By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
One of the best parts of SXSW Interactive is it lets you tap into the minds of some of the best and brightest in Austin to learn first hand from them. This year, the ideas are spot-on about topics like digital inclusion, racism, autonomous vehicles, biotechnology, international startups, food startups and on-demand delivery.
Those trends are reflected in the local submission we’ve highlighted. Here are our top 13 picks for this year. Don’t procrastinate, vote now for your favorite panels today because voting ends on Friday. And if you’ve got a panel that I left off the list, and you think it deserves to be on there please add it to the comments.
Food+City: How Austin Feeds Itself During SXSW: Robyn Metcalfe, director of the Food Lab at the University of Texas, now a non-profit organization called Food+City, joins a distinguished panel of experts to discuss the marvel of the modern day food system. For more on that topic, read is Is Austin the Next Hotbed for Food Startups featuring an interview with Metcalfe.
More, Now, Again: How on Demand Changed Our Lives: a panel of delivery startups featuring Ben Doherty, co-founder of Favor, Christian Bjelland of Hello Alfred, Cory Rellas with Drizly and Jordan Metzner with Washio. They will discuss how on demand delivery is changing people’s lives including their own.
From Success to Significance: Josh Baer, cofounder of Capital Factory and a major force in the Austin entrepreneur community, has spent the past few years travelling around the world on fellowships. He has participated in some exclusive and high profile fellowships including Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellowship and the Eisenhower Fellowship. In this panel, he talks about how to get fellowships and make the most of those opportunities.
Austin: Leading the Way for Digital Inclusion: A panel of experts from the city, the University of Texas, Austin Free-Net and Skillpoint Alliance discuss solutions to getting people who aren’t connected to the Internet and technology online in Austin and equipping them with the skills they need in an increasingly wired world.
The Dragon Was Never Asleep: Race in Austin & USA: A discussion about race relations in the U.S. and Austin featuring panelists from KUT and the University of Texas at Austin.
Transportation and Mobility – the Austin Angle: A panel discussion led by RideScout’s Joseph Kopser which will focus on autonomous cars, transportations as a service and other issues Austin and cities face with growing populations and worsening traffic problems. It’s a hot topic right now as Google just announced its self-driving prototype cars will soon hit the streets of Austin.
The Biomedical Revolution in Austin and Beyond: A panel discussion by the University of Texas Dell Medical School on the impact that institution will have on healthcare in Austin. Central Texas is already booming when it comes to biomedical innovations as we’ve reported in our latest life sciences edition of Silicon Hills News. The addition of the Dell Medical School will only increase that activity.
Save the Weird: Preserving Austin’s Culture: this title alone tugs at the heartstrings of everyone who knows and loves Austin. Duff Stewart with GSD&M will join Austin Mayor Steve Adler to discuss how to cope with growth and keep Austin weird.
Supporting US Entrepreneurs: America’s Number One Job: this panel also features Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Dell, 1776 incubator and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce talking about the best governmental policies to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem and encourage innovators.
For the People by the People: The Human Algorithm: a panel discussion on helping government identify and meet their citizens needs through data and analysis. The panel features Kerry O’Connor, chief innovation officer with the City of Austin, Dave Snowden with Cognitive Edge and Gal Alon with Insights.
Take No Sh*T: Thriving as a XX in an XY World: great title for a great panel of women in technology discussing how to succeed in an industry that is predominantly male. The panelists include Heather Brunner, CEO of WP Engine, Julie Huls, President of the Austin Technology Council and Sara Spivey with Bazaarvoice.
International Startups: US Markets/Funding: this panel talks about helping international entrepreneurs move to Austin. The panel features Angelos Angelou with Angelou Economics, Phil Pompa with the International Accelerator, Jason Finkelman with Finkelman Law Firm and Carmelo Gordian with Andrews & Kurth. Given that entrepreneurs from nearly 200 countries attend SXSW Interactive every year this is a particularly hot topic.
5 Critical Steps to Building a Successful Startup: Austinite Dean Drako, a serial entrepreneur who has founded Barracuda Networks, Eagle Eye Networks and Drako Motors, will talk about common mistakes entrepreneurs often make and ways to succeed with a startup.