Every time I meet someone new, I get the standard, “So what do you do for a living?” question. Now, if i lived in Austin and said, “I work for SXSW Interactive,” they’d know exactly what I was talking about, say, “cool,” and leave it at that. But as a teleworker from Portland, OR, I sometimes get people that have never heard of SXSW. And that’s when I start to explain both what I do as well as what is SXSW. Lately I’ve started to think about what it really means to me and why I love working for this company.
Sure, I could give the standard answer listed on our ‘about’ page and that would be accurate, but I really don’t think that does this festival justice. So…what does SXSW mean to me.
It means learning about topics I would have never given a second thought to, or looking at things that I am passionate about, but forced to view it from a different perspective. It’s about challenging my beliefs and pushing myself to think outside of my comfort zone. And it’s about the people. Every year I meet a huge number of brilliant, caring, happy people at SXSW Interactive and wonder, where are you the other 51 weeks out of the year?! That’s when I realize it’s not just who you are, but what SXSW brings out of you for 5 days. We all have the capability of being happy, brilliant, and caring, SXSW Interactive has just created the environment to let that shine through.
So what area am I personally super excited about this year? It’s got to be Art, Science, and Inspiration. Tucked inside this theme are the DIY, Hacker and Maker sessions, which screams creativity to me. Out of the box thinking is not something that comes easy to me and watching someone explain a common problem with an uncommon solution gives me hope.
My personal not to miss session? Taking it to the Street: Neighborhood as Interface, for all the reasons I listed above. We all live in our communities made up of different types of people with different skill sets. This is the perfect example of using all those differences for a bigger goal.
Yup, it’s going to be a great SXSW 2014! And if you want to meet up with other SXSW attendees before SXSW starts, be sure to check out one of our Community Meet Ups starting in January!