If you were to think of the nerdiest gathering of the year where people from all walks of life come together to talk about the latest technology, what would it be? An Apple announcement? CES? What about a former music festival that has grown into a week long media hub? If you picked the last one, you may be right and its called South by Southwest (SXSW).
Launched in 1987 as a music festival in Austin, Texas, it was the addition of film and multimedia – later renamed Interactive – in 1994 that took the conference to the next level. This year saw major companies like Google unveil technology, while tech/science celebrities like MythBusters host Adam Savage, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and even NSA leaker Edward Snowden made appearances.
A recent article from the Philadelphia Inquirer featured an interview with SXSW Interactive Festival director Hugh Forrest. He mentioned that this part of the festival has seen the most growth in the last decade. It debuted with only 300 registrants in 1994 and now brings in over 30,000. Forrest credits this growth to the increase in companies that rely on technology to operate properly.
"There's that Marc Andreessen quote: 'Software is eating the world,'" Forrest told the news source. "Everything is a technology company now. A music company has to be a technology company, a film company, a health care company, a car company. Fifteen years ago when we were struggling to get bodies in the door it was hard to imagine that Interactive would become this much of a driver or this popular."
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