What happens when 75,000 professionals at SXSW (South by Southwest) from 74 countries with backgrounds in music, technology, and film get together for 10 days in Austin, TX? Quite a lot! Normally we write about investing but this week we’ve got a very different topic. I spent a week at SXSW 2014 and here are some of my favorite highlights.
Intellectual meets creative
SXSW (South by Southwest) began as a music festival in 1987 and has since grown to be one of the largest gatherings of entrepreneurs and entertainers in the world. While still retaining its core value, providing an audience for new and upcoming musical talent, SXSW has become a destination for motivated professionals to get creative, swap ideas, and collaborate in future business. It’s huge, and amorphous, sort of like the internet itself.
A focus on the need for privacy
SXSW is evolving little by little from a product launch festival to a global technology meeting of the minds. SXSW Interactive, the technology and startup side of the festival, focused this year on privacy issues. Addressing the crowd via satellite, Edward Snowden gave a keynote speech highlighting the current state of privacy as “at a crossroads”. While some argued to just adapt to the reality of a post-privacy world, others insisted on creating solutions to take back our privacy. Either way, these are the programmers who make it all happen so expect 2014 to include many privacy related startups. In that sense SXSW serves as a dense look at the bigger trends.
Here is a quick recap of my favorite moments of SXSW 2014: