Another year, another transformation for the city of Austin and the hungry creatives that attend SXSW 2013. The buzz surrounding the parties, the comedy, the surprise guests during music sets, will be its legacy. Of course we’ll use Vegas rules. What happened on 6th street remains… Did you skip the event this year? Allow me to summarize the experience.
If your only involvements during SXSW are within the blocks of sponsored events, then you’re truly missing out on the flavor of Austin. Austin has a lot to offer, from the quintessential neighborhoods that spring southwestern culture to the pride of Texan sports, The University of Texas. Take a tour of the surroundings and you’ll discover that you need a minimum of 3 weeks to enjoy it all. Don’t worry, you can venture back in October for the Austin City Limits music festival.
As for the actual SXSW program, you should ask yourself, “Why am I here?” Although I was on assignment to capture content for Name.com I knew this conference required more engagement to bring back the necessary nuggets to move our company to the next level. SXSW is about consuming information, experiencing content, and making connections. There were plenty of lectures that fell flat and didn’t challenge me; at times because it wasn’t well thought out, or because I recently dove deep into the topic and was full. But then there were those gems that made it worth darting out of one talk and flying across the Convention Center to catch the last 2/3rds of a discourse that filled me with inspiration and pumped me “execution” fuel. Now go forth and transfer that energy to my compadres.
To summarize the over arching theme in one word – “Mobile.” If you aren’t thinking mobile first then you’ve already lost. This isn’t exactly a new vibe pulsing through the tech community but it is amazing to see how many companies have grabbed hold of it and have their mobile act together. Jump in, the water is just fine and there’s still time to run with the pack.
In this post-digital world that seems to move at the speed of thought, getting people to slow down and experience your product was a welcomed change of pace. The back massages at the American Airlines lounge helped me embrace the AA brand. The hands on innovation at the 3M lounge tickled my tech side. The ATT mobile charge lockers were perfectly placed. Also shout outs to the Chevy, Roku, and Samsung lounges.
The coup de grâce was the trade floor featuring hundreds of companies pitching their products and services with fervor. The best were displays that demanded to be picked up and played. Again shout outs to .ME, Amazon, Pond5 and way too many more to mention.
My words don’t do justice to an experiential event. At the very least I hope I’ve encouraged you to go out and live, learn, and share the creativity of our world. SXSW 2014 would be a great start.