The SXSW Round Up

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

SXSW isn’t back, but it’s still fun. I’m still rooting for it. It’s still worth going.

Considering how distracted we all were by the looming banking collapse, SX’s opening weekend was pretty inspiring. Austin is still rad and being back in deep conversation with so many friends and colleagues at the scale that this event provides is irreplaceable.

The serendipitous conversations that SXSW fosters are so valuable. They renew relationships for years to come. The festival is overwhelming by nature, but that’s just part of bringing people from this many disciplines together.

Pre-pandemic, SXSW had become a bit “corporate” for a lot of people. Gaga’s Dorito moment (yes, I’m still talking about it) was Fonzie jumping the shark, full stop. So it’s worth noting that, this year at least, it wasn’t a place where huge brands came to peacock.

I only saw two companies launch new products this year: Coinbase rolled out its new Ad platform, Wallet As Service (with a beautiful brunch!) and Beatport announced its new marketplace.

Mostly, it was a shmingle between brands and event organizers. You could feel Penske’s impact as they spread their media companies across different days. Robb Report had a cool tech hang, Rolling Stone was focused on the crossover days, and Billboard is set to to stand tall for the big music weekend.

I’m excited that, off the back of last week’s newsletter, the SXSW folks reached out. We had a great conversation about ways for SXSW to reclaim the throne of innovation.

One suggestion I have is to program submissions later in the year. Booking in July of one year doesn’t guarantee relevance in March of the next. That’s the speed we’re moving at these days, and that’s the kind of root recalibration SXSW needs to be a place where brands and bands come to break.

This year was a successful scouting mission with the added bonus of chance encounters and ‘Que. I firmly believe that when this recession ends we will see a repeat of 2009. There will be a wave of paradigm-shifters like Pinterest, Slack, Uber, Airbnb, and Venmo, and SXSW will be a place for those business and ideas to blossom

I’m ready to say it right now: I’m in for next year!

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Also published on Medium.