SxSW Daily Digest | Day Five | Tuesday 15th March

You could tell that today was day five. The bleary eyes of the weary souls trudging down to the convention centre belied five non-stop days of stimulation overload. With no easing up in the quality of the talks happening across the day, though, it was time to armour up for one last day of learning, discussion and inspiration.

The day kicked off with Stewart Butterfield in Conversation with Farhad Manjoo. The growth that Slack – a messaging app for internal teams – has seen in the two short years that it has been in existence, both in terms of users, company value (now up to $4 billion) and in terms of the team (they have gone from 4 people to 200+), has been astronomical. The discussion spoke through the popularity of productivity enabling apps, how much untapped potential there remains in this space and expanded in to a more expansive conversation about reining the power of tech for good. Particularly interesting for me was the idea of anthropologists in 10,000 years’ time looking back at this period of history and the ascent of information technology being as important in the evolution of our species as development of spoken language was.

After a working week’s worth of days crammed full of talks, networking, panel discussions, ideas and more – it seemed fitting that the final keynote of the festival was a talk around mindfulness and the importance of making space for meditation by Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe (who, incidentally, is from Bristol!). Taking us through his fascinating journey from his degree in circus studies, through a ten-year stint as a monk in various monasteries across Tibet and the Himalayas, through to life as a Californian tech entrepreneur – it’s safe to say it’s a story unlike many others. We were even treated to a ten minute meditative exercise.

On that Zen note, we the masses departed from SxSW’s 30th year determined to give the experience the time needed to sink in, ensure that what we’ve picked up along the way can be pulled in to our daily routines and that the relationships founded here are given the attention they deserve. For many here, it’ll be as much about what happens over the coming months and weeks as it has been about what happened out here.

Watch. This. Space.

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