SXSW: That’s a Wrap!
Woah! Is it really over? I can’t decide if that was the shortest five days or the longest five days of my life.
Now, where to begin? If there is one thing the SXTXState project taught me, it’s that you need to be organized to get it all in. So, let’s break this down:
I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single panel I went to. (Which either says a lot about my panel-picking abilities or about the caliber of panels to choose from this year. Likely the latter.) Of course, though, there were some that stuck out to me above others:
- “Back to the Future of Media,” Ben Lerer, Co-Founder & CEO, Thrillist Media Group – Sure, Lerer was engaging and charismatic, but that’s not what made this session stick out in my mind. His view on the loop between commerce and media was a completely new concept to me. Should media companies own their advertisers? This session really caused me to think and ask a lot of questions—making me more curious than any other session I attended during SXSW.
— Kimberly Cook (@kckimberlycook) March 13, 2015
- “Future Crimes From the Digital Underworld,” Marc Goodman, Singularity University, Future Crimes Institute – As someone who works in tech, this session immediately caught my eye. I actually went to a couple of sessions on cyber security, privacy, and crimes, but this one was by far my favorite. In his presentation, Goodman broke down the complicated ins and outs of how the Dark Web is used in cyber crime in a way that made it possible for even tech newbies to understand. Also, his firsthand experience and examples added a dimension that a lot of similar sessions lacked.
— Kimberly Cook (@kckimberlycook) March 14, 2015
- “Lessons From BuzzFeed,” Jonah Peretti, CEO & Co-Founder, BuzzFeed – It’s no secret to those of us who have been watching that BuzzFeed has grown a lot in terms of both reach and content. A site people began using to take funny quizzes has steadily transformed into a source for hard, reliable news coverage. This was the first time Peretti publicly shared the BuzzFeed business model and plans for the future, which was, honestly, a really special experience. I have no doubt that media companies worldwide have taken notice about what Peretti had to say.
— Kimberly Cook (@kckimberlycook) March 16, 2015
In addition to the standout panels I saw at SXSW, there were some strong recurring themes throughout the conference. Here are some of the specifics:
- Meerkat – Seriously, Meerkat was everywhere. Even Julia Louis-Dreyfus walked out using Meerkat in her panel, “The VEEP Speaks.” I’m interested to see what’s next for this app.
- Big Data – While the importance of data journalism was something I was already familiar with, the rise of big data was echoed in panels all throughout SXSW.
- Cyber Security – As I mentioned, there were a dozen panels on cyber security and privacy at SXSW. With the rise of big data, both consumers and companies are becoming increasingly aware of and interested in the the specifics of cyber security—particularly in terms of data mining and privacy.
(P.S. I sprained my knee at SXSW, but I would do it all over again—twice—and on crutches. I think that’s all there is to say.)