Live at SXSW: Your Phone is Changing Your Life. Is That a Bad Thing?

The palpable first-day enthusiasm of SXSW returned to the Comcast Social Media Lounge throughout the week, as the array of charging stations and opinions of the guest speakers remain energized.

Here’s what went down.

Questionable Texting

Bonin Bough, author of TXT Me, gave away free books and he didn’t just sign them, he asked people why they were here at SXSW and what their story was, too. The book, Bough’s attempt at an open conversation on how our phones have changed our lives, has a phone number embossed on the cover. And he encourages readers to text him. But does he really answer? I asked.

Yeah, dude! That’s why you’ll see me pop out. I’m answering texts,” he says. (Spoiler: I did, and I’m not convinced it’s really him.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.56.54 AM

A Story of Incredible Career Pivoting

Mike Platco, a former high school art teacher, and cartoonist, became so proficient at using Snapchat that he now works full time for major corporations like Disney. “Wow, amazing,” says a woman with a five-month-old child strapped to her chest. A show of hands revealed about 40 percent of people in the Lounge are regular Snappers.

Student Debt Hatin’

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari and the Chuck E. Cheese pizza chain, says student debt is out of control and college is a rip-off. Boom. You heard it here, folks.

The Business Side of Tech

Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, explains the missteps of the tech industry in seeking immediate fortunes over long-term financial growth and stability.

“When they let you ring the bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, it’s not because you’re disruptive. Comcast is a private company! Did you know that? It’s family owned! It bought NBC, a public company. How? A long-term vision.”

After Rushkoff finishes his talk, a man at a charging station who’d just finished off a plate of chicken wings and was off to his next panel says, “That was great. I’m going to go buy his book right now.” Dang.

Lead image via Pexels

Leave a Comment