Day #1 SXSW Highlights

My first trip to Austin and amazing things happened to me on day one of SXSW. Whilst sitting having a margarita with my Head of Design Silvia we saw a double Rainbow. Which seems apt at an Interactive festival as #doublerainbow is one of the biggest internet memes of all time (36M view on the song alone).

The other amazing thing to happen to me was unexpectedly being given a ticket to see President Obama speak. SXSW is a series of chance encounters, fortuitous meetings and this year for me a calendar of bucket list opportunities.

President Barack Obama Keynote Conversation #POTUS 

Obama is the cool early adopter president, the first in history to hire a Chief Digital Officer. But even today in the worlds oldest consistent democracy it’s easier to order a pizza than it is to vote. So Obama came to Austin with a call to arms, to ask the creative and tech community how as a group we could create smart systems, and use the same technologies we are using to sell things, to instead make Government more responsive.

He wants the private sector, non-profit and Government to join forces and use an intersection of tech, data and social to solve problems. It’s not enough to focus on the cool next thing. Use that next cool thing to tackle inequality.

As Casey Gerald had said in the opening Key Note that preceded Obama, giving a damn is the most valuable thing you can do in business.

He brought the house down, was funny, charismatic and well worth a watch if you’ve got a spare hour.