Holy smokes, SXSW Interactive is a mere 8 weeks away!
Which means if you have tickets, the planning part of your brain should be kicking into high gear right about now (and if you don’t have tickets, it’s time to switch to panic mode). With over 1,000 different interactive sessions to choose from this year, without a little forethought, Austin could be your cognitive Waterloo.
Don’t worry! To help jump-start your brain, we’re going to be running helpful SXSW posts in the weeks to come, to help you make it through the festival relatively unscathed. (Of course, if you do become scathed, the Vitamin T crew will be there at the show to patch you up with some swag. Booth location to be disclosed soon.)
So let’s start off easy, with a rundown of the spectacular keynote speakers. There are only four, so it should be the perfect brain appetizer.
Baratunde Thurston: March 10
The tech-loving comedian and digital director of The Onion will be giving the first keynote address on Saturday, which should tell you how very different SXSW is from, say the Academy Awards. Thank the gods. (By the way, check out those Webby Awards in the photo on his site. I see three. No telling how many are cropped out.)
Amber Case: March 11
Cyborg anthropologist (yes, you read that right), UX designer, and the founder of Geoloqi.com will give Sunday’s keynote. Touted as one of the Most Influential Women in Technology by Fast Company, she’s been featured in Forbes, WIRED, and countless other magazines, and has spoken at TED on technology and humans.
Ray Kurzweil: March 12
The celebrated visionary will join a discussion with TIME Magazine senior writer Lev Grossman and take us on a journey into the future and beyond. (Wait, there’s not really a beyond, is there? That’s probably for another blog post.) Called the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison” by Inc. magazine, Kurzweil is the father of many firsts: first CCD flat-bed scanner, first omni-font optical character recognition, first print-to-speech reading machine, first print-to-speech synthesizer, and a page full more. (We just listened an old interview with him on Science Friday, which is a great teaser if you’re interested.) Lev Grossman covers technology, media, and arts for TIME and wrote their profile cover story on Kurzweil.
Jennifer Pahlka: March 13
The founder and executive director of Code for America, will give the final keynote address. One of SXSW’s core principles is to challenge the tech community to change the world for the better. Since Code for America works with web professionals and cities around the country to “promote public service and reboot government,” you can probably see how she fits right in.
Okay, four down, 996 to go.
Stay tuned, we’ll be posting dates and times of some key events as we see them (they haven’t been set in stone as of yet), sharing thought-provoking interviews with our own Renee Diaz, who is returning as a Panel Assistant and Tiffany Jennings, who sat on a real live SXSW panel last year, as well as covering the event. (And sometimes recovering from the event.)
We guarantee you’ll have fun, even if you don’t have tickets!