I´ve already told you about my overall review of SXSW 2016, so now it´s time to tell you a bit of what we did on our first time at the mega event. We mainly focused on networking, attending panels and conferences, asking tons of questions, staying behind after the panels ended to ask the panelists follow up questions. (The vibe at SXSW is of collaboration, everybody will be open to stay a few minutes after and keep answering questions), we went to some of the installations, checked out the trade show and set up some one on one interviews.
And of course we took advantage of the days in Austin to do some tourism, which will also be on my coverage. You can´t go to SXSW and not take a tour of the city, or do a Bat Sighting bat tour, among other cool things to do.
In this article I will focus on the talks and conferences we attended, and the installations. Trade Show and Tourist Activities, will be on following articles.
Panels and Sessions we attended at SXSW 2016
Courtside with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver:
This was the inaugural convergence conference, a master session that would be our first impression of the event in terms of content. Clearly, they went all out right from the gates, Silver´s panel was excellent, candid and interesting, explaining the future of Basketball, from the perspective of technology, fans relations, stadiums, content creation. A session I took notes like crazy, and to which I find myself constantly coming back to.
World-Class Athletes on the Death of Disability:
Alana Nichols and Brad Snyder told us about their experience as elite paralympic athletes. They are both in the US Paralympic team, and they were very open in their panel about the challenges they had, the journey to acceptance, to feel their own sense of self value again, how sports are a way of chasing new dreams, and they also talked about their relationship with mainstream olympic atheltes. One of the quotes from Snyder got stuck in my head: “Superathletes show how far the human body can go, us paralympic athletes show how far the human spirit can go”.
Content Creation and the Future of Sports TV:
In our case, content creation is one of our main focuses, both as bloggers, as on my college position as professor, teaching Social Media. On this panel, folks from WWE, MLB and TiVo explained how to turn sports content into interesting tidbits for second screens, first screens, live coverages, highlights and everything else.
Finding Hidden Gems: Selecting Athletic Talent:
Maybe not a mainstream of interest, but certainly a great panel for this niche. Different coaches and scouts, and psycologists discussing how to find those athletes of tomorrow, and how to develop them. It ended up crossing over to some of what Adam Silver said in the opening session, that one thing is talent, where you can find it anywhere, but due to lack of opportunities, you end up finding developed talent in some places more than others.
Social Media: The New TV Show Launchpad:
Being our site about Television in a high percentage, we of course attended some of the panels about TV. USA Network team discussed about the process of launching a new show, in this case Mr Robot, and get enough traction for a premiere season, without it being based on a hit book, being a remake, or having a major studio budget. Social Media as a great ally to the launching of Mr Robot (I like to think I helped with my articles raving about how good th show is :D).
The panel also discussed the problems and challenges found along the way and how they solved them. Two thumbs up to this panel.
Coding on Camera: MR. ROBOT and Authenticity on TV:
One of the main convergence sessions in which Sam Esmail, the show creator, and the two stars of Mr Robot, Rami Malek and Christian Slater delved into the culture of hacking and how to portray it credibly on TV.
Sports and MarTech: Converting Fans to FANATICS!
How to improve the fan experience on stadiums to have new contact point opportunities. Very focused on new technology, but as per usual, the conclusion is “It´s not important what you do, but who you do it for”.
Pro Athletes Taking Control of Their Brand Destiny:
Vernon Davis just won the Superbowl this year and he was in there trying to help new athletes understand how to treat their own image as a brand, Anna Rawson, an australian golfer and model explaining her transition from athlete to brand ambassador. Very interesting.
Connected Coaching: Active Learning for Athletes:
Since chess is the sport played at home, digital sport training and learning is not a new concept at all for us, but, when you try to consider connected coaching for tennis players, football players, basketball players, things are different. A new challenge on how to replicate training facilities and programs through a screen.
Every SXSW 2016 Session available on SoundCloud:
After all the talk about Sports during the event, when I got home I decided to start the gym (for the gazillionth time), but this time it appears to be sticking. Why? Because I found out that every single session of SXSW 2016 is available on Soundcloud, and that way I put my headphones on, and train for two hours while “attending” two sessions each day; that makes it six sessions a week (training 3 days per week), I have enough sessions to listen to for a long time.
SXSW 2016 Trade Show:
Well, that merits its own article coming soon.
SXSW 2016 Installations and Parallel Events:
Mr Robot: There was a Huge Ferris Wheel in the middle of Downtown Austin and a fair where you could get some Mr Robot goodies.
Game of Thrones: An amazing Westeros installation where you coudl actually sit on the Throne, you could see the wall of faces, touch the sword, see some of the original wardrobe from the show and enter a holographic preview of the new season. (You needed to leave your phone and cameras before entering that area as to avoid spoilers coming out).
Preacher: It is the new adult comic based show on AMC. So basically you know that if AMC is adapting a comic book I am watching. The show brought the upside down church to Austin for SXSW 2016.
The Walking Dead: There was a behind the scenes talk at the Choose Atlanata house where producers from the show talked about filming the show in Atlanta.
NBC Sports: A relaxing spot for in between sport panels. There were some games, activities, photo opportunities, goodies, and drinks.
In the following articles I´ll talk about the Trade Show and then about some tips for those who want to attend SXSW in 2017. You can follow me on Twitter or other social media for more SXSW and Travel Tips.