South by Southwest (“South by”) takes place in Austin, Texas every year and it’s quite an amazing event. It started as a small music and film festival which has grown every year, the interactive section (SXSWi) was introduced later for gamers but as the influence of technology has grown so has SXSWi. All fields impacted on by technology are now represented which include pretty much all areas of our lives including health, creativity, communication, transport, social media, business. The 600 panels (talks, interviews and workshops) are selected from 3,600 submissions which really gave me a sense of what a privilege it was for me to be a panelist.
At SXSW everybody talks to each other at every opportunity, for me this began in the taxi queue from the airport. Throughout the festival I got talking to people who seemed genuinely curious and came from so many different backgrounds. This was incredibly refreshing as it meant I was having conversations outside the comfort of my peer group and really having to explain my ideas from scratch.
With some of the big names who I know from seminal TED talks, influential books, and for being amongst the movers, shakers and thought leaders of the moment, it’s hard not to get a sense that the conversations taking place at SXSW are indicators of the important themes developing in the world.
These are the main themes I saw unfolding at SXSWi 2014: Privacy, Security, Maker Movement, Hacker, Mash-Ups, Build Things, Rapid Prototyping, Storytelling, Serendipity, Conversations & Connections, Show Your Work, Share Ideas, Don’t be a Vampire or Human Spam, Scenius (the group you share things with), Experiment: Fail: Iterate, Talk to Everybody, Wearable Computing, Creativity-Inspiration-Innovation, Health, Wellbeing, Mental Health, Find Things to Mend, 3D Printing (Edible), Democratisation of Design, Find Problems to Solve, The Future, Embrace the Weird.
My notes from some of the talks:
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