Next March, almost 50,000 people from around the world will invade Austin, TX for an epic celebration of music, film, and interactive.  You’ve probably already figured out that I’m talking about SXSW.

In case you’re not familiar with the Southwestern Music Conference and Festival (aka SXSW), it is a multi-industry fun-meets-business spectacle that has been hosted in Austin.  Although originally created to promote the central-Texas music scene in 1987, the event has include film and interactive for over 20 years since 1994.  This mammoth event is now a world-class incubator for great ideas that also connects creatives and companies to stimulate career development, economic impact, and innovation.

We’re more excited than ever about the possibilities for this year’s show.  After participating as mentors for the inaugural SXSW V2V, we’ve submitted four ideas for 2014 SXSW Interactive Panels.  Over 3,000 ideas were selected and only a fraction will be selected over the next two months by a combination of popular vote, staff pick, board picks.

Why we submitted SXSW panel ideas

This is the show to be at. We’ve been going to (and covering) SXSW the show since 2005.  Digital has become a truly mainstream communications channel and is quickly growing bigger than most of us dare to even admit. Somehow, it seems fitting that it’s Texas that hosts this cross-industry gathering of music, film, and interactive pioneers.

DT has experienced exponential growth over the past year. From a staffing perspective we’re up 100%. Our new downtown office is 6000 sq ft and we’re having a blast filling it up with couches, helicopters, and most importantly, great people. Now we have enough space to host visitors, clients, contractors, and interns for lunches and workshops. Basically, it’s awesome. So you can see why we’re excited about our success and want to share our story. We want others to learn how operating a business with strong values can lead to abundance that can be shared and enjoyed, together.

We’re passionate about SXSW and about the opportunities it provides to learn from others. Here at DT, we love to stay on the cutting edge of design and technology so our 2014 SXSW interactive panel submissions were created both with current and predicted trends in mind. Our hope is that these ideas resonate today (gotta have votes to be selected!) but also prove to be be highly relevant and compelling next March.

digital-telepathy’s 2014 SXSW Interactive Panel Submissions

Here’s a recap of the ideas we submitted.  Click the panel titles to the submission, and if you like one, we’d certainly appreciate a “thumbs up” in the SXSW Panel Picker (linked from each hopeful panel’s title).  Comments are also very helpful.  If you’ve got something to add to the conversation, please don’t be shy.  We’d love an outside consult with passionate subject matter experts to be a sounding board and make our presentations better.

After much ado, here are our panel submissions:

Betterment = Simple + Compelling – Friction

If you’ve been following DT for a while, then chances are you’ve heard about this cornerstone of DT’s culture. Betterment is more than just lip service. Every week on my 15Five report to my manager, I have to answer how I made something better. Sometimes this is tough to recognize because our office is so organic and collaborative making it tough to claim credit for the great ideas that we generate together with this formula for success in mind. This panel idea was crafted for business leaders in mind but is good for anyone with ambition to grow and become better, every day. Come ready to be inspired.

Solo: Chuck Longanecker

Great Culture is More Than Just Blue Jean Fridays

Company culture is a hot topic around here.  It’s not only talked about on a daily basis, it’s lived and breathed by every employee, every second of every day. We even have a Director of Vitality and Manager of Company Culture on our small 25-member team! Our culture doesn’t build itself, though. It’s something we’ve been crafting for years, and continue to improve on a daily basis. To catch a glimpse of our daily life at DT and see firsthand what I’m talking about, check out our new Culture Blog! We talked about our culture once before at Ignite San Diego, but that was a 5-minute blurb. Get excited for an hour-long extended session, where you’ll be given the opportunity to dive into the ins and outs of DT’s culture and learn how to cultivate our kind of environment within your own workplace!

Dual: Arnold Yoon, MK Cook

How Digital is Enabling New Forms of Storytelling

Content is king, duh. But what does that mean for your business or brand? This panel is one part educational, one part inspirational.  Great storytelling doesn’t just come from big media outlets or brands. If this idea is selected, we’re going to cover a variety examples how how digital is empowering today’s creators to reach their audience like never before. You can expect Vine, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Impress to all be covered. We haven’t picked the examples yet, but I’m lobbying to include Stephen Torrence, an Austin-based YouTuber who also hosts a regular podcast.

Dual: Brent Summers, Eduardo Toledano

Smartphones, A Psychic In Your Pocket?

This topic is my personal favorite. Context awareness is about to step into the spotlight as the next big thing – so this should be ripe for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival.  Tiny sensors are everywhere and have been for a decade.  Traffic light cameras, cell-phone GPS, Nest thermostats, and basically everything is becoming connected to make your cell phone smarter than you ever imagined.  So smart devices that were “dumb” less than a year ago can now make hyper-personalized recommendations and predictions that are down right… psychic.  In partnership with Digitaria, attendees will learn a bit about the technology and a whole lot about the possibilities of context awareness.  I bet you’ll be surprised at how much you’re already immersed in this breakthrough technology.

Dual: Jessica Moon, Chuck Phillips

What are you hoping to see at the 2014 SXSW Festival?

SXSW attendees can fill their five-day Austin adventure with hands-on training, keynote presentations, concerts, and networking. It’s a great conference for everyone, including those looking to mentor, learn about cutting-edge techniques, or even seek out prospective jobs.  There is also a great nightlife and vibe to the entire epic festival. No matter what kind of badge you’ve got, you’re sure to be delighted by the industry leaders, celebrity icons, and passionate crowd that flock to this super hip southwestern shindig.

Whether it’s the Music, Film, or Interactive Festival you’re most interested in… We’d love to hear from you! What are you excited about? If you’ve been to it before, tell us what you liked best. We plan to freshen up the Unofficial SXSW Field Guide again for 2014.  Leave a comment or tweet us.

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