“SXSW Interactive: Most Influential Technology Event on Earth?”


Shawna Butler


Hugh Forrest

Hugh Forrest
Director of SXSWi
Shawna Butler
Singularity University, Partnerships
TEDx, Maven

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
5:30 p.m. – Doors and Bar Open
6:00 p.m. – Presentation and special musical performance by Darden Smith
6:45 p.m. – Reception

SXSW Interactive (SXSWi) has grown into a massive conference, networking event, festival and more. Over 30,000 people from around the world convene in Austin for 5 days to learn, share, get new ideas, form new collaborations, and celebrate the influence and impact in technologies for consumers, businesses, government, education, and society as a whole. SXSWi has a broad scope, covering any interactive use of technology and its impact on society via speakers, panels, discussions, and even book readings. Web design, mobile applications, social media, and gaming are all covered; recent additions have included sports, comedy, science, and starting this year a new Health & MedTech expo.

Is SXSW Interactive the largest tech event in the world? Close, but not quite. However, might it be the most influential? Come hear Hugh Forrest, the Director of SXSW Interactive discuss the role, evolution, and future of SXSWi in a live interview conducted by Shawna Butler—and bring your own questions and opinions. Hugh will share his vision, answer your questions, and give SXSW Interactive badges to two lucky attendees!


Hugh Forrest serves as the director of the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) Festival. This event brings more than 25,000 digital creatives from across the United States and around the world to Austin for five days of panels, brainstorming, networking, deal-making and fun. Forrest graduated from Austin High School in 1980, and then majored in English at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Before joining the SXSW team, he founded a small alternative publication called The Austin Challenger.

Shawna Butler’s portfolio of work includes clinical and strategy roles in health, education, the arts, economic development, and media production. She is an advocate for Austin’s startup community, advises social impact enterprises, curates TEDx experiences, and develops partnerships for Singularity University. A quantum collaborator and proponent of combinatorial creativity, she is sought after for establishing unexpected, high impact partnerships.

Musical Performance by Darden Smith


Darden Smith

Darden Smith is a singer-songwriter, educator, and speaker with a 30-year career that continues to evolve and grow. He has released fourteen critically acclaimed albums and toured extensively in both the US and Europe. Among his diverse projects, Smith has composed a symphony, scored three full-length dance theater works, and produced a documentary for BBC2 Radio. He served as the Artist-in-Residence at Oklahoma State University’s Riata School of Entrepreneurship (2011-2013). Smith leads creativity workshops for schools, corporations, and other clients. He is also the founder and creative director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers, a program that pairs professional songwriters with wounded soldiers to create songs based on the soldiers’ stories of combat and returning home.

Smith’s latest album is Love Calling, released July 30, 2013 on Compass Records.