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But after experiencing my first SXSW -- watching Generation Z up close, hearing panelists weigh forward on everything from how to make food cheaper and healthier to the prospects for virtual reality and Twitter -- I don't know if I've left Austin with higher hopes for humanity.
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For those of us who have founded companies, startups are like your first-born -- exciting, terrifying and usually there are only three of you! There is only one goal: survive. It's crisis management everyday and the strategy is "let's find something that works today."
At the height of Rob Ford's crack scandal last fall, Toronto's ever-up-for-it mayor flew off to Texas to party. Or to be more accurate, he flew to the annual Austin City Limits (ACL) festival to find...
SX has been a duality of easy-breezy meditative chillness and rush-rush tuk-tuk chaos. Amidst the line-ups and miss-outs I squeeze in some surprise experiences. Just last night at the Hype Machine Hotel party we Djed, I caught The Specials perform to a jammed-in crowd of anticipants, and they killed it.
SXSW has such a palpable hedonism. It is a parade of acts, a carnival of different kinds of food, sunshine, and music heard in every street. Though I guess I am 'here to work,' I would love to experience this festival, as a performer, responsibility free (am I a diva?).
I admit it. I was going to be coming to SXSW for the weather -- out of a Montreal winter into the warmth and sunlight. I expected to be exhausted and turned off by the clamoring of egos and skinny jeans (I own a few pairs) and throngs of people everywhere. It was a great reminder for us about what is important about playing live and it was a short set so we had to find the magic fast. The crowd made that happen.