The SXSW Staff has worked very hard to bring the 2013 event to fruition. We represent all walks of life from within the community that comes together in Austin each spring. Staff have the extremely difficult task of combing through and curating community entries from the SXSW PanelPicker as well as seeking out additional programming that reflects the state of creativity and tech today. We asked three staff members who primarily work on the programming team, Kathryn E. Irwin, Sarah Nichole Garcia and Todd Hansen the following question...
"What are you most excited about for SXSW Interactive 2013?"
Sarah Garcia: I'm really looking forward to seeing Matthew Inman speak because I've been a fan of The Oatmeal for a few years now and his work always puts a smile on my face. As sharp and witty as his work is, he must be a really smart guy, so he's definitely a must-see for me.
Kathryn Irwin: Jane Pratt: Secrets of a Publishing Renegade – I am a product of the Sassy generation and getting the chance to see, in person, the woman who most shaped who I am today is blowing my mind! [We're excited about this, too! -Ed.]
Sarah: I'm excited to see Douglas Rushkoff speak on the session Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. I think he's got some really interesting theories about how our culture has evolved as a result of ubiquitous digital technology. His new book explores the idea that even though we've freed up most of our memory to Facebook and Instagram-like services, we're wasting this new found cerebral excess on frivolous information, and that sounds really interesting to me.
Todd Hansen : The Future of Porn – I find Cindy Gallop's quest to improve the sex lives of everyone a compelling and unique window into how the web has shaped behaviors. She has taken the aftermath of her experience and woven it into her own entrepreneurial story. She has much to teach us about breaking new ground along side a taboo industry.
Sarah: Of all of our programming, I'm actually most excited to see And What of Liberty? Networks and Freedom, which features a group of young individuals discussing network consolidation as it relates to our freedoms and efforts that are being made to establish truly free and open networks.
Todd: Trillions: Thriving In The Information Ecology – Conceptually, I find the work and thinking of Micky McManus a joyride into looking past our current tech horizon. As we swim in more seas of data and approach the internet of things, the web will play a much different role in our lives. Micky uncorks these ideas and isn't afraid to think about its enormous complexity.
Sarah: I'm really looking forward to seeing 3D Printing for People with Disabilities as I always enjoy hearing innovative ways that people are applying new technologies to their altruistic endeavors. And all things 3D printing fascinate me to no end. I'm curious to see how both the design, manufacturing, and countless other industries adapt.
By Date: Friday, March 8 sessions
Kathryn: Female Orgasm: The Regenerative Human Technology. Who doesn't want an orgasm? Amirite?
By Date: Saturday, March 9 sessions
Kathryn: When Does Selling Your Body = Golden Opportunity?. One athlete's middle finger to the man, and an incredibly creative PR campaign to boot.
Sarah: Why Your Brain Needs Negative Feedback should be a really interesting one this year. The session will discuss how our brains react to both positive and negative feedback and why research shows that too much favorable feedback can actually stunt our creative processes. It's always fascinating to hear how our brain works and how we can actually train ourselves to be more imaginative and inventive.
By Date: Sunday, March 10 sessions
Todd: New Standards for a New Era of Journalism – I find the pairing of Craig and Kelly to be highly dynamic. The topic is a wide and deep ocean of opinions and practices. As this world continues to adapt and reflect our humanity it will be interesting to see how Cindy and Craig's views differ and where there is common ground.
By Date: Monday, March 11 sessions
Kathryn: Black Twitter Activism, Bigger Than Hip Hop. Mark Anthony Neal had one of the best TED talks I've seen in a while.
Todd: Millennials Speak Out: How to Manage the GenX Boss – So much has been written about this topic from the GenX side towards Millennials. I want to hear what Millennials have to say. As a GenXer, I was always amused by how we are perceived and my reality. It will be good to hear their take and see if what I read (and maybe believe) is right or wrong.
By Date: Tuesday, March 12 sessions
Todd: CEO at 21: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Young Founders – As a fan of both Adaptly and Codeacademy I am looking forward to this session. I'm always intrigued by the minds and experiences of young leaders as they learn on the fly. I anticipate a lot of solid takeaways even for those not in leadership roles.
What is your favorite / best story of a serendipitous encounter at a previous SXSW?
Kathryn: In 2009 I was sitting in the TGIF at the Radisson Town Lake, eating for the first time that day, and met a nice gentleman who started talking to me about the Program Book, which I was reading. This encounter turned into a Twitter friendship, which lead to an IRL friendship! Can't wait to see him and his BFF in March! Yes, @corywilkerson and @netricate, I'm talking about you!