The Forrest Four-Cast: October 4, 2016
Yesterday’s first-ever South by South Lawn event proved to be a huge success. Attendees learned, listened, connected and brainstormed — what more can you ask for in an afternoon at the White House? At my end, four of the most important lessons that I will remember from this amazing experience are as follows:
- Partnerships are everything. SXSL happened as successfully as it did because some relatively odd bedfellows (including two Austin-based companies, SXSW and C3) combined their talents for a common goal. Yes, it is amazing what can happen in a city like Washington DC when petty differences are suspended and people work together to achieve the greater good.
- It all comes down to weather. Given that the Monday, October 3 weather in Washington DC was spectacular, luck also played a large role in the success of SXSL. The warmth and blue skies were a large contrast to the cool and rainy conditions of a few days earlier. Of course, its hard to ignore the significant irony here — the perils of climate change serve as the focus of the powerful Leonardo DiCaprio documentary “Before the Flood” that ended the evening.
- “Better is good.” This was a phrase that President Obama mentioned in his conversation about climate change with Leonardo DiCaprio and Texas Tech scientist Katharine Hayhoe. This thinking reflects eight years of political realism and the concept that you probably can’t achieve all of your goals as quickly as you would like. But, the phrase also reflects an optimism that small steps are the solution to accomplishing big things.
- The audience is the answer. Speakers at yesterday’s event packed significant star-power. But the most innovative thinkers were the 2000+ attendees, people whose energy and creativity will pave the future. In this sense, SXSL re-affirmed that the faces in the crowd (not the figures on the stage) are the ones whose actions will both build and inspire a better future.
For those who were not able to attend SXSL, read the extensive coverage from our friends at TechCrunch. Or, re-watch the stream from yesterday’s event at whitehouse.gov. Will there be another similar gathering in the future? Maybe so, maybe no. But for now, let’s just take some time to digest all of yesterdays ideas and connections.