Today marked the last day of the interactive section of SXSW. As I prepare to leave Austin, I am convinced that this event should be in my calendar every year.
I doubt there is another event as complete for interactive professionals where you can find this combination of great networking, hundreds of educational sessions, outstanding speakers and exhibitors offering the latest products and innovations. All of this in the middle of a fun and casual environment that invites people to have longer conversations leading to the exchange of knowledge — changing the way we think, the things we do and how we do them.
As I start to process it all, here are a few random non-technical things that stuck in my head:
Everybody keeps talking about social media, and there is no question it’s here to stay. Social media is great but content is king.
Be an entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean you need to have your own company, you can be an entrepreneur at your job. Muhammad Yunus said “All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves we were all self employed… finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where the human history began. As civilization came we suppressed it. We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.”
When going after a dream or idea, invest in time and/or money and be willing to risk as much as you are hoping to achieve.
Mobile phones and mobile apps are changing the world and will keep doing so. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and optimized.
Another great day at SXSW. Great networking, sessions, speakers, and entertainment. Here are the highlights of the day:
Listening to Ray Kurzweil’s session titled “Expanding Our Intelligence Without Limit” for a second time. I had the opportunity to listen to a very similar session by him at Shop.org last year. Ray Kurzweil has been involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments, all inventions that are embedded into gadgets we use on a daily basis.
Seeing Biz Stone talk about his experiences and the thought process behind Twitter. Biz is best known as the co-founder of Twitter.
Then to finish the education part of the day, we had the opportunity of seeing Al Gore interviewing Sean Parker, founder of Napster and co-founder of Facebook. (Think Justin Timberlake if you saw the movie The Social Network)
Another great part of the day was walking the show floor. It was a great reminder of how important face-to-face communication is, and why we are in this business — Tradeshows.
After learning a lot at SXSW, the next stop was the entertainmet part and some more networking. We headed to the Jay-Z concert. American Express had a campaign where they asked us to sync our AmEx credit card with Twitter as they are launching a campaign that allows credit card members to Tweet their way to savings at SXSW. That gave us free tickets! Watch the video below.
South by Southwest, or how the old-timers like to call it “South by” happens every year in Austin, TX. The event has three components, Music, Film and Interactive, the last one being the reason for me to attend. The event is packed with talks, workshops, keynotes, meet ups, exhibitors and plenty of networking.
For the next five days I will be looking for the latest interactive solutions for our clients, listening to inspirational speakers, meeting geeks from all over the world, and yes, socializing over beer and BBQ by night.
Today’s Keynote speaker was The Onion director of digital, Baratunde Thurston. He was very funny, inspirational and thought-provoking. His keynote titled “How to Read the World” was about how comedy and satire can help make sense of the world, help increase the limits of freedom of speech around the world, and how the internet and social media have helped this movement happen.