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5 more cool things from SXSW: Food, the speakers & immersion

With SXSW now over for another year, Jamie Riddell, co-founder of BirdSong Analytics, offers his take on his favourite five moments from attending the festival in Austin.

Immersive Experiences

I didn’t queue for Westworld but focused on Ready Player One. This immersive experience took you inside Parzival’s room before entering a vast area complete with Iron Giant statue a thumping eighties soundtrack and a time machine. For me, getting a picture taken in the DeLorean will be a lasting memory.

The Calibre of Speakers

The number and quality of speakers was insane. On the list to consider were Arnie, Melinda Gates and the Mayor of London. But these were eclipsed by one man. On Sunday, After hours of queuing we enjoyed a relaxed session with Elon Musk, one of my business heroes.

Austin History

On every street corner, was a small plaque detailing the history of each location. It helped my learn about this great city, acting as juxtaposition between the new ideas I was hearing. Just by reading the signs, I learned about the Civil War, the arrival of the Railroad and ‘the Wild West’.

Food Trucks

You could eat a global cuisine from the food trucks alone. From Gumbo to Corn Dogs, there was a van for all tastes. In one short week I managed to try new delicacies including Jalapeno Cheese Sausage, Brisket and Grits. Each truck had its own branding and style.


Serendipity thread throughout SXSW. In every queue, in every session you couldn’t help but meet people and learn something new. As the world met in Austin, so I met the world. I am not sure I have ever been more inspired by a long queue than I was in Austin.