Plug in Your Mind: SXSW Recap

35,000-plus exuberant thinkers and doers from all over the world gathered in the most outgoing city on the planet (possibly) to share ideas and just generally be inspired by one another. And we were there.

SXSW interactive

Taking place in pint-sized and palatial venues from one corner of Austin to another, SXSW Interactive is one of the most tech-centric, design-driven festivals of the year. But that’s not to say it’s a bunch of socially awkward nerds sitting in dark rooms discussing the future of CSS. Well, there is that. But beyond that, it’s 35,000-plus exuberant thinkers and doers from all over the world gathered in possibly the most outgoing city on the planet to share ideas and just generally be inspired by one another.

And even with a torrential (very soggy) kickoff, SXSW 2012 was no exception.

SXSW recap (interactive)

From Baratunde Thurston discussing how satire and comedy can change (and are changing) the world to David Eagleman’s presentation on the complexity and capability of the human brain, this week provided no shortage of fodder for the mind.

And with Rainn Wilson adding his own unique brand of wit and relativity (he discussed the creation of his site, SoulPancake), and presenters like Guy Kawasaki and Al Gore providing insights on everything from Google+ to free speech … Well, let’s just say it all added up to a practically limitless range of finely woven content for quiet (or not so quiet) collective contemplation.

Couple all these conversations with dozens and dozens of new product demonstrations, tech giveaways, and gadgety goodness galore and you have a week of mind-bending proportions. Nokia boasted a bass-blasting “igloo,” where free phones (and shots) were given away every hour. Spotify hosted a nonstop party at the brilliant-green Spotify House, where guests could add their playlists to the current set. And Google built a village. (Yes, village.)

Needless to say, SXSW Interactive 2012 was truly that … a place to mingle and interact with new brands and exciting technology.

Esurance at SXSW Interactive

As a newbie (though uber-excited) sponsor of this year’s festival, Esurance was on the scene to take in the cyber sights, synergized sounds, and (relatively) manageable mayhem that was SXSW. At this week’s tradeshow (March 12–15), our “insurance for the modern world” lounge featured event-friendly giveaways (think free coffee and lunch vouchers) as well as free charging stations where SXSWers could power up their gadgets and gizmos.

While charging up at the power stations or taking a breather from the maddening pace, visitors at our lounge could also chat with an Esurance expert or scroll through our interactive iPad display to learn more about some of the coolest products we offer.

Take a quick video tour of our booth:

SXSW summary

As a company committed to making things easier (period), Esurance was happy to help festival-goers stay connected, energized, and fully charged at SXSW Interactive. And as a dot-com survivor and car insurance innovator, we were beyond excited to be part of such an expansive, awe-inspiring, future-thinking, change-making festival. And when our new Texas friends say, “Y’all come back now,” all we can say is, “We sure hope to!”

SXSW Music

Stay tuned for more as we make our way to Auditorium Shores for the music portion of the festival. And if you’re in Austin, be sure to find us for a charge-up … and lots of other good (free) stuff.

Related links

More about comedian and author Baratunde Thurston of The Onion
More about neuroscientist and New York Times’ best-selling author David Eagleman
More about actor Rainn Wilson and SoulPancake

Check out a few pics from the Esurance Lounge:

SXSW Esurance booth 1

SXSW Esurance booth 2

SXSW Esurance welcome

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