Hey, Naysayers - Don't Hate On SXSW

For the past three years, everyone has been bitching about the fact that SXSW sucks and has sold out. Well, of course it's sold out. Every entity does at one point, but that doesn't make it suck. You know what's still epic about SXSW? Marketing firms like MRY and Rocket Fuel hosting amazing all-expenses-paid parties featuring awesome acts like Rev Run and The Jot Formidable, respectively. Agencies like Barbarian Group and JWT doing the same. Social media firms like Expion hosting "unofficial" panels featuring the likes of Gary V and Bonin Bough who, together, are a sight to see. Fast Company hosting its, yes, all-expenses-paid Fast Company Grill where the chosen ones can go to relax, grab lunch and a drink and chat with friends. Oh, and let's not forget the awesomeness of George Tekai, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Sure, it's not the quaint gathering of the tech elite anymore. But isn't the point of an event like this to meet new people and expand your horizons? SXSW still does it -- so quit knocking it.

I've chastised Long Island-based Web design company fishbat (yes, that is their name, despite it sounding like they club fish for lunch on a daily basis) before for sending out pointless press releases that do nothing but make people like me share with the rest of the world how idiotic they are and how they can't seem to learn a lesson. This particular press release, like all others before it, latches onto a popular Mashable article, offers commentary from someone at the agency and then proceeds to pimp the agency throughout. This time the agency is commenting on the fact that Facebook is finally rolling out their news feed redesign and offering up epic commentary from Client Relations VP Justin Mass, who said: "In terms of the colors and icons, Facebook's web version is beginning to look a lot like the mobile version. We've seen this with other major social networks like Twitter. As more people begin to use their mobile apps and smartphones to browse social media, it makes sense for networks to make similar design changes." Epic!

At the end of last year, Gareth Kay left Goodby Silverstein & Partners to become founding partner and owner of the San Francisco office of Minneapolis-based Zeus Jones. At the time, Kay noted that he would open the office in March with four employees. True to his word, he has begun hiring and, this week, brought in former AKQA San Francisco Creative Director Neil Robinson, who left the agency last week. Now, of course, we know why he left. Of Robinson joining the startup, Kay said, “I can’t wait to get to work with Neil and to start building a creative company for the modern age from the ground up – a skunkworks that challenges marketing as usual."

Did you know the 4A's annual meeting was coming up? Well, indeed it is. It will take place March 16-19 at the Beverly Hills Hilton, Did you know that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will keynote at the confab? Well, indeed she will. Also in the house will be American Express CMO John Hayes and GroupM Global Chief Digital Officer Rob Norman. 4A's CEO explains it all in this video.

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