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SXSW Wrap-Up, Business Review USA-Style

|Mar 21|magazine7 min read

 

After nine days of SXSW festivities, it’s hard to believe that we’re still standing, but somehow we made it through countless panels, keynotes, networking events, shows, food truck stops and strolls down 6th street and back into the office this week.

Although it’s nice to return to a sense of normalcy and the familiarity of our own beds, we must admit we’re feeling nostalgic for Austin and the sights and sounds of SXSW.

Those familiar with the legendary festival already know about its impressive music and film offerings—basically, SXSW is the place for emerging artists to make a splash and catapult their careers amongst the most influential of their peers. But the interactive portion of SXSW is less well-known, partially because it was added to the festival’s lineup seven years after the inaugural music-only year, and partially because actual rockstars usually get all the glory, leaving tech and innovation superstars in their shadows.

SXSW has long recognized the importance and impact of the interactive industry and the interactive portion of the festival is a testament to that recognition. It was impossible to see everything the festival had to offer, but we sure did our best and we can assure you that SXSW offers something for everyone looking for ways to gain an edge in their industry.

This year’s Interactive festival featured an outstanding trade show along with plenty of highlights and fascinating unveilings, including ad agency Bartle, Bogle, and Hegarty’s announcement of its “Homeless Hotspots” pilot program—an innovation/highly likely publicity stunt to pay homeless people to give off WiFi signals. (More on that here.)

The panels and keynotes were the ultimate resource for knowledge, trends and insight into the current state of interactive and technology. We sat in to hear Ray Kurzweil, Al Gore, No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain, Google’s Vic Gundotra and Pinterest Co-Founder Ben Silbermann expound upon their specialties. We also got to have a one-on-one talk with Greg Kostello, CEO and Founder of Givit, and learn about his company’s partnership with Cisco and innovations in the realm of private video sharing.

On the music side, we were treated to shows by up-and-coming soul stirrers Alabama Shakes, enigmatic Fiona Apple, hip-hop titans The Roots, songstress Norah Jones and more outstanding indie buzz-band shows than we could possibly count.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming May issue, in which we’ll bring you recaps of our favorite SXSW news and events, including some valuable insights that you can apply to your business. Stay tuned!