SXSW is a festival of culture and creativity. My words, not theirs.
Up front, know that I'm an Advisor to SXSW. This means that every year I set aside several hours and go through and judge panels. In return, I'm given a free badge to attend. All other costs are on my dime.
I know that this week there will be posts about the good and the bad. How next year some people won't be attending. How the glory days are over.
The funny thing is that most of these will be written from the perspective of marketers. A group of people that this festival was never created for, but has certainly embraced.
This year at SXSW I learned about how the NFL is embracing sustainability, talked to a robot that is helping with elder care and giggled at real time emoji clouds from live monitoring of the primaries.
I had an amazing steak with a dear friend, chatted with a Bad Robot producer over drinks and made several new connections that I hope turn into business.
Sure there were big marketing installations and for the most part I kept walking by. The thought of standing in line for hours to possibly win something makes zero sense to me when there is so much else going on around the next corner.
We opened up our SocialGood.Club shop and even with the #SXGood crowd once again ignoring us, we planted the seeds for a lot of good in the future.
Plus, every time someone talked to me about my "activation" I was given the chance to explain to them that it was far from just that. (More on that in a separate post.)
The conversations you hear and the contacts you make is where the magic is.
There are too many panels and too much information, but that is why this is a festival and not a conference. It is up to you to prioritize what you must see and then go and check it out.
The fact that I can be learning about the expressive nature of tattoos one minute and the next learning how Nascar is using Snapchat at the same event is inspiring to me.
I approach SXSW with an open mind, a soon to be filled notebook and the willingness to see where the weekend takes me.
People need to stop looking for the next breakout _______ and instead focus on getting exposed to all that is on the horizon.
I enjoy riding the bleeding edge of the wave and SXSW always gives me a peek into the next several years (and beyond) to see what I might want to focus on and try out.
Thank you SXSW for once again refueling my fire and giving me focus and inspiration for the months ahead.
See you next March.