We have a mantra at Gravity Thinking to ‘rid the internet of shit’. It sets an ambitious bar that we believe all content and ideas that we produce should match against.
Sadly we have a seen a lot of shit over the past five years of attending SXSW. From BBH’s ‘Homeless hotspots’ or the hook up app ‘Bang with Friends’ or failed apps with huge launches such as Highlight or Foodspotting or most recently the darling of 2016 Lily drone that won the ‘coolest scientific achievement outside of sci fi’ that proved it was just that when it announced it is shutting down having not fulfilled any orders despite $34m in pre sales and $15m in investment.
I guess it is unsurprising, with seven different tracks and over 10,000 sessions over five days in 22 locations, that there is always going to a fair amount of what the Texans call ‘horseshit’ being touted as ‘the next big thing.’
Shit ideas aside we strongly believe that SXSW does still offer the best opportunity to get your fix of all things digital, indeed having attended for the last five years we thought 2016 was the best yet.
Bring on 2017
With SAP judging recently that ideas presented at SXSW go mainstream within 24 months we can’t wait to see what 2017 brings and what this means to our future.
And 2017 looks as enticing as the BBQ ribs at Franklins.
Best guests ever
Imagine a party hosted by an FBI Director, with the entertainment provided by a world-renowned music producer, a country music legend and a comedy genius, inspiration from a globally worshipped athlete and a legendary astronaut and the bill being picked up by a billionaire techie and you get a sense of the lively debate, varied content and inspiring ideas you can experience in Austin every March.
Finding the magic
The schedule for 2017 promises everything from robots holding human conversation to machine made movies and from using skin as a digital interface to VR based art. Personally we can’t wait to see the developments that Meta 2 have been up in their quest to ‘turn the World into a desktop’.
So how do you find this magic and avoid the snake oil?
Our mission at SXSW 2017
In 2016 we set ourselves a mission to go ‘off the beaten track at SXSW’ where we think the magic of SXSW often lies. We are adopting a not dissimilar approach in 2017 except this time we are going to be more focused.
Our mission is to find three things per day that we think represent the most interesting @SXSW2017.
The ideas, concepts and prototypes that will set the tone for the next two years.
To make it even simpler we will be classifying these into 3 areas: ‘technology and innovation’, ‘brand and consumer insight’ and ‘infiltration of culture’.
Keeping Austin weird
We also have a daily wildcard we want to share. In the spirit of the city’s motto ‘Keep Austin weird’ we will asking the locals and visitors from the 82 different countries that people travel from to visit Austin in March each year about things they like at SXSW 2017.
We will be posting our adventures on The Drum but you can also follow our adventures in real time on:
See you on the other side...
Andrew Roberts is managing partner at Gravity Thinking.