The annual SXSW pilgrimage to Austin took place last month, and a few fortunate Mullen souls were lucky enough to attend, either as agency ambassadors or sponges depending on their individual circumstances.
I myself went in “sponge” capacity and, given it was my first time on the hallowed grounds of the Austin Convention Center, tried as best I could to be as open-minded and as alert as possible – a challenge that increased as the days, exposure to big data chat, and prolonged drinking sessions accumulated.
Nevertheless, by the time the geek crowd had traded places with the music kids, my attitude had also completely evolved from “healthily jaded” (surely this is just a bunch of marketers blowing smoke in each other’s faces…) to being a truly inspired convert (Elon Musk, Al Gore and Peter Thiel, in all their visionary wonderment, are hard to argue with).
The bottom line: SXSW for all its Foursquare-, Vine- and Twitter-trending frenetic-ness, is, in its purest form, a repository for some of the best minds in the country to come together, doing their best to propel technological and cultural innovation forward.
If that doesn’t excite you, then you are probably better off immigrating to Costa Rica and waiting for the next big wave to roll in.
If it does, though, then below is a summary of the great and the good, as we interpreted it, from South By 2013.