Most people know that I own a company that makes physical goods. Cactus Equipment is a business that delivers amazingly dependable apparel and backpack solutions. I’ve been involved in the business for a couple of decades now so have traversed the long and torturous process of design, manufacturing and retail – all functions that are undergoing extreme change that is only accelerating.

This background means that I was super interested in a panel discussion at SXSW this year that looked at physical goods and the new distribution models that are developing. On the panel where some really interesting folks:

The precis from the panel says it all:

The old model of brand building and product distribution of physical goods has changed. No longer do you need to introduce via traditional media channels (commercials, trade press, long lead placements in magazines) or physical space in a showroom. As social channels become more and more efficient, creators can connect directly with their consumers in new ways. From here, commerce can occur and word-of-mouth can grow a brand quickly without tons of media spend. This conversation will showcase entrepreneurs who make physical, tangible goods yet have used the internet in novel ways — through content, social media, and innovative new business models — to create new, successful brands from scratch. It’s easy to say that retail is dead.

Anyone involved in the creation and distribution of physical goods simply must take the opportunity to listen to this panel. Your world is changing and you need to understand how to grow and maintain position and relevance in this brave new world.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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