"New Kids on the Blockchain." "Bad Crypto Meetup." "Initial Taco Offering."
These are real names of events about blockchain scheduled for South by Southwest 2018. But panels talk a big game without necessarily giving a tangible demonstration of what such technologies can do. In the past though, SXSW has been more about showing than telling.
About ten years ago, the technologies that broke out at SXSW were the ones that could connect people, and they were widely used at the event. Twitter made it easy to follow discussions about the conference and specific parties, and it gave people a chance to connect with each other face-to-face. Foursquare, well before it launched Swarm, helped show which places were "swarming" at SXSW. Attendees could discover where friends were and which events were popular (I often used it to see which events were too popular so I could find other quieter spots to meet friends). Hashable tried to reinvent business cards, and perhaps its rapid demise signaled the fading interest in such technologies during the festival.