Couldn’t make it to Pause Festival this year? We have you covered.

With over 100 sessions across five seperate stages, there was a lot to see and hear at this year’s Pause Festival.

Chances are, even if you did attend, you missed some of the most fascinating talks and ideas.

Out of the dozen or so sessions we made it along to, these were the most memorable and the ideas that should spark further discussion.

Is becoming an influencer worth it?

Over a few years, Ben Lee from US app development firm Rootstrap poured thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into becoming an influencer. He paid celebrities and influencers to tag him on Instagram, and hours creating candid shots to build his following. The result: well over 100,000 followers on Instagram.

Then he deleted his account.

For all the money and time he poured into the service, Lee saw little commercial return from it, he would be spending upwards of $USD5000 for a single inbound lead. He now urges founders to not waste time becoming an influencer to promote their company — particularly if they are B2B startup founder.

So what works? Lee says a combination of speaking engagements, email newsletters and PR helped build up his pipeline. Saying all this, he doesn’t discount the impact online influence and social media has for consumer-focused products and brands.

Get ahead of the emerging internet of eyes and ears

If you’re at the early stages of building a product, it’s well worth factoring in the rise of voice and facial recognition technology.

Emma Chiu, Creative Innovation Director for JWT Innovation Group says the major tech companies are moving aggressively to enable innovations such as payment by face, and brand-powered voice marketing. China, for instance, is leading the world on its drive to incorporate facial recognition into everyday life.

But she also contends that startups can get ahead of the curve. Her example: A New York based smart shopping cart company called Caper that Chiu contends is ahead of Microsoft’s efforts to develop the same technology.

The challenge for these companies however is cultural change. Chiu says Hollywood has ingrained a dystopian view of these technologies that will need to budge in order to enable further innovation in this sector

Stephen Gates Pause

Stephen Gates says creatives are underestimated by companies. Source: Vert Photographics

Embrace your crazy and unlock your creativity

Stephen Gates, the head of design transformation at InVision, says too many companies underestimate the time and effort needed to be genuinely creative and as a result innovative. He calls creativity a “blue collar profession,” because of the work it requires. He argues that most companies employ creatives to make products look great, but few are hired higher up in the production process to help with the inception of a product.

Gates also contends that companies need to balance their reliance on data with creativity. Many companies, he says, focus too granularly on data and become “data blind” leaving them with a “myopic” view on their customers. Meanwhile, sheer creativity without any data to guide it, risks the creative missing the mark completely.

Finally, Gates argues that social media isn’t helping creativity, as it's simply too easy to shoot down revolutionary ideas before they’ve had a chance to take hold. Also, social media amplifies the wrong parts of the creative process. It doesn’t show the “90 per cent” of the process that is reworking and iterating ideas, and makes it seem easier than it is.

Time to split your thinking on Gen Z

Sarah Owen, senior editor of WSGN spends her days talking to US teenagers to determine future consumer trends. While she concedes that even her own husband thinks her job can be a bit creepy at time, it unearths a myriad of fresh insights on the consumers of tomorrow.

As Owen revealed, for the first time in their study, WSGN has broken down Gen Z into two catagories: Gen Me and Gen We.

Gen Me is what many would expect. They chase insta-fame, they spend big on fashion. They follow influencers, and emulate them.

Gen We however shops with both their heart and their head. They don’t boycott brands, they ‘buycott’ them, supporting products that they feel positively contribute to society. They are cause driven, and care less about appealing to the masses via social media. They prefer to repair clothes rather replace them and (in another first for teenage consumer trends), tend to spend more on food than fashion.

Check your bias

If you’re wondering what passes for water cooler talk at the tech giants these days, it’s bias.

Most of our bias is unintentional, and subliminal but they have a huge impact on how we perceive the world and how we build products.

Emily Price from Microsoft For Startup contends that startups need to consider bias in both their product design and hiring practices to get ahead.

Meanwhile, Ricardo Prada Director of UX for Google says that understanding and accounting for bias is one of the biggest hurdles in the further development of machine learning. Without this understanding, we risk creating machine learning algorithms that discriminate.