Ten SXSW Sessions With a NewCo Vibe


Between the incredible music, a week-long indie film festival, and hundreds of forward-thinking companies and startups, the chill in Austin will be high in the coming week.

SXSW is not a NewCo festival, but it kind of feels like that cousin you get along with at family gatherings (and SXSW the organization is a NewCo!). Dozens of NewCos will participate in SXSW Interactive, focusing on topics you might expect to hear at a NewCo event while having a good time.

Here are 10 sessions happening in Austin this month that caught our attention, starting with one we’re running.

Stories of Purpose-Driven Companies
Tech and a host of other influencers are causing rapid change, and more companies are putting an emphasis on purpose and profit. NewCo CEO John Battelle will sit down with CEOs from Embrace Innovations, Nuna Health, and Earnest to talk about how this is redefining what we used to just call work but is becoming much more.

How to Disrupt a Regulated Industry
Zenefits, Uber, Airbnb. We know what can happen when a startup challenges or ignores regulation. This conversation between a Yelp executive and people with tech or innovation in their title from the U.S. Department of Commerce and other agencies will try to help people understand how to avoid having your startup threatened by administrators or policymakers.

What I Learned from My Million-Dollar Pay Cut
Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price sparked a healthy debate when he took a $1 million pay cut to ensure each of his employees was paid a minimum $70,000 a year. He’s going to talk about what it was like to be in the middle of that discussion and what he and his company have learned.

Designing for Sh*t That Doesn’t Exist Yet
The Chaotic Moon Studios design team will think a couple steps ahead to establish what the future of user experience design will look like and what it will demand of designers.

Weird Startups from Japanese Universities
You had me at “weird” and “Japan.” Let’s hope they turn up the weird a little since it’s Austin.

Is Your Biological Data Safe?
How will our biological data be used to help or hurt us in the near future? People from 23andme, Vice, Genspace, and an FBI special agent (sounds like a great cast for anything)

The New Battleground: States and Tech Policy
Big public battles like FBI-Apple catch headlines but startups and new business models are challenging policy at the state level too. Hear from state representatives from California, Florida, and Texas.

Let’s Drop the Term Millennials
Millennials aren’t just reshaping the workplace. Refinery CEO Philippe von Borries believes Millennial culture represents a way of thinking that is something you can find in all age groups. He will argue that people of this mindset are “dictating a new global psyche” and that term to describe a generation in the 20s and early 30s should go away.

Niche to Movement to Mainstream: How Cultures Grow
A look at research about hip-hop and food trucks and how both grew to become the norm.

Everything’s Harder at Scale
Reddit CTO and former Pinterest engineer Marty Weiner talks about watching a company grow from few to many and the challenges that creates.

Jean and Steve Case: A Roadmap for Innovators
A look into the future of the “Rise of the Rest.”

Hustler to Entrepreneur: Tech and Disconnected Youth
Thicket Labs founder Depth Welarantna talks about how her company helps resourceful poor young kids from the Bronx get tech savvy and create their own opportunities and businesses.

Photo: Aaron Rogosin

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