You may recall that last year I was lucky enough to attend SXSW Eco and fall in love with the convention. From the interesting panels to the throngs of data and climate wonks that filled the convention with a bustling hum of excitement. The discussions and interactions that filled the three day conference were invigorating and incredible.
This year the 3000+ attendees are swarming Austin, Texas for hack-athons, thought experiments, and intense discussions all surrounding solving serious problems we are facing. These problems center in the domains of climate change, energy, and running smart cities.
Big data is king here and so is open discussion. The attendees are diverse, from different stakeholder groups. It is not just environmentalists who are going to be in attendance or city employees or policy wonks. There is also going to be large contingents representing industries such as energy, automotive and waste management.
This year, like last, I am representing an ocean contingent which is much more active and in-depth than the previous year. Unlike in 2012 where there where arguably few events focusing on ocean issues and topics, this year there are bundles covering everything from plastic in the gyres to “Ocean Conservation through Social Innovation.”
Another change from last year is that I am officially a member of the press this year. Able to conduct interviews without feeling awkward or pushy. As a result of this new found authority, the Symposium will also be holding a Google Hangout from the event on the 8th. Tomorrow morning, a special breakfast for press.
Stay tuned for coverage and analysis of this younger baby SXSW just breaking its third year. Who knows, might even run into Shepard Fairey. You can also check out the landing page we made for the festival.