SXSW 2019 Review

Written by Cece Cousins

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Image captured by Cece Cousins

  The city of Austin, Texas boomed with the excitement and involvement from another successful South by Southwest Conference. The 32nd annual event has come and gone, with high participation from people all over the world. The 10 day long conference explores the film, music, and interactive industries and allows participants to network, grow inspired by experts in certain fields and countless famous people, listen to their favorite bands and artists, see upcoming unreleased films, and make the most out of their experience at SXSW.

  This widely popular conference was a life-changing event and inspired a motivation and drive in myself that I didn’t recognize. Hearing personal success stories from a wide variety of people with different backgrounds sparked a new realization: change can occur from even ordinary people, like me.  It doesn’t take an extraordinary person from any specific background to make a change in the world. From here I learned about what worked and what didn’t work for all the speakers, taking notes rapidly and attempting to absorb all that I could.

  I attended a variety of sessions with many different speakers that all have had a tremendous impact on the world and our society today.

  I learned about the ways in which several companies in the healthcare system are working to improve lives through new technology at the ‘Next Generation Technology Ignites Healthier Lifestyles’ discussion. Speakers from Google Fit and several fitness apps explained the issue that is currently at hand, and promoted the technology that they believe would revolutionize health in our world.

  I sat in on a panel of several experts explaining how loneliness has become an epidemic today in the ‘Generation Lonely: 1,000 Followers and No Friends’ seminar. They described the way in which technology is affecting our personal relationships and adding to this loneliness epidemic.

  Next, I listened to a women describe the different personalities that may exist within a team at a workplace, and how those personalities can best work together in ‘Unlocking Team Potential with Business Chemistry’. She described the four personalities that typically make up employees: Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators, and Guardians. Next she explained the ways to identify these personalities and how to cooperate with them for workplace success.

  From the trend expert at Etsy and the marketing director at Barney’s New York, I learned about how to become an entrepreneur in creative industries and how to promote your work in ‘Propelling the Next Generation of Creative Entrepreneurs’. They shared their stories of how they made it in this competitive world and the many struggles they faced.

  Next, I sat in on a panel of several inspiring men and women discussing how to make an impact on society through branding and marketing in ‘How Brands Can Engage the Social Impact Generation’, and another titled ‘Branding the New Political Reality’. Each of these seminars discussed the social responsibility of companies and the importance of making a difference in the world through philanthropy and charity work within a company.

  One of my favorite sessions came next, where a woman discussed how to be fearless and the several principles for a life of breakthrough and purpose. These principles included: making a big bet, being bold and taking risks, making failure matter, reaching beyond your bubble, and letting urgency conquer fear. With each of these principles, the speaker shared personal stories that backed up her discussion and provided evidence with each step to becoming fearless. This session left me feeling empowered, inspired, and motivated to make changes in my own life.

  I sat in on many more sessions and panels from many inspiring people that shared their stories and research for all South by Southwest attendees. Speakers such as Time’s ‘Person of the Year 2017’ Susan Fowler, author Rachel Hollis, actress Elizabeth Moss, entrepreneurs, politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, scientists, CEO’s, creative problem solvers from the CIA, experts, and a variety of people.

  Unable to attend the music festival portion of the conference, I still gained so much from attending the seminars, panels, and pop-up events at South by Southwest. Even walking past the long lines for the film festival at night, I was able to see several well-known actors, actresses, and producers.

  There is so much to see and do at the event; it’s impossible to accomplish everything. Knowing this, I feel as though I had a truly life changing time at the SXSW 2019 conference, and look forward to attending again and adding on to my experience.

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