The SXSW Interactive Festival Hall of Fame honors trend-setters who have pushed the industry forward via a history of innovative thinking. In 2012, the first-ever Hall of Fame inductee was web design legend Jeffrey Zeldman. In 2013, the award went to danah boyd, an expert on social media (particularly as related to the user habits of young adults). For 2014, the SXSW Interactive Festival Hall of Fame inductee will be Joi Ito, who currently holds the position of Director of the MIT Media Lab.
Over the years, Ito has participated in the SXSW Interactive Festival on many levels. His involvement in the March 2013 event demonstrates the scope and depth of his fascinating career — not only was he a speaker on a session titled “The New Serendipity” (other panelists included Kevin Rose, John Perry Barlow and Colin Raney), Ito also manned the MIT booth at SXSW Create and served as DJ at an after-hours get-together. For this year's event, he was a speaker on the "The Future of Making" session (along with Tim Brown of IDEO). Additionally, he led an effort that brought nearly two dozen MIT Media Lab students to SXSW 2014.
Ito’s career spans a incredible variety of different sectors. He is a Board Member of The Sony Corporation, The New York Times Company, The MacArthur Foundation, The Knight Foundation, Creative Commons and co-founder and board member of Digital Garage an Internet company in Japan. He is on board of a number of non-profit organizations including The Mozilla Foundation and WITNESS. He has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan and was an early stage investor in Twitter, Six Apart, Wikia, Flickr, Last.fm, Kickstarter, Path and other Internet companies. He is the Guild Custodian of the World of Warcraft guild, We Know. He is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, an Emergency First Responder Instructor and a Divers Alert Network (DAN) Instructor Trainer.
Ito was named by Businessweek as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web in 2008. In 2011, he was chosen by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers." In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute in recognition of his role as one of the world's leading advocates of Internet freedom. In 2011 and 2012, Ito was chosen by Nikkei Business as one of the 100 most influential people for the future of Japan. Ito received the degree of Doctor of Literature, honoris causa, from The New School in 2013.
The SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame induction ceremony occurs on Tuesday evening, March 11 at the Downtown Austin Hilton as part of the gala SXSW Interactive Awards. Plan your trip to SXSW 2014 such that you will be at this special event to honor one of the most influential leaders in the new media industry. Other elements of the SXSW Interactive Awards include the Best of Show Award, the People's Choice Award and the Breakout Trend Award.