March 15–16 at SXSW: 20 Exciting Speakers

The Forrest Four-Cast: February 23, 2017

Amongst many improvements for SXSW 2017, the addition of more tech-related content thought the March 10–19 event rates as one of the most important. Some of the standout geek-focused speakers who will participate on panels and solo presentations on Wednesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 16 are as follows:

  1. Michael Bodansky. He serves a strategic consultant at Freuds, a PR and communications agency which was founded by Matthew Freud, great grandson of Sigmund Freud. On Wednesday, March 15, catch his analysis of the messaging of both the In Campaign, and the Out Campaign on “How Behavioural Psychology Can Explain Brexit.”
  2. Anil Dash. Pictured above, Dash is generally considered the conscience of the Internet. His solo presentation at SXSW (“Towards More Human Tech”) will address the massive power — and the massive responsibility — of this industry to do much better in the years ahead. Scheduled Wednesday, March 15.
  3. Steve El-Sharawy. As a Media Data Analyst at EzyInsights, El-Sharawy examines the effects of Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm on news publishers across the world. Hear him talk about “How Filter Bubbles Affect Media and Elections” on Thursday, March 16.
  4. Sue Gordon. The Deputy Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Gordon is part of the “2017: A Space Odyssey — Changing Our View of Earth” session on Wednesday, March 15.
  5. Christopher Graves. The President & Founder of the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science at Ogilvy & Mather, Graves has been on an eight-year obsessive hunt to unearth and use brain and behavioral science to improve communications and marketing. Learn more about this quest at his “Brain, Behavior, Story: Mind-Changing Narratives” presentation on Wednesday, March 15.
  6. Szelena Gray. An expert on organizational strategy at the intersection of politics, technology, and social change, Gray was the Co-Founder of Run for America as well as a Fellow at Democracy Works. She will be part of the “Internet Policy in the Age of Government Inc” session on Wednesday, March 15 that will examine the future of the FCC under the Trump Administration.
  7. Wyclef Jean. A founding member of the Fugees. Jean has won three Grammy Awards for his musical work. On Wednesday, March 15, see him speak on the “How Did Shazam Get Wyclef in AR on My Phone?!” session.
  8. Laura Sallstrom. She manages a diverse international public policy portfolio for Access Partnership, a global firm that helps ICT companies gain unprecedented access to new global markets. At SXSW, Sellstrom lends her voice to “Trump, China, and Trade Wars: Tech in the Trenches?” on Thursday, March 16.
  9. DJ Zane Lowe. He currently hosts his own show on Apple’s international radio station, Beats 1. Lowe serves as the SXSW Music keynote on Thursday, March 16.
  10. Kaeya Majmundar. In spite of her lack of experience as an entrepreneur, this 24-year-old launched a series of successful products after Lori Greiner funded her collapsible storage box concept (BZbox) on the Season 5 Finale of the popular TV show. Her “#SharkTankEffect” presentation on Thursday, March 16.
  11. Lisa Kennedy Montgomery. A prime-time host at the Fox Business Network, Montgomery participates in the “Reporters’ Perspectives on Marijuana Legalization” panel on Wednesday, March 15.
  12. Julia Payne. Based in London, Payne counts 20+ years experience in promoting, marketing, fundraising and innovation in the independent ‘beyond mainstream’ music sector. On Thursday, March 16, she will talk about how artificial intelligence is shaping the future of what we hear on the “Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be AI” panel. Also, if you are looking to learn more about artificial intelligence, then know that we’ll have dozens and dozens of sessions on this topic at SXSW 2017.
  13. Dave Pell. One of Medium’s most popular writers, Pell delivers a solo presentation titled “With Extreme Bias: Consuming Media in the Trump Era.” Scheduled on Thursday, March 16.
  14. Nonny de la Peña. One of the most respected voices in the virtual reality industry, de la Peña speakers on “Immersive Theater and VR Spaces” on Wednesday, March 15.
  15. Alex Schwartz. The self-described “CEO and Janitor” of the trend-setting Austin-based VR studio, Schwartz about his company’s successes, failures and goals for the future in “Owlchemy Labs Fireside Chat.” Scheduled on Thursday, March 16.
  16. Baratunde Thurston. At SXSW 2016, Thurston was inducted into the SXSW Hall of Fame. At SXSW 2017, he will be part of the two-day “Tech Under Trump” programming block. Expect lots of laughs (and tears) at his “Head Fakes and Pivots: Trump Punks Silicon Valley” talk on Wednesday, March 15.
  17. Katy Tur. The MSNBC Anchor shares her experiences on “War at Home: Trump and the Mainstream Media” on Thursday, March 16. Other speakers on this all-star panel include Matthew Dowd (ABC News), Dan Rather (News and Guts Media) and Brian Stelter (CNN).
  18. Patricia Walsh. Although blind, Walsh is an award-winning computer engineer and champion paratriathlete. At SXSW, she will recount her unforgettable personal story while inspiring attendees how they can achieve any goal (no matter how daunting that goal appears to be). Her Thursday, March 16 session is titled “Learn to Swim: Lessons Learned as a Paralympic Athlete.”
  19. Maya Wiley. A nationally renowned expert on racial justice and equity, Wiley currently serves as the Senior Vice President for Social Justice at The New School. Listen to her insights on the “Digital Equity as Public Policy in the Trump Era” panel on Wednesday, March 15.
  20. Alex Zhu. Every day, millions of teens use musical.ly as an outlet to express themselves through singing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing. Hear Zhu — the founder and CEO of this popular app — explain why it works so well on “How Musical.ly Stormed the Tween World from China,” which occurs Wednesday, March 15.

In addition to these (and many many other) standout speakers, the March 15–16 timeframe provides more hotel flexibility than earlier in the week. Click here to get complete details on lodging availability. Once you decide the dates that are best for you, buy your badge to be able to take part in all the creativity that converges on Austin for SXSW.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.