These 10 Things Blew Our Minds at SXSW
With over sixty delegates and Mayor Tory leading the charge, the Elevate Delegation descended on Austin for a weekend celebrity sightings, late night parties, and a whole lot of inspiration.
1. Paris Hilton crashed our party
It happened. After Elevate’s reception with Mayor Tory, the Delegation rolled into the W Bar for the after party. Drinks were flowing, tracks were spinning, and then Paris Hilton waltzed in with full shades and took a seat behind Elevate’s roped off dance floor. While some of us tried to keep our cool, Elevate CEO Razor Suleman didn’t miss his chance for a selfie.
2. Mayor Tory and Michele Romanow put Toronto on the map
Tory pulled out all the stops in his keynote at SXSW. From the tech job boom in Toronto, shout outs to Elevate, to straight-talk on Toronto’s Amazon HQ bid, Tory showcased Toronto as the future of innovation, business, and culture. Followed by a conversation with Michele Romanow of Dragons’ Den, these two showed Austin how Toronto is changing the game.
3. SXSW behind the scenes
In a private tour with the Head of Global Partnerships at SXSW, Scott McNearney, the Delegation got an insider take on the festival. Did you know SXSW started as a way to bring people back to the city over spring break? With 430 000 visitors from over 100 countries, SXSW can check the box on that one. We also heard some wild stories, like the time security went after a man for trying to jump up on stage during a performance, only to realize it was Matthew McConaughey.
4. Marcus Buckingham on the future of work
New York Times best-selling author, Marcus Buckingham was nothing short of inspirational. In an intimate room with a full production crew, Buckingham shared his insights on leadership and team building to the cameras and a captivated audience. One key takeaway: feedback fails! Leaders use feedback to target weaknesses when really they should focus on the unique strengths of each player – that’s where real contributions are made.
5. Connections with Austin
Mayor Tory met with his Austin counterpart, Steve Adler to strengthen ties between the two cities. The mayors discussed plans to bring a delegation from the Austin Chamber of Commerce to Toronto for Elevate. Both hubs for tech, innovation, business, and culture: the parallels between Austin and Toronto, SXSW and Elevate
6. Release of the Top Tech Trends Report
This report was the buzz of SXSW. Futurist Amy Webb, released her 12th annual Tech Trends Report, a series that has now earned over 7.5 million views. This is a massive report, weighing over 5 lbs in print form. Webb tells us there is a 30% increase in trends overall from last year. You can download the report online now.
7. The political scene
There were lineups around the block for House Representative and new political it girl, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Howard Shultz, Starbuck CEO warmed up a crowd to his possible run for POTUS. Senator Elizabeth Warren, currently running for the Democratic nomination talked about breaking up tech giants like Facebook and Amazon. SXSW is no stranger to politics
More than 8,000 electric scooters have taken over Austin this year. Just tap your phone and you can fly around the city. Should we bring scooters to Toronto for Elevate? Tell us what you think!
9. Canada House
For the first time at SXSW, there was one venue that was all Canada all the time. Featuring programming from across the country in music, film, and technology, Canada House was the place to get proud and party with Canadians in Austin.
10. The Magic of SXSW
You never know what’s going to happen at SXSW. Bill Nye made a surprise appearance during question period at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ talk. The cast of Letterkenny partied with us at Canada House. Our team ran into Malcolm Gladwell at the airport. That is the magic of SXSW.