Looking for highlights from SXSW Interactive 2013? Well, you are in the right place! With a dizzying array of panels, keynotes, industry parties and start-up hype, this years SxSW Interactive conference has proven to be one of the biggest yet. I have been attending SXSW Interactive since 2007 and have seen a lot of changes in that time. I remember when the Mark Zuckerberg Keynote descended into a glorious symphony of chaos back in 2008.
I remember seeing a staggering Evan Williams being escorted by an assistant leaving the Microsoft party, unable to walk on his own. I remember the hype and fascination of Foursquare badges specific to SXSW and looking back and laughing at how me and my friends would check in every 5 minutes at the conference in an attempt to collect them all. I remember Gowalla. Oh Gowalla, how I miss you.
This years SXSW Interactive was different for me than any other year since I have been going in that I did not actually learn anything new to speak of. I caught a few useful tips on usability and UX and definitely got a good chuckle from the shenanigans I witnessed at the after parties, but for the first time since I have been going to SXSW Interactive, I was a bit underwhelmed. Almost every year I’ve attended, there was always a jewel I walked away with. Something I could hang my hat on and say “See, that’s why I go to SXSW”. Sadly, I cannot say that for this years conference.
With that said, this years SXSW Interactive did have it’s moments. Here are some of my personal favorites from this years conference:
A real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk message of commercial space travel resonated with this years conference goers with his evangelism of commercial space travel with show stealing quotes like “I want to die on Mars. Just not on impact” as reported by Mashable and the SXSW website. For those of you who have been living under a rock, Elon is the mind behind the Tesla Motors and SpaceX ventures.
Gary’s five hour publicity stunt at this years Interactive portion of SXSW was a pretty epic move to continue owning and being a part of the larger conversation. Even though he wasn’t keynoting this year, he stayed in peoples minds by doing this, even if it was just one person at a time. I love Gary’s passion and energy for social business and his commitment to helping his audience and supporters is inspiring. He is second on my list this year, simply for the drive and hustle. This is what it takes to be successful, not just in tech, but in life.
Bre Pettis keynote was the talk of the conference, presenting his vision of a second industrial revolution with 3D printing technology at the forefront. His company MakerBot has been doing some pretty darn cool stuff the last few years in the 3D printing space. If you were unaware of this new technology, you might want to come out from under that rock and take a gander, it is worth your time. The possibilities of how this technology could disrupt traditional manufacturing methods is profound and potentially far reaching.
Former SEO Moz employee and internet celebrity Matthew Inman was one of my favorite keynotes this year. Matt inspires me a lot to take more risks and spend time on things I really care about, as he has made a career out of doing what he loves. His online comics and various books have entertained the team here at AXZM to no end, especially “How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell“. He is among my top highlights for being an awesome person and creating killer content, two things we value a lot.
Probably one of the most uneventful keynotes of the conference, Al Gore showed up to talk tech with Walt Mossberg of All Things Digital. I wish I could offer more enthusiasm for the man that invented the internet, but I cannot conjure up excitement that simply isn’t there. He gets a mention because he was technically our POTUS at one point, even if it was basically stolen from him.
You couldn’t look at a feed during this years conference without seeing the #VegasTech guys up in the mix somewhere. So what the heck is Vegas doing in Texas promoting Vegas? According to their website…
“VegasTech is a tight-knit group of thinkers, doers and makers committed to making Las Vegas the #1 hot spot for tech entrepreneurship.“
OK, I can dig it. Do whatever it takes to make it happen. They get honorable mention for their guerrilla marketing efforts. Other states trying to attract more start-ups and entrepreneurs should take note. This is community at work.
2013 SXSW Interactive Highlight
Just because you didn’t make my list of favorites above, doesn’t mean you don’t get a mention! I created a Storify of the entire conference below. Enjoy! Retweet! Link back and all that good stuff…