Yes, this blog post is a bit late. But I have a very good reason. I was busy. Like get to work at 6 AM and return home at 9 PM busy. Like speak at a conference near Baltimore then drive 60 miles to Dulles airport and fly to Texas busy. (Also known as should have checked the conference address before booking my flight busy.)
But it was all worth it. For the second year, I attended the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin. Yes, interactive. Not film. Not music. This one was for the nerds, not the hipsters or artists. Picture lots of virtual reality demos and panels about mobile first content consumption, typography and cognition, and Internet of Things privacy (aka “Is Your Fridge Judging You?“)
And I loved it! Here are a few of my favorite sessions:
- The New Model for Talent Development
- Checkbox That Ruined My Life: Manipulative Design
- Comedy Is the New Journalism: The Power of Satire
- Pimp My Brain: A Crash Course in DIY Brainhacking
- Brainshaping: Is Your Office Changing Your Brain?
- The End of the Work-More Culture?
- Introverts: A Perfectly Calculated Creative Force (as an extrovert, I felt like a stowaway)
- Time for Match.com for Company Culture?
- Deconstructing Creepy: New Tech, Old Social Norms
- We the People: Using Tech to Solve Big Challenges
- America’s LGBT Spies: Secret Agents (of Change)
- Thinkery: Hands-On STEAM style fun (I programmed a robot!)
- Hook ‘Em: The Psychology of Persuasive Products
- Why Happiness Is Hard and How to Make It Easier
- Behavioral Design: Hacking Human Behavior for Good
As I said – busy week! And SXSW isn’t just about the panels. There are all kinds of tech demos, weird product tie-ins, and food samples to guarantee sensory overload.
The city of Austin is worth visiting in its own right. It’s along the banks of either the Colorado River or Lady Bird Lake (seriously, the maps list both) and has some neat historic houses. It also puts on quite a show when it storms.
The expo had booths from established corporations, startups, government agencies, libraries, cities, and countries. I especially liked the Dutch ad to “tartup in Amsterdam” (the s was cut off the screen) and puzzled over why the Puerto Rico booth was in the “foreign countries” section. Are they planning something?
Things you don’t see every day: self-contained home brew, collection of thumb drives to smuggle into North Korea, and octo-pepper takes his 3D printed body parts to the jungle.
And now you know why the next section of this blog post will be really short:
Swim: None. Sigh. I know.
Bike: It only took a few minutes for the terribly uncomfortable hotel recumbent bike to bruise my spine, so I switched to the elliptical.
Run: Yes, lots of this. Thank you, Austin! I ran in sun, darkness, humidity, and wind, and saw eight kinds of boat, six kinds of bike, and some bats.