer away at the future. That’s where you’ll find young African American Frederick Hutson, CEO of Pigeon.ly, a company that helps prison inmates stay connected to family by providing them with simple ways to receive hard-copy photographs and place inexpensive long-distance phone calls. Its secret sauce is a proprietary 50-state prisoner database that makes locating inmates as easy as typing their names in a search box. Hutson knows this problem first hand—he did 51 months in jail after being busted for marijuana distribution, his last “successful” venture. He put the same skills that made him a good drug dealer—high tolerance for risk and a desire to solve problems creatively—to use in starting this legitimate, innovative company. Pigeon.ly has successfully scaled from the $1 million in seed funding it originally received from top Silicon Valley players.

So what do you think? Is this story true or false? Did this former inmate have a million dollar idea? The majority of our audience thought it was true… and they were right! But there was much to this story that should have given the audience pause. Frederick’s profile certainly doesn’t fit the image or the data of who is an entrepreneur—the latest U.S. Census data shows that 79 percent of entrepreneurs in the U.S. are white and recent analysis shows that only 1 percent of venture capital funded startups have African American founders. Nor is the market Frederick disrupted an obvious one. Which is why this story is so important—it busts the myth that only well-connected, well-resourced white guys can succeed in the startup world, and it also demonstrates the existence of niche markets with great potential for investment that often go untapped. At his very core, Frederick is an entrepreneur, a problem solver, who re-applied his entrepreneurial talents from an illicit community business to a legitimate, job-creating, community-strengthening venture. It makes us think hard about the potential to drive social change by creating more onramps for diverse entrepreneurs.

 

story2SXSW[2]

In 1867, Clifford Jackson was born to Elsie and Thomas Pinkton. Elsie worked in the local salon and Thomas was a baker. They were your average white, middle class family and lived a good life in St. Louis. Young Cliff would go to the salon that his mother worked in after school and saw many women coming in and requesting help with hair loss issues—he knew there had to be a better solution than a scalp massage and a butter-based application. So Cliff did his research, toiled away in his parents’ garage and, voila, concocted his own solution. His initial investment was $1.25. The free samples flew off of the shelves at the salon where his mother worked, and soon, with more orders than he could fill himself, he started a business focused on selling “CJ’s Wonderful Hair Grower.” The picture of his smiling face, thick blond hair and pale white skin was the picture of health and happiness. Customers were hooked! The product was particularly popular with the black women in his town, and they appreciated his research and in-depth knowledge of the hair styling challenges they faced on a daily basis. The organic success of this product drew white investors in particular to this untapped market. Cliff went on to corner the black hair care product market in the U.S. and became a billionaire by the age of 57.

What do you think? Is this story true or false? Could Cliff, a young white man, corner the black women’s hair care market? Well, Kesha’s animated delivery of the story fooled our audience, despite what we all know grounds successful ventures—personal knowledge of the problem you are trying to solve and persistence (the “Eureka moment” really is myth!) in proving the profitability of untapped markets! The actual inspiration for Kesha’s story was the real life success of hair tycoon Madam CJ Walker, whose deep knowledge of the market and true grit aided her in building a client-base for her product and led her down the path of becoming the first black American female self-made millionaire. So why did our audience, and maybe you, find the Cliff story so easy to believe? Maybe it’s because Cliff’s demographic remains the dominant profile of an entrepreneur. Maybe it’s because the link between personal experience and the problem being solved still does not prevail in today’s narrative of successful entrepreneurs. Sadly, almost 150 years later, the uniqueness of Madame CJ Walker’s success as a startup founder remains true today—a recent study cites only 11 black female founders have raised more than $1 million; only 9.7 percent of venture-backed companies have female founders; and less than 1 percent have an African-American founder. Against the backdrop of data showing women-founded ventures outperforming their male counterparts and companies with diverse (gender and race) leadership teams provide greater returns for investors (McKinsey and Harvard Business Review), this story helps shape a conversation around why.

 

story3SXSW[2]

There is plenty of debate over whether entrepreneurs are born or made. Two prominent and opinionated researchers duke it out. Koch, president emeritus at Old Dominion University and co-author of the 2008 book Born, Not Made: The Entrepreneurial Personality, argues that many entrepreneurs are simply wired that way, giving them a natural advantage in the business world. Julian Lange of Babson College, on the other hand, says her research in the past five years indicates that exposure to the ideas and lessons of entrepreneurship can have lasting effects on students, even if they are not “natural” entrepreneurs.

Forbes 10 Under 10 competition settles the debate—entrepreneurs are born! Who can argue with 9 and 10-year olds Tracy and Jackie Tsang, whose award-winning app Binky Meets Cradle is solving one of the world’s most pressing problems—boring playdates? Or with 10-year-old Ryan Pohlson’s company, Duck Duck Duck, which is disrupting the bath time industry with rubber ducks and big data? Says Pohlson, “It’s like Uber but for Ducks.” And fan favorite, Aaron Rogier, who at five conceived of Napchat, a wildly popular app for kids to behave for their parents while also innovating on the nap concept, making it, you know, like “mobile-y and socially.” When asked what advice they’d give their younger selves, the under 10-year-olds said, “they wished they’d dropped out of school sooner and bought more bitcoins.” After all, “It’s tough to stay relevant in the Valley past a certain age,” one kid remarked.

When it comes to Forbes 10 under 10, what do you think? Is this story true or false? Our audience had a harder time deciding and the vote was fairly divided. The correct answer was false, built around both a very funny video and the very real academic debate between Koch and Lange (and many others) on whether entrepreneurs are born or nurtured. I suspect the divided vote is emblematic of two things: (1) the continued impression that startups are purely a young person’s game, with particular glorification around college dropouts making it big—Bill Gates, Rachael Ray, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Mary Kay Ash, Jack Dorsey; and, (2) an honest debate with little data to prove whether entrepreneurs are born that way, or whether many have the innate potential to create and drive businesses, but without nurturing of that potential they move on to other things.

This story helped us and the audience confront the role myths might be playing in leaving teams of entrepreneurs on the sidelines—particularly women and entrepreneurs of color. For example, the actual average age of today’s startup founders is 40. If people knew that, would they drop out of school so fast? Or what if we had entrepreneurial talent scouts like we do for sports and music—would that make a difference? (Check out Gallup’s entrepreneurial talent finder.) And is there an important role for startups dedicated exclusively to women or entrepreneurs of color to help level the playing field? Regardless of where you sit in this debate, there seems to be a widely shared support for exposing youth early to entrepreneurship as a life and career path, as well as encouraging mainstream media to showcase more diverse entrepreneurs as role models. Regardless of nature or nurture, the quote, “you can’t be what you can’t see” captured the audience.

 

story4SXSW[3]

Picture this! It’s a beautiful sunny day in Palo Alto in April 2012. I am over the moon excited to pitch my new idea—CODE2040. I am bouncing on my toes to diffuse my nerves as I wait for my turn to try to win $80,000 in support for my work. I knew CODE2040 was a great idea and I knew that if we could execute well, it was going to change people, communities and industries for the better. I mean, there was such an obvious market for our business—addressing the problem of inequality of opportunity for talented entrepreneurs who don’t have access to the social networks, and family and friends startup capital, that other entrepreneurs can tap into. The judges would obviously understand this, and see past the fact that we only had two months of operations under our belts. No impact data. All I needed to do was convince them that our idea was a great idea! I got this! My materials are great! I walk on stage. I look at those judges standing between me and the $80,000 that is going to launch CODE2040.

And, I choke. I can’t find my words. I fumble through the material, reading half of it off my slide notes. When it was time for Q&A, I was shaking with nerves, and when one of the judges, a white male professor with no knowledge of my market or the community we hoped to serve, became increasingly belligerent, insisting that the concept had no legs and we were seeing problems where there were none, I was stunned to speechlessness. I failed. I did not walk away with the $80,000 prize. And that day, the best pitch did indeed win, but it was not the best idea of all those pitched. As crushed as I was to lose in 2012, I knew that this would be the first of many defeats and no’s, and that I needed to use the experience to fail forward, learn from my mistakes, and go back the next year with a pitch that took into account the skeptics. One year later, picture this! A beautiful sunny day in Palo Alto and I am bouncing on my toes again outside the very same room. I pitch. I answer questions. And I win! And that early money paved the way for me to go on to raise about $10M in support for CODE2040 to date.

Was Laura’s pitch the real deal or was her story made up? If you thought her story was true, you were right! Thankfully, Laura did win that second pitch and CODE2040 exists today. The reality of Laura’s story though shows how pitch competitions can be flawed. Often times the best idea is not the winning idea and vice versa. For women in particular, the pitch competition model can be extremely disadvantageous. While certainly not the case for all women, studies have shown that women tend to be less willing to assume risks that may accompany failure (Koellinger et al., 2008; Minniti, 2010). Could a pitch competition be that detrimental to a business? It can be when the reality is that women are twice as likely as men to shut down their businesses because of lack of capital—capital that may be coming from a singular source, pitch competitions. As if the cards weren’t stacked against women enough, a recent study showed that attractive men are most likely to win pitch competitions (even when the same pitch is delivered by a woman)!

So how did you do?

Could you tell fact from fiction? More importantly, did reading these stories help you better understand the challenges women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color face in the startup world and why it’s vitally important that we work together to create change? We challenged the audience at SXSW and now challenge you, our readers, to help usher in meaningful change through your own channels—change that involves building stronger entrepreneurial ecosystems, unlocking venture capital funding opportunities, helping address policy issues and disrupting the dominant narratives about entrepreneurship so that the stories reflect more diversity.

Want to read more myths? Check out our ongoing blog series.

Do you have your own true/false story that you want to share with us? Tweet your headline to us @CaseFoundation using the hashtag #Ent4All and we might profile your story next!

20 Best Quotes From SXSW Interactive

The Case Foundation team is back from whirlwind week at SXSW Interactive where we hosted a series of events and panels. Our time there was filled with dynamic sessions, learning from people who are truly changing the world.

From the opening day fireside chat with our founders Jean and Steve Case, who shared their roadmap for innovators and entrepreneurs in the rapidly evolving, “internet of everything” economy, to President Barack Obama’s conversation with Texas Tribune’s Editor Evan Smith on civic engagement in the 21st century, there was no shortage of inspiring and moving words spoken on SXSW stages. We heard narratives on the future of entrepreneurship that explored how we can cultivate more inclusive ecosystems, how news platforms are coping and capitalizing in the advent of social media, why the intersection between policy and technology is important and so much more.

While it’s impossible to capture everything that we heard in one blog post, we have pulled together a collection of tweets chronicling the best quotes from some of our favorite sessions at the conference.

And so, here are our top 20 quotes from SXSW, in tweet form and in chronological order.

From Jean and Steve Case: A Roadmap for Innovators:

1. “Startups are the seed corn of the future.” – Steve Case, Chairman of the Case Foundation

2. “Performance is higher when teams are diverse. Bring people into the mix who have been left out.” – Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation

3. “The intersection between policy and technology are increasingly important.” – Steve Case, Chairman of the Case Foundation

4. “Transformational breakthrough requires confronting fear of failure.” – Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation


5. “If you never fail, you’re doing it wrong. Missteps help your progress, and those who come after.” – Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation

5. “Revolutions happen in evolutionary ways.” – Steve Case, Chairman of the Case Foundation

 

From President Barack Obama’s discussion with Evan Smith:

7. “We are at a moment in history where technology and globalization, our economy is changing so fast and this gathering brings together people at the cutting edge of these changes. These changes offer us a lot of opportunities, but are also very unsettling.” – President Barack Obama

8. “It’s not enough to focus on what’s the cool new thing…we need to focus more on solving big challenges.” – President Barack Obama

9. “Using big data, tech, analytics to find new ways to solve old problems and build stronger citizen participation.” – President Barack Obama

 

From Inclusive Entrepreneurship Panel at SoFin @ SXSW:

10. “Inclusive entrepreneurship is an imperative for our economy to work.” – Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital

11. “When diversity is baked in its easier to make a core part of your brand.” – Justin Davis, Program Manager at Kapor Center

12. “We are putting our money where our mouth is investing in rise of the rest communities across the US.” – Allyson Burns, SVP of Communications and Marketing at the Case Foundation

 

From #Movements: When a Hashtag Breaks the News:

13. “Breaking of news is now a commodity, contextualizing is the key for differentiation.” – Jean Ellen Cowgill, President of Atlantic Media Strategies

14. “Skilled organizers on the ground just as much – or more – important than a hashtag in raising awareness in Ferguson.” – Shadi Rahimi, Acting Executive Producer of Al Jazeera’s AJ+

 

From the Case Foundation’s SXgood sessions, SXgood Stories: Myth of the Entrepreneur and SXgood Lab: The Future of Entrepreneurship presented by the Case Foundation

15. “At their core, an entrepreneur is a problem solver, and we need people solving more diverse problems.” – Sheila Herrling, SVP of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation

16. “I’m optimistic about the power of leaders making better choices and prioritizing diversity.” – Casey Gerald, Co-founder and CEO of MBA’s Across America

17. “Only 11 African American women have raised more than $1M in venture funding.” – Earl Robinson, President of PowerMoves sharing data from the Project Diane study

18. “We believe in leveling the playing field for all entrepreneurs.” – Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation

19. “Talent is evenly distributed opportunity is not.” – Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation

 

From USAID’s Global Innovation Challenge: Lifting 1 billion people out of poverty:

20. “People with the best ideas come from unexpected places.” – Ann Mei Chang, Chief Innovation Officer and the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab at USAID

30 SXSW Speakers to Follow on Twitter

As SXSW Interactive kicks off this morning, the excitement and energy is palpable. Even the President of the United States doesn’t want to miss SXSW this year, and with good reason: the innovators and visionaries here are some of the best in the world.

Earlier this month, we shared 12 sessions you can’t miss at SXSW Interactive 2016, and if you’re lucky enough to attend in person, we hope to see you there. But so much of what happens at the festival is shared and enriched by the conversations that happen online, namely via Twitter. Even if you can’t be at SXSW in person, you can still keep up with what is happening by following the related hashtags and Twitter handles. To make it easy for you, we’ve created this Twitter list of 30 SXSW speakers and panelists to keep an eye on, all of who will be participating in sessions with the Case Foundation staff.

Hashtags to follow: #CaseSXSW, #Ent4All, #News4Good, #WhatsGoodMixer, #SXSWeco, #SXSW, #SXgood

And of course, be sure to follow us @CaseFoundation for updates on what we are hearing and seeing, and @SXSW for official festival tweets.

30 SXSW Speakers to Follow*:

(In order of when they will be speaking at SXSW… And remember, you can access every Twitter handle on this list with one easy click through our Twitter list.)

Jean Case
@JeanCase
CEO, The Case Foundation; Chairman, National Geographic Society
Steve Case
@SteveCase
Co-founder of AOL; now Chairman of Case Foundation and Revolution (LivingSocial, Zipcar, Exclusive Resorts, Everyday Health, FedBid, Miraval, etc)
Benjamin Johnson
@TheBrockJohnson
Hosting @MarketplaceTech for @Marketplace. Droiding despite my Apple upbringing. Formerly and fondly rocked @YouTube, blogs for @Slate. Sick Jams.
Allie Burns
@AllieB
SVP Comms at @CaseFoundation & @Revolution, proud board member @sanergy, food, wine & travel lover, runner, sports fan and social citizen.
Jerry Nemorin
@JNemorin
Founder & CEO at LendStreet. Social Entrepreneur.
Maria Lajewski
@MariaLajewski
Fueling innovation and driving impact to improve your financial health @cfsinnovation
Village Capital
@villagecapital
We democratize entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs themselves build and invest in world-changing companies. A new type of VC.
Jade Floyd
@JadeFloydDC
Senior Director of Communications @CaseFoundation + @Revolution | Food + Wine + Design Addict
Katerina Matsa
@katmatsa
Greek-Athenian. @Georgetown & LSE alumna. Tweets about media & data. Research Associate @pewresearch & PhD candidate @AU_SOC.
Shadi Rahimi
@shadirahimi
Senior Producer @AJPlus | Building mobile journalism army #mojo
Jean Ellen Cowgill
@JECowgill
Supporter of middle names and other surprising life choices. President of @amstrategy, the digital consultancy of @atlanticmedia.
Tony Aguilar
@TonyAguilar
Co-founder/CEO @MySLGenius | Ex-poker pro | Runner | Sports nut
Cedric Brown
@cedbrownsaid
People & Possibilities | Old skool & newfangled. Author of Tar Heel Born
Matchfire Co.
@matchfireco
Enabling brands, agencies, and publishers to create omni-channel experiences that deliver more meaningful and personalized moments to consumers.
Chris Noble
@cfnoble
Piratical Nerve, Vaudevillian style. Working with startups to help brands do good in the world. CEO Cause Media/Matchfire
Shira Lazar
@shiralazar
Media Empress, Co-Founder/CEO/Host @whatstrending
What’s Trending
@WhatsTrending
Your source for all that’s trending.
Cause Media
@CauseMedia
At causemedia group we create media interruptions that raise money for charitable causes, engage millions of consumers, and drive interaction with brands
Laura Weidman Powers
@laurawp
Co-Founder, CEO of @CODE2040. I like food, startups, yoga, and doing good. I have been to 39 countries. New Yorker in California.
Kesha Cash
@KeshaCashIAFund
Partner & Director of Investments @ Impact America Fund
Ben Jealous
@BenJealous
Civil Rights Leader. Author. Social Impact Investor.
Earl Robinson
@pmnolaearl
CEO, New Orleans Startup Fund & PowerMoves.NOLA: Providing underrepresented, early-stage treps with access to capital, guidance and a national ecosystem.
Casey Gerald
@CaseyGerald
Dreamer. Doer. Texan. Co-founder and CEO of MBAs Across America.
Erica Berger
@GoodBerger
Adventures in conscious media. Founder @Catchpool, @mileagetribe, Writer. Forbes 30U30. Cheers @NPRGenListen @thousandnetwork. B4 @theeconomist @storyful @USC.
NPR GenerationListen
@NPRGenListen
Where curious minds connect.
Sheila Herrling
@Sherrling
SVP Social Innovation @CaseFoundation; ex @MCCgov @CGDev @USTreasury Passionate about family, friends, fun, well articulated views, bourbon.
The Case Foundation
@CaseFoundation
We invest in people and ideas that change the world. Founded by Steve and Jean Case in 1997. Take risks. Be Bold. Fail forward. Be Fearless.
Rajesh Anandan
@UltraRajesh
Entrepreneur, Intrapreneur, Growth Architect
Ann Mei Chang
@annmei
Chief Innovation Officer @USAID & Executive Director @GlobalDevLab – science, tech, innovation, and partnerships to #endpoverty
USAID’s Global Development Lab
@GlobalDevLab
The official Twitter for @USAID’s Global Development Lab; using science, tech, innov. & partnership to #endpoverty
*This list is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Inclusion on this list does not include endorsement by the Foundation.

UPDATED: 12 Can’t Miss Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2016

It’s that time of year again: We’re less than a month away from SXSW Interactive—a five-day festival that showcases a mix of digital creativity, emerging technology and unique networking events. With nearly 34,000 participants and countless panels, workshops and sessions, narrowing down your schedule can be a little overwhelming, but our staff of SXSW veterans have put together a list of 12 sessions you can’t miss.

From March 11 through 15, members of the Case Foundation team will be on-site learning about new trends in social good, philanthropy and technology from thought leaders in the sector and leading eight sessions on social good issues, inclusive entrepreneurship, philanthropy, innovation and more that we hope you will join us for:

FRIDAY, MARCH 11

11:00 am: Jean and Steve Case: A Roadmap for Innovators
Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABCD
Join our CEO Jean Case and Chairman Steve Case, two of the world’s most prominent technology pioneers, investors and philanthropists, as they talk with Ben Johnson of Marketplace Tech and share a roadmap for innovators and entrepreneurs who want to change the world.

2:30 pm: Inclusive Entrepreneurship Panel at SoFin @ SXSW
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, 217 Congress Ave.
Case Foundation SVP of Communications, Allie Burns, joins a panel at SoFin @ SXSW to explore the subject of inclusive entrepreneurship and why supporting entrepreneurs from under-represented backgrounds is the key to building a stronger future.

SATURDAY, MARCH 12

11:00 am: #Movements: When a Hashtag Breaks the News
W Marriott, Salon C
Our Senior Director of Communications, Jade Floyd, leads a discussion with researchers and journalists on how, in an age where more than half of all Facebook and Twitter users get their news from these sites, powerful hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #BringBackOurGirls, #GivingTuesday and more, are able to take over social media and momentous moments in time.

3:00 pm: Village Capital 2016 FinTech Showcase
Maggie Mae’s, 323 E 6th St
Our CEO Jean Case joins our friends at Village Capital as a judge for their pitch competition focused on supporting financial inclusion entrepreneurs from around the US, particularly entrepreneurs from under-represented backgrounds in technology.

SUNDAY, MARCH 13

4:00 pm: #WhatsGoodMixer at SXSW 2016
The Connected Yard, 83 Rainey Street
Hosted by our CEO Jean Case, join CauseMedia Group and What’s Trending for a social good mixer, bringing together nonprofit leaders, social activists, technologists and corporate partners for a look at innovations in social good. You must RSVP for this event. Click here and use password whatsgood to RSVP today.

MONDAY, MARCH 14

1:15 pm: SXgood Stories: Myth of the Entrepreneur
Palm Door on Sixth
The Case Foundation hosts an entertaining and eye opening storytelling session featuring four entrepreneurial thought leaders. These dynamic individuals will each share a brief story about the challenges and opportunities they face as entrepreneurs… but only two will be true, while the other two are false. Will you be able to tell fact from fiction?

2:30 pm: SXgood Lab: The Future of Entrepreneurship presented by the Case Foundation
Palm Door on Sixth Patio
Join the our SVP of Social Innovation, Sheila Herrling, and the Case Foundation for a lively group discussion to inspire ideas for how we can create a new narrative for the future of entrepreneurship together. This session is aimed at crafting actionable concepts for how we can create a more diverse and inclusive reality for our entrepreneurial community. Following the session, join us for a networking happy hour.

3:45 pm: Global Innovation Challenge: Lifting 1 billion people out of poverty presented by USAID
Palm Door on Sixth
USAID is calling on innovators everywhere to help end extreme poverty. Three social entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to solve global development challenges in an interactive competition, and our CEO Jean Case will be one of the pitch competition judges.

We’re also excited to take part in the many sessions that promise to stretch our minds, inspire our creativity and just have fun, like the three sessions below. Have another can’t miss SXSW session we should know about? Tweet us the details using @CaseFoundation so we can share it with our community.

FRIDAY, MARCH 11

11:00 am: New World of Photography and Visual Storytelling
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon F
Seasoned National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore has put the reach of modern media platforms to work through Photo Ark, using the power of both traditional and social media on National Geographic’s many publishing platforms to create a connection between animals and the people who can help protect them. Share in this panel’s lessons of making media meaningful, while enjoying amazing photos and videos.

12:30 pm: Social Activism: How to Ignite a Movement
JW Marriot, Salon C
What does it take to transform an idea into a viral movement for social good? Author and researcher Derrick Feldmann has spent the past two years talking with the people behind the biggest social movements of our time. He’ll share their stories and some of their secrets and what you can do to make your cause go viral.

MONDAY, MARCH 14

9:30 am: Tech at Issue in 2016 Election
JW Marriott, Salon 5
With the 2016 presidential campaigns in full swing, we will take a deep dive into how issues around technology and entrepreneurship will impact politics and the presidential election.

TUESDAY, MARCH 15

12:30 pm: Swipe Left or Right: The Latino Millennial Vote
Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG
Join Maria Teresa Kumar for a deep dive into the mind of a Latino millennial: why and how they vote and how they’ll shape our political landscape for years to come.

Not headed to SXSW this year? Follow along with the Case Foundation team members on Twitter at @CaseFoundation, @JeanCase, @Sherrling, @AllieB, @JadeFloydDC, and our chairman at @SteveCase.

Photo credit: shelbysdrummond.