Eye of the Beholder: The story of SXSWi 2014 presented some fun metrics and results in a game show format. According to an aggregation of the social buzz at SXSWi 2014 —
Most popular speaker: Edward Snowden, who says he was willing to do it because he thought those in the room would be the ones who would fix the problem. Julian Assange and Neil deGrasse Tyson were a distant 2nd and third, respectively. Sentiment was very positive for deGrasse.
Most negative experience with a speaker session: Julian Assange, largely due to video stream inconsistency.
Most retweeted Tweet: RT @wikileaks: #Assange It became clear to me that one of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.
Which ridiculous buzz word was made up: I voted for Chicapreneurs. I was wrong. It was platformification.
Highest Fitbit mileage total (from tagged contestants): 26,000 steps! Wow. The most I’ve ever hit is 16,000 while attending #ibmpulse.
Chefjet demoed 3D food printing cranking out some weird multi-colored gummi cubes using sugar, alcohol, and water. No thanks. I take my food in natural 3D with ingredients that don’t lend themselves to, well, the printing process.
Who was the most famous SXSWi feline: Grumpy Cat. ‘Lil bub was a distant second. Colonel Meow passed, so was not in the running this year. There was a moment of silence for the Colonel.
Most popular eats: Milk & Cookie Shot, beating out between 3D printed Oreos and the Watson Food Truck. I didn’t get to try any of them. Again, the only food innovation that really appeals to me right now is new recipes with unprintable ingredients. So my vote would have been for the Watson food truck, which was all about innovating in the food space by creating true fusion fare with Watson’s help.
Party with the most mentions: Mashbash by Mashable, with PayPal, Tumblr, and Yahoo distant trailing. I didn’t attend any of those, but I did go to the IBM BlueMix party which was really well-attended and featured Church on Monday, a band I’m partial to since I’m in it.
It was another cool SXSW Interactive, with an amazing array of creativity and humanity descending on Austin, which is already pretty creative and diverse from a humanity standpoint. There is something about SXSWi that always leaves me optimistic about the future. The world is undoubtedly in turmoil over many things. But the youthful enthusiasm (coming from all ages present), innovative thinking, great ideas, anti-box thinking, and melting pot atmosphere sweeps one up in a powerful feeling that humanity has, not only a hell-of-a-lot of fight left in it, but may be maturing in new directions that will deliver a new and better tomorrow, defined both by technological advance and a simultaneous return to a better awareness of our surroundings, of the place right where we are. It’s the intersection of those two trending forces that makes SXSWi my favorite event of the year, every year. I can’t wait to see how that story develops a little more by this time next year.