SXSW: March 16 2015

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My SXSW Day 4 was an eclectic variety of celebrity, tech futures, transportation, travel, and food sessions. No movies for me today, which meant that I got to eat both lunch and dinner for a change.

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The VEEP Speaks
TV star Julia Louis-Dreyfuss was interviewed by Anne Fulenwider, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire. Julia talked about growing up in a humorous family and seemed to be a naturally funny person. She does not recommended that Hillary Clinton take any advice from her. She noted that her current show is shot with a single camera, so it takes longer to shoot. Veep cast members Sam Richardson and Matt Walsh also joined the conversation.

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German Haus on Rainey Street
A free lunch of pretzels, wurst and an oom-pah band.

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How Innovation Happens
This session was a panel discussion with Eric Schmidt (Google), Megan Smith (US Office of Science & Technology Policy), and Walter Isaacson (The Aspen Institute). They were definitely in favor of free community college education. All foresee tremendous growth in Africa.

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Fixing Transportation with Humanity & Technology
I decided to attend this session after hearing Uber board member Bill Gurley yesterday. For today’s Keynote Session, Logan Green, the cofounder and CEO of Lyft, was interviewed by Doug MacMillan from The Wall Street Journal. Logan described how he started Lyft after seeing so many one-person vehicles on LA freeways and serving several years on a public transit board. His first company was ZimRide, a web-based car sharing service which mostly appealed to college students. In 2012 Logan and his cofounder decided to expand their business by taking advantage of mobile technologies and ensuring vigorous background checks of drivers. New regulations have been required to allow this business model. The pink mustaches are being replaced by lighted ones. Logan said that Lyft’s vision for the world is to make a personal car unnecessary.

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Beat Digital Burnout: Using Travel to Harness Creativity
Sponsored by Yahoo Travel, five panelists discussed their experiences with being disconnected from the Internet. I expected this session to be more about travel, but I did enjoy seeing the temporary transformation of Brazos Hall into the sleek and modern Yahoo venue.

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Food Criticism in the Digital Age
Four food writers, Alison Cook, Jonathan Gold, Evan Kleiman, and Helen Rosner, admitted that they sometimes feel confused and irrelevant. They noted that everyone these days thinks they are a food critic by just posting on Yelp. Alison said that she visits at least three times before reviewing a restaurant. Helen observed that “long-form” (longer in-depth narrative) is coming back now.

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