The magic of SXSW isn't easy to sum up. Buzzword after buzzword mixed with super tasty brisket in a bun and ribs from a truck. And much is lost in me trying to tell you what it's all about. When this crazy, inspiring and overwhelming experience is coming to an end it is quite obvious that every cell in my body and, foremost, my brain has been stretched to its limits these last few days. Like in a constant flow of yoga poses – muscles have tensed and relaxed in a constant cycle. Wisdoms, interesting conversations and culinary explorations.
The food is a large takeaway. Period. In the crazy swarm that most resembles the love child of a conference and a giant festival, there is a footruck in almost every street corner. The contrast is striking when a van serving burritos is parked outside JW Marriot (a rather luxurious hotel). The food is prepared with love in a way that seem to materialize the hospitality we meet in people everywhere here.
Southbites is a part of SXSW that focuses on food, which seem very fitting in this location. Property developers in conversations with designers and restaurant owners are convinced that we by creating meeting spaces with food in the centre can build better communities in todays urbanized world. Spaces where we can be alone together. Where we can be part of a greater story. And food is a tool for this. And alot of the interesting meetings at SXSW happens at restaurants. Such as my meeting with Laura who lives in New York, but comes from Dallas and gives me a new perspective on Texas.
Everything disruptive is also the things I will take away from all this. The energetic french man on the roof of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, the squirrels quietly reading their books on a bench while all by-passers want to take a selfie with them and the agency friends from the hometown of my heart, Gothenburg. To argue that these things aren't part of the reason for coming here is just silly. For as much effort you put into finding the best talks, you should put into absorbing everything that goes on in between sessions. That's where you find true magic.
An equal amount of sessions discuss the importance of relevant content and context is outweighed by debating how we can create better communication for our clients. And preferably together. I can feel my body responding the same way that happens when you fall in love. I want nothing more than to get to work straight away. And in the most unexpected context arises the seed of a new project.
Another way of tackling the ginormous program of SXSW could be sticking to one specific topic, say storytelling, and see everything with the hopes that at least half is really good. Instead I choose to mix up the more straight forward sessions with completely different subjects like satire vs. journalism and challenges within the world of museums. And thats exactly when the ideas that are closely attached to current projects arises.
I am firmly convinced that creative discussions thrive in broad representation. And that if we limit us to be inspired only by our closest circle we will hardly accomplish awesome things. Recurring quotes are about the courage to experiment and work together as the winning path if we want to stay relevant to our audiences. Regardless if it's Peter Fasano social@Ogilvy or Aaron Koblin VRSE in the panel. Or as Michel Neiling Ocupop speaks of: It's about falling forward faster than everyone else. If you want a deeper explanation of what that means, I recommend you to check out his talk ”Shit Yeah”.(All lectures should be made available through SXSW.com)