10 Takeaways From SXSW Interactive

SXSW’s interactive portion is, essentially, Mardi Gras for nerds. I say that with love.

After moderating a panel on transportation’s tech future, writing some interesting stories, meeting about a million people, and even (this is the fun part! the one that matters more than gadgets!) getting to see bands playing their heart out in tiny venues, I learned a few things.

Here we go:

1. There are not enough mid-level employees from poor or lower middle class backgrounds at tech companies. Nowhere near enough at all.

2. Many startup founders are grossly underprepared for what happens if their company goes big/gets acquired.

3. There’s no separation between tech & “real life.” Only a continuum.

4. Investors have really unrealistic expectations of “disruption” in highly regulated industries like transportation and healthcare.

5. People use apps very differently in SF/NY/DC/CHI/BOS/(insert big city w tech sector here) than in the rest of the country.

6. Brands need to be careful before embarrassing themselves on Snapchat or YouTube. Not everyone needs to be hip!

7. Tech companies: if your engineers are unhappy, they’ll let everyone know.

8. Smart people with degrees from fancy schools become angry eight year olds when they can’t use Lyft or Uber.

9. The next great tech product will come from China, India, or Africa.

10. Silicon Valley, The Social Network & Minority Report had more influence on the trajectory of startup world than 100,000 IPOs.

And that’s it. Treat your employees well, respect your customers, and love each other. Cheers.

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