SXSW 2019: The vibe is different this year
FUSE founding partner, Garo Keresteci, talks about what is different about SXSW this year
The vibe at SXSW 2019 is different this year.
There was an amazing presentation (by a Toronto boy, no less) titled, “Building Trust in Distrustful Times” that summed it up for me: “…handshakes and smiles are scarce resources…we want humanity from our tech…where in our algorithmic world can we install some humanity?”
It’s been less about the next big revolutionary technology or platform, although there is lots of cool tech to be seen and played with. There just doesn’t seem to be that universally agreed upon, big hairy idea that we can bring back to our agency and our clients. If I had to search for the learning from SXSW this year, I need to look inward versus outward. The most impactful sessions, speeches and insights I gleaned were about how to deal with, consume or even shun already existing technology and trends. To me it’s more about belonging than block chain, privacy over platforms. An active dialogue about whether the social media giants will even survive – given privacy and monopolistic power - versus new ways to work with them.
Political leaders headlined the conference. By my count, there were at least eight 2020 presidential candidates at SXSW. Each of them, in their own way, asked us to look at ourselves and our neighbours, reminding us how much we have in common (worry, concern?) versus how much we differ.
This is my first visit to SXSW and hell yeah, I’ll be back. Everyone told me I’d be blown away, and I was. However, not the way I was expecting. Not by new, cool, shiny technology and marketing ideas, but by how it made me feel as a marketer, a leader, a citizen and as a parent.