The former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is back. On Monday he launched a think tank in partnership with the University of Southern California (USC), The USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. As a USC alumni, I received a special ticket to the inauguration event so I went to check it out.
The “Governator” was the biggest draw to the Inaugural Symposium on the USC campus, with over 750 people attending. The audience included local leaders, university professors, corporate executives, alumni, and USC students from the policy, entertainment, journalism, and law schools. The panelists at the event were impressive, including several former U.S. governors, a current sitting senator, and several top Hollywood executives.
It was interesting that Ben Smith, the Editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.com was one of the moderators. BuzzFeed is considered one of the top social news sites and has over 25 million unique visitors per month. Smith moderated the afternoon session, “The Power of People and Innovation – Media/Hollywood Leaders’ Perspectives.” This symposium discussed the role of the entertainment industry and its impact on technology innovation and social change.
For this session, the panel included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rob Friedman (co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group), Brian Grazer (Chairman of Imagine Entertainment), Ron Meyer (president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios and NBCUniversal), and Jimmy lovine (Chairman, Interscope Geffen A&M; Chairman and Co-Founder, Beats), and unfortunately James Cameron (Film Director for Titanic and Avatar) was absent from the event.
During the discussion, Schwarzenegger emphasized the important role that the film and television industry plays in today’s society and culture. Schwarzenegger believes that Hollywood is more powerful than Washington DC politicians. In terms of the collaboration between entertainment and technology innovation, the panel was concerned with piracy issues in the industry.
Executives in the panel all agreed that social media plays a very critical role in today’s entertainment industry, citing the need for interaction and collaboration between an artist’s Facebook account, Twitter account, and their followers.
But this goes even further, where films now create fictional social media accounts for characters in a movie who interact in character with the public. I wonder if, in the future, we will see other companies outside of entertainment introducing characters/mascots that embody their brand and establishing fictional social media presence to interact with their community?
The panelists emphasized their interest in developing products that sell and that they need to learn how to best connect with their customers, especially using social media technology. However, they all agreed that they have not yet found a perfect formula for this social media driven integrated approach to business.
Los Angeles is a center for the entertainment industry and is being recognized as a hotbed of innovative startup activities. All of this is welcome activity in our backyard. We’ll keep an eye out on what is going on and hopefully participate when the discussion involves technologies involving or affecting the hosting industry.
But perhaps the most interesting thing I learned from the event was that the Governator sports some mean socks.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you Tweet this article or image using a #schwarzeneggersocks hashtag, but if enough of you did, that could be interesting…