5 days – 25 sessions – 1 party – over 100 pictures! This was #SxSw Interactive 2016

South by (as locals call it) is by far the biggest and best showcase of what the interactive future holds.  Although I came prepared (check my post from a week ago), I was still struggling with the seize of SxSw. The amount of quality that is an offer makes it hard as a single participant to make the best out of it.
I choose not to take specific tracks, but cherrypick out of topics that are of interest to me: VR/AR, entrepreneurship, behaviour(ial design), digital …. As you see a wide range of interest fields!

My strategy paid of partially, I only a wasn’t allowed in once because I was to late to cue (optimistic travel time between venues, you know…uhu!), and I got in on all of my chosen session. Out of 23 only 2 failed to meet my expectations, the others were all positively experienced. This means I got al least on take-away out of it (yes, I have low standards, but if you combine 23 take-aways you have dynamite!).
More than previous editions I focussed also on the additional entertainment from sponsors, brands, …. which popped-up at the venues or in town.  Most of the time this was quite rewarding (with free goodies, drinks and foor!), so that’s a keeper!  Sometimes it was hard to get in, and the cues had astonishing wait-times. So again picking the right moment was crucial…I really cued only once to get into the Google Viber Experience (party), which was worth the wait….and got me connected with some really nice local Austinites (as locals call themselves).
Being by myself was sometimes advantageous but I mist a sparring parting at diner to discus what we saw, and with 2 (or more) you can off-course cover more ground….but hey we’re on a budget (aren’t we all?)

Did I mention parties? Well, I only attended one (Google Viber), because I wanted to keep up all days….but instead of night partying I spend some time around 6th Street after hours (after 18 o’clock – that’s when content sessions finish) for the atmosphere….and yes, just being there made me feel party-ish! The Google Party was cool, free VR-experiences, free food (taco’s) and free drinks (cucumber mojito – and I don’t like cucumbers, so stuck to wine)….and ended at 10! 
So I had a clear head the next day to start again at 9h30….Oh 9h30 I hear you thinking…you could sleep-in. No, I’m training for a half-marathon in April so even at SxSw I woke up early to do my work-outs, running at the borders of the Colorado River (a cool running path. So if you’re in the area, or attending next year, and you want to run or just take a walk, that’s where you wanna be!).

But back on track…SxSw Interactive! What did I get out of this?

  • VR/AR is for sure the trending topic for 2016.
  • Robotics are on the rise, but instead of being afraid of these, let’s embrace them and to make our lives easier (private and professional).
  • Its all about moments, connections and experiences.
  • Media companies as we know will still exist, but new media companies are where the opportunity lays!
  • Let’s not talk about millennials anymore! We’re all millennials!

These are my quick take-aways, more details on all these insights in the next posts!

….oh yes, it can also be very hot this time of the year in Austin (over 90°F), but I came prepared! Although less prepared to be back in cold Belgium!

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