Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) is a lot of everything. A lot of hip, a lot of hop, a lot of free, but not enough stop. That cliché phrase “Everything is bigger in Texas” still lingers in my head accompanied by the slight ringing noise courtesy of Ra Ra Riot.  It’s more important to make a strategic plan after SXSW than creating one before and “trying” to follow it during the 10-day conference.

For me, SXSW is all about unlocking new relationships, opportunities, and memories that I can utilize to both my personal and professional advantage.  It’s also about helping fellow interactive, film and music junkies reach their show objectives – making SXSW the world’s largest playground for all ages!

SXSW is ripe for new technology, entrepreneurs, startups and panels occupied by pioneers of the past and present. The conference draws a diverse array of nearly 50,000 people. The brands that seem to really capitalize on this mix are the ones riding the lifestyle wave – combining innovation and conversation with an incentive based interface – that marinates well with the mass (not necessarily target) audience.

After four days of being plugged-in to a different type of March Madness, here are a few tech takeaways and trends I pulled from SXSW Interactive 2013:

1.)  Social Discovery Tools & Journaling Apps: Everything from the official SXSW iPhone app to apps like Path where users can literally share every detail of their life are appealing to many because of the way they allow for others to create “virtual” relationships. GPS-enabled apps that let others nearby know about common friends, interests, and more were a hit this year. I recommend you create a new twitter account before next year because all of the good free stuff requires you tweet something using a specific #HASHTAG.

2.)  Interface Takes the Throne: Many discussions focused on the importance of interface and adapting design, content, and features across platforms. More and more digital interactions between companies and their customers are happening via an interface. Careful consideration of the software’s design is of paramount importance to any company wishing to grow their customer base or loyalty.

3.)  New Technology Feeds Innovation: There has been a shift in app-based behavior to device-enabled behavior, with social media being inherent to the business as they address online and offline experiences. We know that new technology will emerge in the coming year. We don’t know how it will enter or influence our lives.

4.)  The World of Sharing: As our behaviors are continuously tracked across different platforms, our actions are becoming more predictable. The world of sharing continues taking consumers and businesses under it’s spell as social media and apps (web and mobile) connect more people in different ways, streamline processes and allow advanced control over what is being shared and with whom. Open source development and the capabilities of modern APIs took the show by storm this year, indicating that the world of sharing will continue blossoming in the coming year.

Check out our #SXSW photo album on Facebook or weigh in with a comment below regarding your #SXSW 2013 experience and/or plans for next year!

Happy Sharing 🙂

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