Who’s Ready for SXSWi 2016? What to Keep Your Eye On at This Year’s Festival
The SXSW Interactive (SXSWi) hype machine is in full effect as we inch closer to the event kick off this week (March 11-15) in Austin, Texas. From President Obama’s keynote to promises of robots everywhere, this year’s schedule has more to offer than ever before for all of you makers, creators and digital savants.
But, if you’re struggling to narrow down the packed agenda, you’re in luck. We’ve spent hours combing through the master schedule and reading up on influencers’ predictions. Here’s a snapshot of what to look out for at SXSWi 2016:
- Continued talk about politics: All eyes will be on Obama as he delivers the opening keynote. The President will participate in a live Q&A with the Texas Tribuneto talk about technology’s growing role in the political process. Considering we’re in the middle of a headline-worthy elections season, this will only be the beginning of the political talk swirling on the ground.
- I. and Robots, not as futuristic as we think. SXSWi will host the first ever Robot Ranch this year where attendees will have the chance to get up close and personal with A.I. animals. Attendees can get their hands on the different types of robots and chat with creators.
- Gamergate (the controversy continued): You may remember the controversy around SXSW last fall, when organizers pulled two Gamergate-related panels from the agenda citing “violent threats.” The festival was criticized for giving misogyny a platform and an Internet outcry abounded. Long story short, SXSW re-instated the sessions and added a day-long, live-streamed online harassment summit to discuss the topic.
- A big startup launch. Last year’s SXSWi saw the launch, and subsequent explosion, of live broadcasting app Meerkat — it was reminiscent of 2007, when Twitter blew up at SXSW, and 2009, when Foursquare accomplished the same feat. Who will attempt it this year? Check out the Startup Village and their signature competition, SXSW Accelerator.
In addition to some of those bigger trends/ events, the DGC team will be on the ground to join clients and report on all the action first-hand. Here are some of the events we’re looking forward to covering:
- Following Obama’s session on Friday, we’ll be heading over to Austin City Limits to attend a session with 360i’s Chief Strategy Officer who will be talking about innovative brands using data-driven marketing.
- On Saturday, we’ll be kicking off the weekend at a session with Marie Claire who will be sitting down with the stars of Broad City to discuss the transition of their show from web series to cultural phenom. #yassqueen From there, we’ll be learning about how brands can join the billion-dollar idea club at a session with KITE, Coca-Cola and MasterCard.
- Later in the day, GSD&M will host a discussion on which risk-taking brands are successfully connecting with their customers via Periscope and Meerkat.
- We’ll have to divide and conquer on Sunday – the day kicks off with two great sessions at 11am – one with Facebook that will explore the power of A.I. and how it’s posed to shape our future. The other session is hosted by InStyle Magazine – the editor will sit down with Kerry Washington to discuss the “new rules” of stardom. Then, we’ll finish off the day by hosting a #DGCSundayFunday cocktail party at the W Hotel.
- On Monday, Ogilvy & Mather will be touching on the challenges of marketing to a Latino audience in a session about how they made the Modelo Especial story “special,” not schizophrenic.
- Before jumping on a flight home on Tuesday, we’ll be sure to catch one last session at the Austin Convention Center. SoulCycle founders will be sharing their story in a session entitled, “How to Create a Movement.” We’ll be taking notes in that one for sure!
To keep abreast of these and other happenings on the ground, follow @DiGennaro and #DGCsxswi + our colleagues who will be in Austin: @SamDiGennaro, @erindonahue, @MarielenaSan, @perezOrourke and @sylvia_zhou,.
See you in Austin!