SXSW: March 11 2023

Three Interactive sessions and two narrative films make for a good SXSW day. Unfortunately, I was shut out of my favorite annual session, Amy Webb’s Emerging Trends. I hope to catch it online later this week.

Eat, You’ll Feel Better

Mary Beth Albright from The Washington Post explained the research on how the gut microbiome can be changed by the food you eat. Eating more than 30 different plants each week (even in small amounts) helps to have a healthy gut microbiome. (Subsequently, I had a salad bowl for my only meal of the day.) I learned that neurogastronomy is the study of food pleasure. Her tips for food pleasure: use heavy cutlery, eat communally, and grow and cook your own food. 

15 Non-obvious Trends Shaping Our Future Normal

Rohit Bhargava spoke first. “The people who understand people always win.” “We are good at predicting the near future, but not the distant future.” He gave examples of near-term innovations: robotic lawnmowers, X-ray vision for contact lenses, psychedelic cures, passive haptic learning devices, and future normal gear.

Henry Coutinho-Mason took over for a bit, starting with an introduction to gut microbiomes (deja vu). Longer-term trends they discussed: Metabolical Monitoring (to prevent diabetes); Synthetics (chicken, leather), Virtual Companionship (Woebot chatbot), Augumented Creativity (used ChatGPT to critique and start a trailer for their book), Immersive Entertainment, and Work Deconstructed (job sharing, remote work).

Music by Bona Fide

Keynote: José Andrés

Chef José Andrés, the co-founder of World Central Kitchen (WCK), was interviewed by Michele Norris from The Washington Post (and formerly NPR). At last year’s online SXSW, I knew about WCK’s work after watching the documentary We Feed People at last year’s (online) conference. Chef Andrés learned about the power of using food to change the world from volunteering at DC Central Kitchen. He explained that WCK is so successful because they can quickly activate all food assets (restaurants, arenas, warehouses, stores, etc.) in a city or region. 

Flamin’ Hot

Eva Longoria directed this narrative film about Richard Montanez, a janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The real Richard and his wife, Judy, attended the screening along with Eva and most of the movie’s cast. Richard’s advice: “Everyone needs a Judy in their life.”


Director Jake Johnson also starred in this thriller-with-some-comedy film along with Ana Kendrick. Other cast members, producers, and crew also attended this world premiere. 

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