2016’s Top SXSW-Related Memories
I have lots of incredible SXSW-related memories from calendar year 2016. Ten of my favorite recollections from the last 12 months are as follows:
- POTUS at SXSW. I was honored to provide a short introduction to Barack Obama before his keynote interview with Evan Smith at the Long Center on Friday, March 12. What a thrill to have the President outline his vision of 21st century activism to the SXSW community!
- Jacquelline Fuller Interview. I was also fortunate enough to interview the President of Google.org and Google Foundation last March. Our conversation was an extension of the on-stage interview at the Girlstart Gamechangers Luncheon from September 2015.
- FLOTUS at SXSW. Five days after her husband spoke at the event, Michelle Obama, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Diane Warren, and Sophia Bush discussed the importance of empowering girls before an energetic crowd at the Austin Convention Center.
- Robi Damelin at the SXSW Community Service Awards. A mother whose son was killed by a Palestinian sniper talk, Damelin talked about crossing borders to heal conflicts. Look for many more powerful stories like this at the ceremony for the 2017 honorees.
- Baratunde Thurston’s HOF Presentation. The author / comedian / pundit was inducted into the SXSW Hall of Fame on March 16. The brilliant acceptance speech from Baratunde (pictured above) reflected all the humor, passion and intelligence for which he has become known. Stay tuned in early January as we announce the 2017 HOF inductee.
- Virtual Reality at the Austin Forum. Texas-based game developer Patrick Curry covered the incredible promise, the potential and the hype of this incredible new technology in September at the year’s best edition of the monthly gathering.
- Trends Talk at the Zurich Digital Festival. In September, I traveled to Switzerland to talk top tech trends at the Zurich Digital Festival. This trip reflects the global growth of the SXSW brand — and should help produce an even bigger international delegation at the 2017 event.
- South by South Lawn. March Magic in Austin inspired the White House to create a similar one-day celebration of creativity and action. Graced by spectacular weather, the early October event showcased the power and promise of community-driven change.
- Bill Nye Keynote at SXSW Eco. The Science Guy served as one of the keynote speakers for our October 2016 event. Given the new administration’s focus on fossil fuel, Nye’s message of careful attention to the environment becomes even more urgent.
- Post-November 8 Staff Meeting. SXSW staffers take part in somewhere between 5–15 meetings per week, many of which are mind-numbing. The emotionally-charged meeting we had in November wasn’t one of the — and reminded me why we work here.
Register now for SXSW 2017 (March 10–18) to create your own amazing memories. Save $200 if you buy before end of day January 13!
Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.