Ten things we learned at SXSW 2016


SXSW 2016 


We sent two senior executives across the Atlantic this month to the streets of Austin, Texas to see what they could soak in at South by Southwest. There was too much to talk about in one article, so we asked Director Tom Head and Head of Strategy & Performance Marketing, Justin Thorne to break down their Top 10.

This is what they had to say:


1. People

They are everywhere! There is no shortage of energy, creativity and shared passion for innovation, music and film. From the President of the United States to the heads of failed companies sharing a pint over their fallen start-ups - it is a truly eclectic gathering that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.


2. Virtual Reality

The places we are going with VR are incredible. One of our favourite bits of VR news was the announcement by Sony that it would launch a PlayStation VR headset in October for $399. There was plenty of ready-to-use tech at SXSW, including a virtual roller coaster at Samsung's showroom and the increasingly popular Oculus Rift headsets, which visitors could experience first-hand at the VR/AR Experience.


SXSW Virtual Reality


3. Tacos & Margaritas

If you have never experienced authentic Tex-Mex, book your ticket to Austin immediately. The best thing about this incredible street food is that you can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner or after a few rounds of those incredible margaritas... and we are speaking from experience.


Tacos at SXSW


4. Kevin Plank, CEO Under Armour

Is there really anyone more inspiring than Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank? The man started his multi-billion dollar company in his grandparent's basement and is now leading the way in wearable tech and the fitness apparel industry. A true pioneer who led one of the best talks of the week. #AskKevinPlank


5. IBM's Cognitive Studio

Visitors to IBM's Cognitive Studio were invited to meet Watson - the latest and most jaw-dropping tech from the industry giant IBM. What is Watson? IBM Watson is a technology platform that uses machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. In layman's terms...the future.


IBM Cognitive Studio at SXSW


6. McLaren Applied Technologies

We are particularly excited about McLaren's Applied Technologies (MAT) showcased at SXSW.

A hot topic and not going away anytime soon is wearable technology - but McLaren is taking the tech beyond smart watches and glasses. McLaren's applied technology aims to offer individuals "an insight into their own physiology and behaviour, and then help them use this information to reach their full potential."

MAT is developing wearable tech that collects real-time personal data to predict future outcomes and make suggestions for lifestyle improvement. Sign us up!


7. Street Performers

They are everywhere! The atmosphere is simply indescribable at SXSW, so unfortunately this one is something you will have to go see for yourselves to truly understand.


SXSW Street Performers


8. Start-Ups

From the Middle East to the Far East, new companies came in the hundreds to show off the latest in innovative tech that is going to take over the world.

Watch this space!


SXSW Startup Village


9. GaryVee

From an immigrant to the US in 1978, to turning his father's New Jersey liquor store into a $50 million wine business by 2005 - Gary Vaynerchuk aka 'Garyvee' is an absolute legend. His Q&A was one of our favourite parts of the week for obvious reasons!


Gary Vee


10. Megan Smith - CTO of America

Her job title alone earns her apperance at SXSW a spot on our list. Can you imagine her day-to-day life as the Chief Technology Officer of America?


MEgan Smith CEO of Technology America

Keep Up With Us

There are plenty more conferences and festivals lined up for 2016, so keep up with our staff and all of their endeavours on Twitter @LabDigitalUK.


Paige Guyan - Marketing Manager at Lab

By Paige Guyan

Paige brings a decade of marketing experience to Lab. Paige has been a published journalist in the American music and fashion industries, and is now an Inbound Certified marketing professional within the UK digital community.

Keep up with Paige on Twitter @paigeguyan.

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