Let’s all go to Austin.
When we’re not speaking, here are the sessions we think are worth making time for this year.
Friday March 9th.
11:00am - 12:00pm / Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H
What better way to start SXSW than by hearing O’Reilly Media founder, open source hero, and web god Tim O’Reilly kick off this year’s conference with a call for us all to think and act more ambitiously?
11:00am - 12:00pm / JW Marriott, Salon E
If you’re comfortable with your ambition levels, consider skipping the crowds at the Hilton for perspective from Google’s Jane Makich, Microsoft’s Tim Allen, IBM’s Hayley Hughes, and Airbnb’s Salih Abdul-Karim on the One Big Challenge we’re all facing as designers today.
5:00pm - 6:00pm / JW Marriott, Room 208
The lessons you manage to learn from other people’s failures are even better than the ones you learn from your own. Join Irene Chavez and Lorenzo Gomez as they host a special SXSW edition of the world famous and wincingly named “Fuckup Nights” Meetup. Founded in Mexico in 2012, this Meetup is now a global phenomenon, helping people around the world go beyond empty “failure is great” tweets to truly learn from professional mishaps.
Saturday March 10th.
After readying yourself for the dystopian future with the Westworld cast, at 5pm choose between Emily Wengert’s talk on the reinvention of stores or Sam Weston’s panel on how best to bridge the gap between policymakers and AI companies, featuring panelists from DeepMind, The Partnership for AI, and the United States Congress.
9:30am - 10:30am / Fairmont, Manchester B
Former Deputy Director of Intelligence at the CIA Carmen Medina specializes in overcoming bureaucratic obstacles to big ideas. Go to this session if you want to learn how to become the one unstoppable genius capable of creating meaningful change inside your organization.
9:30am - 10:30am / JW Marriott, Salon D
For years, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers has been the go-to source for internet business and behavioral trend analysis in Silicon Valley. Now, with the addition of design advocate and celebrity John Maeda as partner, KPCB also produces one of the most important reports in the design industry too. Make time for this session if you want to know what’s going to matter in the business of design - and to designers - in the year ahead.
12:30 - 1:30pm / Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K
A more diverse workplace starts with you. Patricia Davis-Muffett, Elizabeth Lindsey, Kevin Morgan, and Janice Omadeke share practical lessons from successful efforts to create paths to technology careers in Washington, DC.
12:30pm - 1:30pm / JW Marriott, Salon D
This should be interesting. At a time when Facebook’s product decisions are under intense scrutiny, VP of Product Design at Facebook Margaret Stewart will take the stage to discuss how ethics plays out when you’re designing things at scale. Bring popcorn.
2:00pm - 3:00pm / Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D
Arrive early if you want to be in the room for this address from Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of today’s most celebrated and important cultural writers.
3:30pm - 4:30pm / Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D
Before Westworld’s second season (returning April 22nd - we’re excited) gives us a look what happens when sentient robots inevitably seize control, spend some quality time with Delores (Evan Rachel Wood), Teddy (James Marsden), and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) as well as narrative creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Celebrities always bring the crowds at SXSW, so line up early for this one.
Sunday March 11th.
If you thought design was complicated, it’s about to get even more complex. Start your day at 11am with Huge’s Sophie Kleber, one of the world’s leading experts in the field of emotional and personality experience design, as she sets out a framework for designing relationships between intelligent assistants and their users.
11:00am - 12:00pm / Fairmont, Manchester EFG
If you prefer the relative solitude of outer space to the pressure of designing relationships, join Accion Systems’ Natalya Bailey, TechCrunch’s Emily Calandrelli, and Jeanette Quinlan from the Starburst Aerospace Accelerator to learn how to get involved in the new marketplace of companies and technologies making space business and space exploration a reality today.
3:30pm - 4:30pm / Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG
You wouldn’t want to return to work after SXSW without having something meaningful to say about Blockchain. Led by JP Morgan’s Blockchain Lead Amber Baldet and Brian Behlendorf from The Linux Foundation, this session on the business implications and opportunities in distributed transactions looks like the best overall and practical introduction.
5:00pm - 6:00pm / JW Marriott, Salon D
To this day, the humble movie poster is one of the most important - and nuanced - marketing platforms around. Attend this session to be able to impress your friends and colleagues with design trivia from the one of the world’s leading typography and movie poster experts Yves Peter. You might even learn something important about communications design in the process.
5:00pm - 6:00pm / Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon DE
For all of the stratospheric growth in the digital economy over the last decade, the coming decade promises even more as machine intelligence, robotics, and automation shapes business and experience design. Join Daniel Burstein, Eric Daimler, Andra Keay, and Oliver Mitchell to learn how to make the most of these emerging technologies to drive growth and positive social change.
11:00am - 12:00pm / Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon DE
China’s emerging leadership in the development of technology promises to be one of the most important - and shocking - dynamics of the coming years. Bessie Lee offers attendees a chance to get an early look at the rapidly growing world of Chinese startups.
12:30pm - 1:30pm / Fairmont, Manchester CD
How far away are we from being able to control computers with our minds? What seems like impossible science fiction may actually be closer to reality than most people think. Go to this session with Neurable’s Ramses Alcaide and make up your own mind.
2:00pm - 3:00pm / JW Marriott, Salon C
The combination of rapid population growth and our continued dependence on topsoil and rain for survival is one of the biggest problems humanity needs to solve for in the future. Naturally, people have high hopes that AI will figure this all out for us before we run out of food. Go to this talk by George Kantor of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute to stretch your horizons and discover new things to worry about.
3:30pm - 4:30pm / Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D
Ray Kurzweil - a man racing against time to extend the human lifespan - is one of the world’s most compelling futurists and about as big a celebrity as it gets in SXSW circles. A great presenter, make the trip to the Convention Center if you’ve never seen him in action before.
11:00am - 12:00pm / Fairmont, Manchester CD
Like it or not, self driving cars are about to move out of PowerPoint presentations and onto the road with the rest of us. This presents designers with the high stakes challenge of creating systems and experiences that establish and maintain trust with both passengers and non passengers alike. In this session, Molly Nix discusses how Uber - the company most likely to bring autonomous cars to the masses - is tackling this challenge.
2:00pm - 3:00pm / JW Marriott, Salon 1-2
Augmented Reality is finally ready for prime time and this panel promises to be the best level-set for everyone wondering how best to incorporate it into their plans over the next 18 months. Amanda Manna, from Lowe’s Home Improvement and Steve Koenig of the Consumer Technology Association join Kevin O’Malley and Tony Parisi to cover everything you need to know to get the Big Next Thing in mobile and commerce right.
5:00pm - 6:00pm / JW Marriott, Salon E
Why not end SXSW with a conversation about how to build a less terrible Internet in the years to come? Acquia co-founder and Drupal creator Dries Buytaert joins Blockstack’s Muneeb Ali, Qwant’s Andrei Sambra, and the Berkman Klein Center’s Sara Watson for a blockchain-centric exploration of an alternate, decentralized internet future.