SXSW – Official CS Round Up


So SXSW was last month and hopefully those that did not make it have had some time to catch up. However if you haven’t I thought it would be good with the help of some of our Socials and friends to pick out the highlights as well as provide some tips early for next year.

I personally loved it this year and came away truly inspired. You can see my personal round up here:

But did the Socials and our friends at SXSW concur? I spoke to Lawrence Weber (Karmarama), Fabio simoes pinto (Team One), Nadya Powell (Dare), Tom Evans (Being), Sam Ball (LMFM), Patrick Gardner (Perfect Fools), Laura Jordan-Bambach (Dare), Michael Aneto (Perfect Fools), Flo Heiss (Dare) and Anders Gustafsson (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners) to find out what they thought the best talks, tech and trends were as well as providing tips for 2014. The first thing that was quite clear was that the overall feeling was that it was a brilliant five days with 90% of Socials described it as Wired with only one describing it as Tired. As one Social said, ‘it’s like Cannes now, but with lots of other interesting people too’):



Favourite talks

It seems that the favourite talk was that from Elon Musk who wants to die on Mars, just not on Impact’. And it seems that space exploration was a hot topic among social with Barbarian Group’s 100 Year Starship talk and Patrick Gardner loved “The New Golden Age of Human Spaceflight” with Richard Garriott, private astronaut and founder of the MMORPG Ultima Online.

Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, is now planning a commercial, MANNED mission to orbit Mars in 2018 – using the fact that Mars will be in its most optimal alignment to Earth in 14 years. This will allow a round trip of 1.5 years total, much shorter than normal. The speaker, who owns the company that sent Tito and 6 others to the International Space Station – including himself – drew up a three-stage, thirty year plan (3 x a decade – he made the very good point that 10 years is the longest possible decision-making cycle in a modern democracy) that lays the groundwork for the human colonisation of Mars. The really interesting thing about this guy is not that he is a space visionary.

It’s that he and his peers, like Elon Musk at Space X, are actually making it happen for real. Garriott showed clearly why he thinks the cost of transporting a human to the ISS will come down from its current $100m to $1m in 10 years. At that point it will be profitable for enterprising space entrepreneurs to go into orbit to undertake zero-gravity experiments and earn incomes in other interesting ways.

Other favourites included BJ Fogg ‘Why tiny habits give big results’ in which he talked about the tangible effect on the way agencies operate,  the Disney Labs REVEL preview, Mike Monello, creator of the Blair Witch project telling his story while in terms of learning Michael loved Survival Strategies For Brands In China: “I saw it on the first day and it helped put a lot of the other talks into context.

Top Tech and Trends

The top tech was clearly Leap Motion:

The overlying trend  though can be best summarised by Anders who talked about a return to human behavior and interaction, with less focus on simply technology.’ This encompasses Maker Culture, 3D printing, wearable technology and Organic UX – making technology more organic and integrated with the human experience / condition.

Key learnings:

  • 3d printing is good for prototypes but not for product design
  • Agency are the least interesting people to see talk at tech conferences
  • Living technology is where it’s at
  • Agencies need to get closer to start-up culture
  • 2013 is hyped to be the year of the connected object
  • SXSW reaffirmed it I want to quit my day job
  • Stay for music next year.
  • Digital agencies are actually the cutting edge of technology.
  • Forget the future concentrate on whats hot now.
  • Machines are easy to understand, people are hard

Our favourite restaurants and Bars

Tips for SXSW 2014

  • Go to two talks a day, not more. One Am one PM. Don’t suffer FOMO.
  • Talk to everyone.
  • To jump the keynote queue buy a coffee from the shop at the front of the queue and stay there
  • Queue early
  • Book Air BnB now. Stay close to downtown
  • I think its far better than the sum of its parts – the talks are great but the overall vibe is great.
  • Kicks the arse out of Cannes
  • Get an apartment through Airbnb – we did and it was nicer than living in a hotel.
  • RSVP for everything before you go, and make your mind up later
  • Take your mobile-phone charger out with you
  • Hire a bike and cycle round Austin.
  • Make every other drink a water

Thanks everyone for making SXSW so special. A particular thanks to the guys at Microsoft who helped make our CS Pop up happen. Look forward to catching up in 2014.

Do let us know if you would be interested in getting involved with Creative Social next year at SXSW.



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