ICYMI: SXSW Edition

Hey everyone! It’s Friday again. Isn’t that great?

It’s been a busy week for media and technology with the 29th running of the South by South West Music, Film, and Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. It seems like every day we saw new headlines about different events and activations, so we decided to recap the biggest highlights from this year’s SXSW, in case you missed it.

D1A Was There To #MakeSXSWGreatAgain

The D1A team was down in Austin making South by Southwest great again, and as you can tell by Jamie’s infamous “hang loose” salute it went pretty well. And don’t worry, we’ll be back to make SXSW even greater. See you next year!

Virtual Reality Or Bust

If you attended South by Southwest this year then it is almost 100% guaranteed that you, at one point, saw some company using virtual reality in some way. Large companies like Google, the New York Times, and even McDonald’s, were using virtual reality to show off to festival goers (I know what you’re thinking and no, McDonald’s did not let you virtually build your own virtual hamburger in the back of a greasy virtual McDonald’s.) Virtual reality seems to be heading for big business — Deloitte Global predicts that the industry will have its first billion dollar year in 2016.

*phone rings* “Hello?” “Hey, it’s NASA.” “… Who?”

No, America, NASA did not completely shut down. After the announcement of retiring their space shuttle fleets in 2011 many Americans thought that meant NASA as a whole was retiring. But in true Jordan fashion NASA came back in 2016 at SXSW to tell the world they’re still around and ready to go further than ever before. With some help from virtual reality (surprise, surprise), an inflatable rocket, and the chance to get your picture taken inside of a giant space suit, NASA has officially returned from its unintentional sabbatical.

Mashable Brought The Future Of The Internet To SXSW

Mashable (the one stop shop for everything social media) decided to jump into the future for this year’s SXSW — 252 years into the future, to be exact. This year’s theme: “The Future of the Internet: 2268.” Mashable has always had a heavy and fun presence at the conference and this year is no different. Partnering with other brands like Pepsi, Amazon, Facebook, Hasbro, Quaker, and HBO, Mashable created some of the biggest activations at the festival:

- Free breakfast daily with Quaker
- Create your own cocktail with Pepsi
- High end cinemagraphs with HBO
- VR tour of Las Vegas by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

To say Mashable takes SXSW lightly would be the biggest understatement of 2268.

POTUS & FLOTUS Delivered Keynote Speeches

President Obama was interviewed this year at SXSW by Texas Tribune’s editor, Evan Smith. Here is a list of takeaways from Obama’s nearly hour long conversation.

  • “It’s easier to order a pizza than it is to vote.” Being an avid user of Seamless I would agree.
  • “When government does great things, we take it for granted and it’s not a story.” Leslie Knope taught us all that.
  • He wants all of us to come together so we can use technology, data, and social media to solve problems.
  • When asked about the legal battle between Apple and the FBI, Obama said… nothing.

First lady Michelle Obama also gave a keynote speech at SXSW this year. Topics included:

  • Her decision not to run for President
  • Her ongoing work for her “Let Girls Learn” initiative
  • Her commitment to remaining a public figure even once President Obama’s time in the White House has officially come to an end

The Budweiser Garage

Budweiser also hopped onto the virtual reality bandwagon this year, but their experience came with a little bit of a twist. Visitors to the Budweiser Garage were welcome to take a 4D virtual tour of the brewery and horse stables. While participants watched a brewer open the hatch to a freshly brewing kettle of Bud heavy, employees working the activation would place hops under their noses so participants could smell what they were seeing. Other sensations included feeling the cold air from a chilly freezer, the heat from a brew kettle, or the smell of horse poop from the stables.*

*OK, that last one was a lie

Have a great weekend everyone!

— Jay

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