SXSW 2014 Wrap-up – Day 1

Weirdest Moment:

I didn’t know Gary Vaynerchuck (@garyvee) but this entrepreneur/author/CEO of Vaynerchuck media really knows how to amp up a crowd. He jumped right into an energetic Q&A-session with questions submitted by the audience via Twitter. One surprising – and slightly weird – insight turned out the be the fact that apparently almost a third of the very large audience was ready to surgically implant their smartphone. The weirdest (and funniest) moment, however, came when the crowd demanded to know from the sign interpreter on stage how she translated Gary’s frequent use of “fuck”. She promptly showed the audience the finger.

Something We Will All Do in 10 Years:

Bio-engineering, if you believe Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab, and Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo. As technology and nature become more integrated, understanding and manipulating biological entities will be more than a hot skill – it will be an essential one.

Biggest Disappointment:

Paying $6 for a mediocre latte in the Austin Convention Center and being informed snootily that “This isn’t a coffee shop, you know.” Yes, that did come through.

Image of the Day:

What's Austin without weird metal sculpture? Photo by Carolyn Higgins

What’s Austin without weird metal sculpture?
Photo by Carolyn Higgins

Best Food Choice:

Sorry, no best food was reported today. Lunch was a casualty of the day.

Best Surprise:

If I was enchanted by the prospect of listening to Pete Horner of Skywalker Sound revealing the secrets of how sound is used to elicit emotion in motion pictures and documentaries, actually seeing his footage during the session “The Emotional Language of Film” bewitched me. The intricacies of marrying sound effects and music are an art form, and at that, one that was even more compelling than imagined.

Mind-blowing Thought of the Day:

Our education system needs to be scrapped. Most of what we learn today is available 24/7 in the palm of your hand. So if you want to prepare your kid’s (or yourself) for the digital world, let them make, dabble, tinker, create, and figure things out. Ah yes, and don’t be afraid of failure, it’s the new normal.

Hidden Gem of the Day:

Have you ever heard of Bentham’s panopticon? It is essentially a prison so designed as to allow a single watchman to see all inmates without them being able to tell whether they are being watched or not. Tony Salvador, Senior Principal Engineer, presented this never actually realized idea of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham as a perfect analogy for today’s digital world in which very few know much about all of us without us even realizing. In a short, 15-minute talk he covered many of the issues coming along with the proliferation of devices and showed some ways how to deal with it (check wethedata.org for more info). Impressive.

Tweet of the Day:

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