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Big Orange Slide

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

Looking Ahead at SXSW

March 13, 2012 by Patrick Robinson

Illustration by SXSW Accelerator

If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, as the Canadian science fiction author William Gibson suggests, then I’m pleased to report from the near future here in Austin, Texas at the fourth annual SXSW Accelerator.

The Accelerator Program is dedicated to the discovery and promotion of the newest and most innovative web-based products. The program is a great format to hear from many different start-ups in a short time. With two minutes for their elevator pitch and ten minutes to address questions by an expert panel of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, each start-up is competing with four others in a 3-day round-robin style competition that concludes on March 14.

Of the 56 competitors so far, the five that interest me the most, and whose success I will monitor in the future are: is an open source framework for mobile sensing and data processing developed at the MIT Media Lab. Already the recipient of two Google Grants, Funf helps collect and interpret the abundant rich data about individuals, their devices and their environment. develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping, increasing transparency and lowering barriers for individuals to share their stories. An example was residents in Japan sharing their individual home radiation levels and seeing them mapped in aggregate. from Toronto pitched their platform as the best way to share and collaborate on spreadsheets and other datasets publicly or, using their premium paid service, within a private organization. is a simple way to share where you’re going instead of where you are now. Something that may be useful helping your friends find you when you’re out and about. claims to be the first DIY platform that makes it easy for anyone to take control of their personal Google search results, optimizing positive information to the top results.

Which innovative new products do you have your eye on at this year’s SXSW Accelerator?

From Austin, Texas, see you in the future.

2 Comments on "Looking Ahead at SXSW"

  • Kathy
    March 14, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    I like the idea behind, and am surprised that this is the “first” such DIY platform. I suspect we’ll see a lot in this area in the near future, as the importance of the personal brand increases. Will also be interesting to see if/how Google reacts to this particularly if people start to game it.

    Another interesting (and overdue imho) product is Local Wiki. I long for the day that we have one of these for Toronto… maybe I should start one?

  • Andrew
    March 20, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

    One of the problems with SXSW is that it has outgrown its original vision or mandate and now is very cliquey with the same people presenting year after year.

    This year, someone gave the exact same presentation they gave two years ago.

    SXSW needs to reinvent itself or at least return to its roots. Better planning of tracks would help often there are two presentations on similar topics at the same time, why?

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