SXSW: March 14 2016


Day 4 of SXSW was hot (90+) with long lines. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get into the main afternoon sessions. But there’s always something else interesting to see and do at SXSW Interactive.


Consumer Reports: What’s your Health Data Worth? Moderator Teresa Carr is a Senior Editor at Consumer Reports, and also a friend of mine. She started the panel discussion with a overview of the potential market for health data (huge), the value to society, and what data means to consumers (privacy). Panel participants included Lygeia Ricciardi, Sally Okun and Lucia Savage. They noted that the consumer doesn’t really know what will happen to their data. As the Chief Privacy Office for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Lucia said that her department is trying to ensure that the privacy policies and regulations are kept up-to-date. The panelists agreed that your attitude on privacy depends on your health situation.


Louis Black and Leonard Maltin have been friends since they met at the age of 12 in Teaneck NJ. They talked about going into NYC to see movies when they were teenagers, meeting Buster Keaton, and other film influences.


Lunch at SouthBites Trailer Park, courtesy of Avacados from Mexico. Healthier than most of the food I’ve eaten so far at SXSW.


American Greetings set up shop in Analog House (aka Maggie Mae’s) on Sixth Street. It was old-school all the way. I typed up a letter on an actual Smith-Corona typewriter, watched an artist hand-letter a greeting card for me, and was given with a handmade notebook created by their design team from Cleveland (first photo, above). Loved it.


I got in line for the JJ Abrams keynote about 40 minutes ahead of time, but didn’t get in. So I sat in the back of another room and listened to Sara O’Brien and Halle Tecco (Rock Health) talk about Learning from Five Years in Digital Health. I can’t say that I learned much, but I had time to work on this blog entry and left in a better mood.


Drew Johnston (Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit) and Josh Rasmussen (CEO Bolt Motorbikes) did a tag-team presentation on The Future of Urban Transport. They started by talking about the history of urban transportation. Their guarantees for the next 10 years:
1. The price of renewable energy will drop.
2. Electric and cloud-connected vehicles will outnumber gas vehicles.
3. Increased population.
4. Increased traffic congestion.
Their predictions: Autonomous vehicles will become commonplace, but  batteries, legal aspects, and infrastructure are issues to be solved. Newer compact forms of electric transport will emerge.


TOWER was a documentary about the UT campus shootings that occurred on August 1, 1966. Animation was combined with archival photos and film to tell the story. Interviews with survivors, police officers, and onlookers were shown towards the end. The director, Keith Maitland, got the idea to do this film during the 40th anniversary. Production took four years, and now it is being released during the 50th anniversary year. He noted that a memorial to the victims will be dedicated on August 1 (the same day that Campus Open Carry goes into effect at UT). Besides the animation crew and voice actors, many of the interviewees were at the screening. This film was not easy to watch, but the shootings were an important part of Austin’s history.

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