The SXSW Interactive Festival Advisory Board consists of industry experts, as well as veteran members of the community that come together in Austin each spring. Advisory Board members are very involved in helping select the best of the best proposals, which SXSW receives each year through the SXSW PanelPicker. We asked Advisory Board members Carmen Gonzalez of Atomic Latina, Henry Copeland Blogads.com and Todd Connelly, Creative Director at The Marketing Arm, the following question...
"What are you most excited about for SXSW Interactive 2013?"
Carmen: Anne-Marie Slaughter is a notable foreign policy analyst, who I consider to be one of the most reasoned minds in the field. Other than Fareed Zacaria, I trust her voice the most. I hope she offers her opinions on the post-Arab Spring landscape.
Henry Copeland: After a mind-saving month on a social media junk food fast, I'm eager to see Clay Johnson talk about The Information Diet. And I want to see the Machiavelli of LOLz, Dr. Ben Huh, expound on The Art of Making Fun of Yourself.
Workshops, Book Readings, Meet Ups
Carmen: The IEEE/W3C Open Future Meetup is as close as I can get to becoming a groupie for the opportunity to see Tim Berners-Lee. Aside from hearing about web privacy, the open web platform, HTML5, and a slew of other topics, the session invites attendees to learn about how to get involved web/tech development. This is a smorgasbord of digital eats.
Henry: I'm particularly excited by the Prototype or Die Workshop... we've evolved our own in-house methodology, and I want to see how this compares with what the big boys do.
Carmen: Carina Ngai's Design for Aging, Your Future Self appeals to all definitions of diversity, including subject matter and speaker perspective. I find Ngai's background to lend an authenticity to her futurist designs, one that incorporates her ethnicity, gender, and genuine curiosity.
Henry: I want to see the Racism on Youtube panel.
Todd: Tweets from the DMZ: Social Media in North Korea. Kind of speaks for itself.
By Date: Friday, March 8 sessions
Henry: I'm always thinking about hiring great people, this panel sounds good: The Real Problem with Hiring: It's Way Too Easy. And as someone who has used a standing desk for the last year, I'm probably going to look for some positive reinforcement from The Comfy Chair! Are We Sitting Too Much?
By Date: Saturday, March 9 sessions
Carmen: 1. Digital Primitives: The Anthropology of Social takes a meta-analysis of online group behavior and distills its lessons for the rest of us to apply. Brilliant. 2. 1 Coffee Pot, Many Disciplines gets to the heart of collaboration and innovation in exploring why physical space and office layout matters.
Henry: Because SXSW is about surfing on an ocean of complexity rather than drowning, I'm going to try to attend The Laws of Subtraction: Rules to Innovate By.
Todd: Make Me Care: Digital Storytelling to Affect Change. I'm a sucker for great titles and this one drew me in. Getting anyone's attention these days is increasingly difficult. Storytelling remains the key.
By Date: Sunday, March 10 sessions
Carmen: The New Serendipity? seeks to identify core principles behind the the appearance of serendipity in our lives. What makes this an ideal SXSW session is that it will look for those principles as revealed by our digital behavior. This is an espresso shot of chance.
Henry: I want to see Scott Cook, who walks what so many others talk: Innovation & Leadership in the Agile Age.
By Date: Monday, March 11 sessions
Carmen: Bots for Civic Engagement takes a hacker's approach to use bots as instruments of good, so I am eager to see how. Sexy, Safe & Smart Highways will introduce new horizon technologies that will be integrated into roadways of the future – tools like wind light and dynamic paint have my imagination spinning.
Henry: On a web full of thousands of wannabe gurus, David Weinberger is the Internet's only real philosopher, the guy who understands how all this yammering sprouts out of millennia of searching for wisdom. So I'm not going to miss his panel New Knowledge Ecosystems: How & What Do We Know?
By Date: Tuesday, March 12 sessions
Carmen: Leave it to Alessandro Acquisti from Carnegie Mellon Univ. to bait SXSW attendees with Privacy in the Age of Augmented Reality. I am prepared to be freaked out and scared shitless after he describes and tests facial recognition software in combination with large scale identity exercises. He has hinted about predicting Social Security numbers from facial recognition apps, so this is a must-see session.
Henry: I'm a long-time admirer, so I'm definitely going to hear what Esther Dyson, Release 0.9, sees ahead.
What I am looking forward to at the SXSW Trade Show / Parties / Lounges
Carmen: The SXSW Trade Show reveals which governments around the world are warming up to digital tech in new ways. It also tells me who the new social media players are and which have created a distinctive niche against their competitors. Film + Interactive Day Stage presented by Getty Images sounds the most inviting with its book readings, but coming in a close second is the Beacon Lounge to chill and juice up my electronics.
Todd: The Hilton bar. While not an official SXSW meeting place, this is where panelists / celebs tend to gather at the end of the day. Get there early, grab a seat and be friendly.
What trend / meme / idea / product will emerge from SXSW 2013?
Carmen: Using group dynamics for human betterment seems to be a relevant trend at SXSW. Notable sessions confirming this (in addition to my other recommendations) are Teaching Cheetahs: Disruptive Education in Africa and Interaction Literacy & Participatory Design.
Henry: Amid the buzzing, booming, blinking clamor, there's only one session that covers silence. That's got to be the eye of the storm, the axis on which all else rotates. So I'm going to be sure to attend Shut Up & Breathe: Meditation & Storytelling FTW!
People I am most excited to connect with at SXSW 2013
Carmen: Noting that The New Serendipity? session is bound to attract like-minded thinkers, I am looking forward to making new friends in the audience who want to contrive serendipity as I do.
Todd: If you're not introducing yourself to complete strangers a least once a day then you're doing it wrong. Get out of your comfort zone. Meet someone new. Don't be shy.
Most memorable serendipitous encounter at SXSW
Carmen: My day job includes researching and understanding various communities, including patient-based groups. After being a part of several online communities for quite some time, I grew to form friendships with many patient advocates on Twitter. Some of these patient leaders came to speak at SXSW last year (including Jody Schoger and Alicia Stales – two brilliant champions in the cancer community), allowing me to finally make a face-to-face connection. While I value my cyber-friendships, there is still no substitute for real-life connections. Thanks, SXSW!
Henry: Too many to name. I'm going to save this form before it disappears.
Todd: Meeting Robert Plant at the Hilton Bar. He was gracious and charming. I was a complete wreck.