SXSW Showcases New Trends in Technology and Commerce

The festival had its beginnings as a music and film destination, but entrepreneurs and startups have taken the Austin conference by storm.
March 6, 2013

South by Southwest (SXSW) isn’t for hipsters anymore. And as someone who had to Google the word hipsters, that’s good news for me.

The SUCCESS team will live tweet March 8-12 news and photos from Austin, Texas, including quotes from keynotes, small-business tips and exclusive interviews with SUCCESS. Visit @SUCCESSmagazine on Twitter to follow updates. SXSW will live stream all their keynotes on SXSW.com as well.

What began in the ’90s as a music and film showcase has evolved into a who’s who of entrepreneurs, tech gurus and bleeding-edge startups. Entrepreneurial startups, social media, web design, mobile applications, and online marketing are some of the hundreds of breakout sessions during the weeklong SXSW Interactive, Music and Film Festival. Private sector space travel, 3-D printing, crowdfunding and big data are headlining topics this year.

Who’s Who

SUCCESS February 2013 cover personality and SpaceX founder Elon Musk will speak at SXSW Interactive about the future of space travel. Just a week after the Dragon space shuttle nearly failed to make it to the International Space Station on its resupply mission, Musk will headline one of the most anticipated sessions discussing privatization of space travel as the next frontier.

Musk is already familiar with the Lone Star State, which may become home to his new private SpaceX space port. Currently, SpaceX launches most of its rockets from Cape Canaveral.

Another newsmaker coming to Austin will be former Vice President Al Gore. The environmentalist and thought leader surprised SXSW audiences in 2012 with a last-minute appearance with Sean Parker, saying “Democracy has been hacked.” He’ll return this year with Wall Street Journal columnist and co-executive editor of AllThingsD.com Walter Mossberg to discuss the layout of “The Future” as Gore sees it. His book The Future: The Six Drivers of Change was released January 2013 to critical acclaim. (Watch Mossberg interview Gore in this 2011 All Things D Conference, where he discusses Steve Jobs, the future of Apple, the environmental impact of technology and, of course, climate change.)

Also in attendance at SXSW Interactive festival, Bravo’s Andy Cohen will discuss his success in a difficult live, late-night, interactive format; Makerbot co-founder Bre Pettis will share the evolution of 3-D printing; and The Lean Startup author Eric Ries will conduct a daylong startup accelerator. Approximately 1,000 other sessions will include SEO, social media, entrepreneurism, activism, health technology and a “hackathon for social good.”

SXSW’s Film festival will screen more than 250 films and showcase more than 2,200 musical acts, in addition to breakout sessions that range from the rise of electronic dance music and how to promote your band socially to crowdfunding your indie film and the latest camera technology. Simultaneous gaming, music gear and trade show expos as well as parties and lounges will highlight brands and media outlets such as Spotify, Pandora, Nintendo, Hootsuite, Paypal, Fandango, Mashable, National Geographic, MTV and VH1.

There’s also an official SXSW Ping Pong tournament. Why, I don’t know. I think it’s a hipster thing.

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