Well, Austin has already proven to be worth the 24 hours in a small van with five (awesome) KKi interns. These guys have been such a pleasure to get to know; each one of them has incredible passion for the work they do with Krochet Kids, and it was exciting to be a part of their road trip.
Once we drove through the night, I found my couch, slept, and got ready to get my mind blown with the future! I hit the ground running, which was easy to do because the conference has been filled with such great, passionate minds eager to share a snapshot of things to come in the tech and online world. It was less about selling an idea, and more about saying, “these are the ideas, now let’s use them to do actual good.” What has been exciting for me to see as an online community geek working in the Outreach department, is that throughout this conference, a lot of the conversations and panels have been centered around seeing technology as a tool to create offline connections. The social media world is now talking in particular to start-ups about how to turn these great online connections into real offline connections, whether it’s how to get a job via an online community, or how to take over public space through online organizing for offline scavenger hunts.
Now let’s get sciencey! This conference has been an incredibly cool moment in history where I can say, “I saw the beginning of 3D printing and the potential it gives us the user!” (Sorry this going to get techy, but think Star Trek food replicator.) Seeing the advances in the 3D printing realm first-hand felt very reminiscent of Roadtrip Nation’s talk with chef Homaro Cantu a few years ago, who was working on a 3D food printer. Now, just a few years later, they are working on technology that allows you to scan an image, and it will be replicated in 3D form perfectly. The printer is called “The Digitalizer,” and can scan objects up to 8 inches tall and 8 inches wide. It uses lasers and a webcam to scan stuff and turn them into 3D models. Did I mention the maker of the Digitalizer had it strapped to his chest, printing…the future is now people. “If you’ve seen Tron, this is kind of what happens when Flynn gets digitized into the game grid,” explained CEO Bre Pettis, who brimmed with excitement during his SXSW keynote.
What’s so awesome about this is that it allows anyone the ability to create the products or art they want to, anytime. Listening to talks in hallways here at SXSW, I’ve heard people say this could mark the start of a new industrial revolution! Ok. I’ll stop with the tech talk; back to community and the festival itself.
I have had the opportunity to meet with such incredible minds who have been inspiring me with BIG AUDACIOUS ideas to bring back to you guys, our community! We want to know you better and have a real connection to our community; that is what Roadtrip Nation is all about! I can’t wait to share some video content of conference goers who are sharing their advice on how to define yourself, especially in this era of public identity online.
Love from Austin!