The problem with SXSW is your perception of SXSW. Whether or not you think it’s a great place to launch your start-up, or you feel it’s just really about the parties, or that it’s too crowded and too loud an environment to justify going...if you think all of that is true, then it is.
However, a large theme of this year’s event was the acknowledgement that SXSW is no longer “just a conference,” but rather a festival celebrating the broad industry so many use to make their living and fortunes. Where else would you have the opportunity to hear both from the man who invented the Internet and the man who said he did? Where else could you hear from a famous man who dunks basketballs and also the potentially famous man who will print them in 3D? Where else can you hear from the man who wants to take us to Mars and the woman who will bring us a cheaper way to play video games when we get there?
Much like the meme of the year, the Harlem Shake, the interactive world we live in starts with a lone dancer who senses the beat no one else can or has yet to hear. And when the beat finally registers, colleagues, peers and an industry come alive with erratic movement and deliberate synchronicity. The bizarre, the energetic, the cool, the awkward, all mix together to bring insight into an organization, a company or a culture.
This is SXSW. It’s a period of rejuvenation and stimulation that change agents will take back to their organizations, brimming with ideas to transform their businesses to match these highly transformative times.
So, don’t be grumpy that Grumpy Cat was a distraction. Don’t be mad that the lines to the parties were hours long and miles deep. Don’t be confused about why brands spent the money they did to book entire venues and restaurants for the week.
Instead, be proud that for one week, the FORTUNE 500s of today and the companies that will be on the list tomorrow all catered to the work you do with the hope of helping you live a better life.
Matt Ceniceros is a director at PulsePoint Group