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How was Austin and SXSW? Now back in Reston, VA, I have noticed I have been asked this question more times than usual.
For those who like a top line, my executive-level answer: my expectations were high and SXSW did not disappoint.
For those who like to talk about feelings, my experiential answer: it was the best festival I have ever decided to attend.
For those closest to me, my intimate answer: if you haven’t been, you must put it on your list. Let’s make a plan for next year…
I knew the moment I stepped onto the streets of Austin that I had come to the right place, at the right time. I felt as though I was exactly where I needed to be. In a community of like-thinking people. Of innovators, futurists and feminists. Of change, wave and market makers. In a community of radical acceptance for non-traditional approaches to problem solving and reverence for diversity of ideas.
Austin helped too. It wasn’t my first time there, but it was my first time with time to explore. I saw bats and bought a hat. I soaked in the sun and chased Texas sunsets. I took recommendations and to my delight, ate more tacos that I thought I could. I hung out on rooftops and also with a pretty cool dog that took me back to memories of my own, in child- and adulthood. I heard so much music. To my ears!
A week later, I am still buzzing from it all. For making the week mega (and meta!) interesting and inspiring, a special shout out to:
Elissa Coughlin from Unity – your invitation, hospitality and friendship mean the world to me. 🐶
Claus Schuster and gang from CURAZE: Michael Cebulsky, Andreas Schwabe, Clemens von Beust, Jan Möllendorf – it was a pleasure to meet you all and I look forward to seeing you in Munich. 💎
Former colleagues Nic Tat and Dele Atanda – it’s always a delight to reconnect with those I have shared the career journey with. 🙏🏼
Former client Nazli Strobl from Adobe – reconnecting with you was inspiration that led to action! I’ll meet you at the gym next time! 💪🏼
Bridget Kavanaugh and the rest of the gang from Richard’s Rainwater: Taylor O’Neil & Cole Armstrong – seeing you was the best surprise of the trip. Let’s make it rain! 🌧
Nils J. Wollny from holoride and Cliff Fluet of Lewis Silkin – for making me think further in the #future than I ever have at the Midwest House and bringing me a new appreciation for the value of digital. 🚘
Sebastian Schmalz from Porsche AG – for showcasing an amazing commitment to marrying the physical and digital worlds at Porsche Unseen. 🕹
Chandler from United Apparel Liquidators – for helping me find a gem for an upcoming keynote presentation ❤️
Britt Ivy – for the serendipity of finding another digital vagabond from DC in a wonderful crowd at the Shell House. See you at home! 🇺🇸
In an unexpected half a-ha moment, half impostor syndrome, between content and coincidences, I realized the realness of the humility of learning something new. With my mind somewhat blown away by the future some of these individuals are bringing to the present, I realized: that’s exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Imagine the future, and make it real today. I’ve been in the past too long. It’s time to get back to the future.
Until next year y’all!