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My Recap of SXSW Health/Interactive – 2018

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 4.57.22 PMSpring is one of my favorites. And now, one of the hallmarks that I know spring is coming: SXSW! I just returned from SX for 2018, serving as a mentor again this year in health and wellness.

(What did I get asked about? Find out over at the SXSW 2018 recap episode, here!)

Here’s what I learned, and I only witnessed a tiny fraction of one day of this epic, several-week-long festival in music, film, interactive and education.

My Recap of SXSW 2018 Interactive: Health

1.    New this year for virtual attendees: SXSW live streamed several, if not all their keynotes this year on Facebook. I watched Esther Perel, who’s talk was entitled, The Future of Love, Lust and Listening. Her new best-selling book is new called The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity. She also runs a podcast with couples therapy, and the 2nd season started during her time at SX. If you run over to the SXSW Facebook page now, you can still see her talk, and other huge keynotes, like Melinda Gates and Elon Musk – for FREE!

2.    Also, new for me this year – the Trade Show. It was broken into several different categories. It had 2 stages (discovery and next stage), and then several exhibitor pavilions – health, international, social impact, and startup village. Strolling through a tiny part of the trade show at the convention center, we stumbled upon some really cool companies – like wethos – a company that’s like Fiverr or 99 Designs that works for nonprofits: Super smart cities were there for economic development too. For example, Raleigh, NC had a booth there, which featured small business owners who are awesome in Raleigh. Shout out to Videri Chocolate Factory, who was in the Raleigh booth, and who’s chocolate was yummy, and dark chocolate is healthy, right?

3. Also new this year: the SXSW Wellness Expo at the Palmer Events Center Exhibit hall as part of the trade show. You can check out some videos of it over at Instagram.

4. Thank you to Dell for hosting a women funding women session. Although I couldn’t get to it with my compressed schedule, I appreciate that they had a session to help women entrepreneurs get funded with their businesses – as women entrepreneurs are grossly underfunded.

5.  Also, shout out to my friend Shwen Gwee and his friends – who ran a Health Spark 2018 Session March 11-12th for SXSW. He had topics from blockchain in health, to using chatbots in health, AI, machine learning, and digital wellness. I saw while I was there an interesting statistic during his “Barracuda Bowl” – where startups in health tech competed to win a cash prize – that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed through conversation WITHOUT a human!

6.    Also on the HIT front, talked to the Founder of CareSet – which works with Medicare claims data to help companies guide drug launches. We’ll need to get Ashish on the podcast!

7.    Also, I hit the bookstore again this year. I would LOVE to see more of this in the future! You can go and meet the authors too for autographs and pictures.

8.    Overall hot topics this year in interactive/health: AI, AR, blockchain, and SEO relative to video and most of all – digital voice technologies – for everything, including health. (Hey Alexa – can you go run for me tonight?) I attended a packed meetup on SEO – and all the talk was about video (and how to get video to show up high on SEO rankings) and digital voice technology SEO. SX also live streamed a session in one of their pavilions with interactive AI pet dogs that learn the voice and behavior of those interacting with it.

SXSW I approached a little differently this year – I went in with a tight itinerary and stuck to the plan–and had a friend come along - NaShara Mitchell - a fellow educator/entrepreneur. (Otherwise, the conference can get a little overwhelming.) Thankfully, the day ran like clockwork! So, overall, a GREAT day for me in Austin – and I hope that you, too, have the opportunity to attend the festival soon if you’re in health and/or wellness. It’s like a breath of fresh air for healthcare – something we desperately need in this country!

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