It’s almost here!

I’ve been to SXSW twice before. The first time, I was completely overwhelmed. The second, with a bit of experience under my belt, I was a bit more skilful in navigating the crowded conference centre and various other venues. This time I’m going back after a gap of 3 years, and I know it’s bigger than ever before. The 21st annual SXSW Interactive festival will most certainly beat last year’s 30,000+ attendee numbers, and I’ll be honest and admit that I’m just that little bit nervous about it all, all over again. Will I be able to stay focussed in the face of all those people, ideas and opinions, not to mention the BBQ, margaritas and beer? (Yes, you can feel sorry for me. I KNOW!!)

Jokes apart, there are a number of interesting speakers lined up that I hope to be able to listen to and draw inspiration from as I work on making PHD UK’s work even better in the months ahead. I know that SXSW days don’t always go to plan so I’m prepared to miss a few talks, but here are some I’ll do my best to attend:


The BRCK team on designing a product for the developing world

Joi Ito from KPCB & Tim Brown from IDEO on the future of making
Google’s Sundar Pichai talking to John Battelle
How some smart women entrepreneurs are making their way in the tech world
Futurist Patrick Tucker on the technology we can look forward to (or not) in the years to come

As a co-founder of Ada’s List, I’m also pretty proud that we have some of our members represented on SXSW panels and events:

Andreea Nastase from POKE London won’t be in Austin but is involved with Here East at Hackney House
Merici Vinton from IDEO’s OI Engine is speaking at Getting S#$! Done: Online Organizers Making Change
Nadya Powell, MD of MRY in London is speaking at the Millennial vs. brand meetup
Laura Jordan-Bambach, Creative Partner at Mr. President, Co-Founder of She Says & President of the D&AD is judging the Hackney House Transatlantic Millennial Mentoring Grand Finale and Awards

I know there will be points when my mind will be ready to explode, so I’ll try to make sure that I note/photograph/scribble down things even in bits and pieces so I can make sense of it later. I know that I’ll be doing a lot of walking, so I’m going to make sure my shoes are comfortable. And I know not to exhaust myself during the day because most of all, SXSW is a great place to connect with people from the industry in a setting that is not home during the evenings. I’ve met some really cool people during my previous years at SXSW and I hope to be introduced to some more this time round, while getting to have quality conversations with many others I know and never really get to chat with – even those from back home in London. You know those stories about great ideas being scribbled on the back of a napkin…

Here’s looking forward to SXSW 2014. See you there!

To see live photos of SXSW view PHD’s Pinterest page.

Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation. PHD UK


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