Fast Company & SXSW Present: An Oral History of SXSW Interactive

Written by Sarah Garcia | Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014


Two decades ago, when SXSW Interactive (then the SXSW Multimedia Conference) started, the “festival” consisted of a handful of panels and a few hundred attendees housed in the meeting space of one hotel in downtown Austin. Today, SXSWi has become a launching pad for startups -- including Twitter and Foursquare -- a hunting ground for tech investors, and an incubator of forward-thinking ideas that draws 30,000 registrants to Austin every March.

Join us on Saturday, March 8 as Fast Company and SXSW Interactive partner to bring together some of industry's most creative and innovative minds who share one common thread: their significant role in the weird, wild, and largely untold history of SXSW Interactive. Bob Safian, Editor in Chief of Fast Company, will sit down with leaders like Guy Kawasaki, danah boyd, Baratunde Thurston, Bruce Sterling, among others, to hear first-hand accounts of how an eclectic mix of geeks and creatives took the tech world by storm.

By gathering big names in tech, festival founders, early participants, and scene-watchers to the stage, we will tell the story of how five days in March grew into one of the most important cultural and economic incubators of the new millennium. We’ll chat with folks who shaped the direction of SXSW Interactive and hear their first-hand accounts of the moments that had far reaching implications through not only the tech industry, but the world. You won’t want to miss it.

Also, keep your eyes out for’s special extended and as yet untold story of the history of SXSW Interactive. "The Untold Story of SXSWi: An Oral History of the Weird, Wild, and World-Changing Festival" will take place on Saturday, March 8 in Ballroom BC from 6:30pm to 7:30pm and is open to all Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. See you there!

Photo credit: Benjamin Lowy