Monday, March 12, 2018

A Little South by Fun

I am down in Austin, TX at SxSW, which is always a good time. I love learning about new technologies, hearing about trends in markets, and meeting cool people who are building what we'll all be using in the future. It seems extra crazy this year, but I may always think that after sleeping in between last year and this year (or I'm just getting older since I first attended in 2011). 
Saturday, after a talk by one of Mozilla's Fellows, I headed over to the Fast Company Grill for a yummy free lunch of shrimp tacos and local beer. I also saw two talks, including one from Dan Rather, which was so awesome! He was talking about his new media and news company, News and Guts. I also got my face on a cookie - which I thought was cool and Brian thought was a little creepy (so I might bring it home to him).
The rest of the day I enjoyed the nearly 90 degree weather, checked out the Wellness Fair, a couple more talks, and a few parties (one of which yielded this light-up drink). I met some nice people and learned about a few new startups that are trying to disrupt things in banking and the travel industry - like hotels and processing travel visas.
I started Sunday early (even with the time change). I got some coffee and walked to an event with breakfast tacos (not pictured) and then to the Pinterest House for a second breakfast of bagels & lox and a grapefruit mimosa. I met a food blogger from Austin who gave me a hot tip on a new restaurant (checking it out later this week!). On my way back to the Convention Center, I spotted the baby goats sign and then saw a bunch of people doing "goat yoga." I'm not really sure why it's a thing, but I hope the goats like it.
After a talk on the "Future Trends in Technology" (here's a link to the report that futurist Amy Webb presented), I spent a little time in the Trade Show hall and checked out IEEE's mixed reality platform. It's hard to believe that the future of work, business, entertainment and more will be so different in not too long. Jetsons' world here we come!
Then I listened to Bozoma Saint John, Uber's new Brand Manager, and the panel of women after her, which included Melinda Gates (pictured), Joanna Coles (Chief Content Officer of Hearst Magazines), Stacy Brown-Philpot (CEO of Taskrabbit), and Nina Shaw (entertainment attorney and co-founder of Times Up). Watching all five of the women talk about the future of work and the critical role diversity plays in business was very powerful and inspiring.
So many brands have venues and events going on during SxSW that it can get to be a little overwhelming. It's refreshing when a brand breaks through the noise and makes you happy you stood in line. This was definitely the case for the Starz Sensory House, where they were promoting the launch of two new shows (one of which is based on the book Sweetbitter).

They used the five senses to guide you through a cool experience full of free stuff (what's not to love!). My favorite was the "scent" room where perfumer, Krista Lacey, had created scents based on the four main characters and you got to pick samples of the two you liked the most.
I met up with a friend at Fulton, at the new Fairmont Hotel. We shared this yummy cheese board and then headed to meet some others for an Upright Citizen's Brigade show. In all, it was a great day. Hope you had a nice weekend too!

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