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Tuning In & Dropping Out @ SXSW

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To start off, what are some of the major changes that we can expect at SXSW this year?

On the Conference end of things, we’ve added a few new tracks for 2023 including “Energy,” “Food,” “Psychedelics,” “Markets and Economies” and “Travel & Leisure” While these new tracks will being some new industries into the fold, the bottom line for this year’s event is the same as it has been since 1987. SXSW always celebrates the power and possibilities that occur when you bring together massively creative people in a massively creative city.

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Photo by Raimond Klavins / Unsplash

SXSW just announced some new featured speakers such as Valerie June, David Chang, and Kara Swisher. Who else are you most excited to hear from in this 2023 speaker lineup?

I’m super excited about the Sunday, March 12 keynote session with Ryan Gellert of Patagonia (as interviewed by Katie Couric). Moreover, I am excited about all the sessions we have at the 2023 event that focus on solutions to the current climate crisis. That content ranges from the University of Texas professors who will be talking about the plastic-eating enzyme that they discovered last summer to the many climate tech founders who will be part of this year’s Startup track to Boyan Slat explaining his ongoing efforts to clean up the world’s oceans.

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Photo by Dan Dennis / Unsplash

SXSW Pitch is an amazing opportunity for startups to showcase their innovative new tech to industry experts. Are there any unicorns in the batch of applicants that we should keep our eye on this year?

Most of the startups who are involved with SXSW Pitch are pre-unicorn stage. So attending this competition is more of an opportunity to meet tomorrow’s top startups before they are household names — which fits into the general theme of discovery at SXSW. Moreover, watching the SXSW Pitch finalists demo their products and services will give you a pretty good idea of where the tech industry is heading in the next few years.

You are also partnering with The Skimm’ this year to offer Mentor Sessions with professionals in the field. What can potential attendees look forward to experiencing in these sessions?

Mentor Sessions are a great way to accelerate the networking process at SXSW. More specifically, Mentor Sessions provide a great way for people who are just beginning their career in a given industry to receive valuable insights and advice from a person who has significant experience in that industry. My strong recommendation is to make maximum use of this opportunity to meet, listen to and learn from people whose life experiences can help transform yours.

Finally, SXSW tackles topics that aren’t usually seen in tech conferences, and stands out as a unique event for sure. What are some of the innovative topics that will be included in the 2023 tracks?

The fact that there is so much content focused on the Film & TV industries as well as the Music industry makes us a lot different than a lot of other events. Getting a little more specific, the 2023 event will include dozens and dozens of sessions that address accessibility issues, DEI, elections LGBTQ+, neuroscience, and sex & relationships. Find these sessions (and a lot of other amazing stuff) via the tag function on the SXSW online schedule.

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