Blog Header
The Insights Blog

Dedicated To Helping Readers
Be More Interesting
Since 2004.

As Featured In:

First Impressions at SxSW

This might be an odd title to a post about SxSW since the event has been going on for several days now and the "SxSW" tag is already at the top of the Technorati WTF buzz index.  But regardless, I just arrived today at the midpoint of the Interactive event at South by Southwest and it seems as though most everyone has been partying and networking for the past two days.  Coming in today feels a bit like jumping into a movie in the middle and trying to catch up.  Listening to the podcasts from the first day of the event on the plane ride over today was a good crash course on the vibe – particularly the How to Rawk at SxSW (right click to download) panel which features several folks who were veterans of the event offering tips for newbies on how to get the most out of the event.  And tips are sorely needed – as the conference guide for the Interactive event is 136 pages long and accompanied by the bag of magazines, CDs and newspapers – it offers a backbreaking experience for carting around.  No wonder the girls in the "Big Bag Room" were confused that I was ready to pick up the bag in the middle of the day.  Apparently that was my first amateur mistake as a newbie.

Sitting in Dan Rather’s keynote session, I witnessed a similar phenomena to what I had seen at several interactive or new media events that I had seen Al Gore speak at.  It seems as though highly influential individuals that have been treated as outcasts by established press corps and institutions come to events like SxSW as heroes.  Yet here is the difference between the two men: Al Gore is trying to reinvent cable news with Current TV.  Dan Rather, on the other hand, offered the simple message that it’s time for journalists to start doing their jobs again.  It’s a great message that I personally agree with (as I’ve written about before), but it seemed like the wrong message for the audience at SxSW.  I would venture a guess that the majority of people sitting in the audience had already given up on hoping journalists would find their backbone or ever get that "spine transplant" that Rather mentioned – and instead have decided to take the reins themselves.

The other thing that’s immediately clear when looking at the schedule is that the evening events are a lot more important than the day.  Tonight’s evening party schedule is packed with too many fun sounding things from the 20×2 event where 20 speakers explore the question "What if?" in 2 minutes each … to drinks with the folks from Lifehacker.  There’s no single party for everyone like at many other large industry events – just multiple events and everyone talking to everyone else about where they are heading.  The combination of Film and Interactive events happening concurrently is creating an interesting vibe at the event.  Video blogging here, as in the real world, is very hot.  Other sites getting lots of buzz here at SxSW are Twitter, Upcoming and SxSWBaby.

1 thought on “First Impressions at SxSW”

Leave a Comment

Vector Smart Object

About Rohit

A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

He loves the Olympics, actively hates cauliflower and is a proud dad of boys.

Rohit Bhargava About (1)

Speaking

Do you need a speaker that can help your audience be more innovative and anticipate the future?

For more than a decade, Rohit Bhargava has been inspiring audiences at NASA, Disney, Schwab, Microsoft, SXSW, Coca-Cola and hundreds of other clients with his signature non-obvious keynote presentations. He is a master at weaving recent stories into his talks in a way that helps audiences better understand the world today, while also preparing to lead the future.

Non Obvious Insights
Layer 97
Non Obvious Insights Newsletter
Layer 118

Skip the obvious and anticipate the future with our weekly newsletter. Join over 25,000 subscribers and start receiving the stories (and insights) you’ve been missing.

Books

#1 WSJ & USAToday Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 8 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

Vector Smart Object

Contact

Have a Question or Inquiry?

Just fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!

About You

What Are You Contacting Us About*:

Your Message