SXSW 2016 was great! I’m enjoying the conference more every year. I think last year’s presentations were more thought-provoking, but there were several good talks this year too.
- Invisible Influence and Winning at SXSW 2016 – Contagious was one of my favorite books of 2015 so I was excited for his keynote. It was good. He played a clip from his appearance on Brain Games where the show manipulated people into waiting in line for nothing. That idea reminds me a lot of Derek Sivers talk on how to start a movement (which is awesome).
- President Barack Obama Keynote Conversation – Super cool that Obama was at South by. I really like the POTUS connecting with the people (as opposed to the standard, stuffy keep-the-voters-at-arm’s length).
- Google Self-Driving Car Project – So cool. Last year’s Moon Shots presentation by Dr. Astro Teller left me all warm and fuzzy about Google X, and this talk did too. I loved seeing the computer representation next to the camera version. The future is now. (I can’t wait for self-driving cars.)
- The Future of Media Companies – Hard to believe that a BuzzFeed speech would have a click-bait title, right?!
- Daring Greatly – To summarize: breathe. I’m being flippant. Brene Brown is amazing and her keynote was no exception. One of my favorites.
- Unstoppable Trends that are Changing the World – Max, the co-founder and CTO of PayPal, is staggeringly smart. The presentation was good. The Q&A was great. In the time it took to read a question, Max could come up with a brilliant, self-assured response that was delivered with precision. He invoked the idea of a shrewd, genius VC.
- The Linguistic Secrets Found in Billions of Emoji – I thought I could buy some nerd-cred with my wife with this one. I don’t use emoji like most people use emoji :–\
- Comments Are Terrible: But They Don’t Have to Be – My favorite insight was that the architecture of comment sections can change behavior; for example, a three-column comment section containing
- Bad Robot, Epic Digital, and Google Present Moon Shot. The story of the Google Lunar XPRIZE – JJ Abrams introduced a series of shows chronicling a few teams going for the Google Lunar X prize. Great videos! I love how space is cool now.
- Silent Room by Simon Heijdens – Anechoic chamber. Whoa. I only got a minute inside but it was a really neat experience.
- The New Battle Over Encryption and How to Survive It – Moxie Marlinspike is amazing. I don’t know how someone so humble and idealistic has gained the spotlight, but I’m so glad he has. I’d rather listen to him than the standard pundit any day.
- Cracking the Code to Your Unlimited Epic Potential – To summarize: breathe.
- Why Happiness Is Hard and How to Make It Easier – To summarize: breathe.
- The Secrets of Machine Learning Revealed – A great summary of machine learning. I really liked how Dr. Domingos distilled the information stating the five schools of ML and their goals.
- Closing Remarks: Bruce Sterling – A SXSW tradition. This year’s message seemed to be, “by this time next year, Trump will be president, but the U.S. will survive.” Bruce is an engaging, entertaining speaker full of energy and ideas.