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I’m very excited to be going to SXSW this year in 2019 and thought I’d write a bit about my preparations for the event.

What is SXSW or South by South West

South by South West is a big event / conference in three parts. One part music festival, part film festival and part technology conference or “interactive”. During the day there are many many sessions in the Austin Convention Centre and elsewhere. These range from tiny to MASSIVE. For example; keynotes, presentations, panels. In addition; workshops, mentoring sessions, readings, etc. Covering a whole variety of domains and topics in the world of technology.

Then there are the hosted and sponsored houses and venues. Here you can often get a free beverage whilst interacting with demos or the sponsors content. These also lead to some great networking opportunities.

In the evenings there are many parties. Not only are they a lot of fun, but also a hugely important networking opportunity. Important in order to make new contacts, and further develop existing relationships.

What I’m excited to be seeing

I am excited to be seeing and looking forward to (or hoping for) the following:

  • Gary Veynerchuk – oh I hope he is there again, but I can’t find him currently. He is always inspiring to listen to.

  • A moment of technology awesomeness where something I was sceptical about blows me away. For example The Google Autonomous cars presentation a few years back.
  • Something really cool, new or fresh in UX and UI design and/or research.
    For example something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laws-Subtraction-Simple-Winning-Everything/dp/0071795618 . Which talked about arguing that it takes effort to make a simple interface or reduce complexity – and not just from User Interface design.
  • And, something completely new; a new app / platform / service that is amazing and that we can start using and playing around with in Austin.
    e.g. Twitter 2007, Foursquare 2009 (when it was cool with mayors and points), Meerkat 2015.
  • So… something to do with data analysis or data visualisation that is interesting or stunning or surprising or thought provoking – or even something cool on infographics.

What I’m hoping to get out of it

What I’m hoping to get out of SXSW this year is new knowledge, connections, and experiences. Maybe also some memories, ideas, inspiration and motivation. Not to mention energy, passion and enthusiasm for technology, and the rest of my year!

People & companies I’m hoping to interact with

I am very much hoping to reconnect and strengthen links with people in the Fintech and Payments industry. For example Mastercard and Visa, and also some people from Technology companies. In addition I also retain a soft spot for Automotive and I’m hoping to connect with some people from Ford Motor Company. Above all I’m excited about the idea of meeting new people from all different companies!

Tips for noobs

https://venturebeat.com/2013/03/21/7-tips-for-first-time-sxsw-attendees/ – Here is a selection of essential tips for those that are new to the whole Austin SXSW South by South West thing.

Some of my previous experiences

http://kevingordon.org.uk/kevwp4/2017/03/14/sxsw-2017-visit/ – This is a trip report from when I went in 2017. There was plenty of content about IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning), not to mention Deep learning too.

Schedule planning – what I want to see this year

I’ve only spent a little time curating the schedule, and the sessions above are top on my list. A session on emerging tech trends in 2019. A session on Blockchain beyond the hype. Another session on the power to telling a story, and finally how the technologies for human connection risk becoming agents of isolation & repression – seems super interesting!

Question marks about RSVP reservations

I’ve tweeted SXSW to confirm when RSVP reservations open but they haven’t got back to me yet, which is a shame. One of my favourite sessions was a workshop on the connected car which I didn’t have time to RSVP for, but was able to blag my way into, he he!

Some ideas I’m hoping to bring back and integrate into your everyday life

I’m really hoping I learn some new things, some new technologies. But more-so some new ideas, concepts or approaches to the way I work. Also I’d like to gain insight into how I deal with workload, and maybe optimising and improving my life overall.


A quick search shows several presentations on mindfulness. This is brilliant, as it is a subject which has been a passion of mine for the last several months. I’d love to re-enforce my current ideas, and learn some new ideas in this space. Understanding how to work most efficiently and manage my energy levels is a fascinating subject. Overall I’d love to get new ideas in this space.

Also new ideas around running a business, operating a business, how to do marketing well. I believe ideas in this space will be great to bring back and integrate into my everyday working life.

Last thought to leave you with… a song!

Yep, I wrote and recorded a song for SXSW a couple of years – enjoy!