Voting Is Open For SXSW Interactive 2014 Sessions

Five months ago, we joined a crowd of 20,000 technology enthusiasts for a week of little sleep and a whole lot of exciting tech discussions and networking at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2013 in Austin.

After a brief hiatus, SXSW is back in action – and this time, it’s with a full slate of programming options for the 2014 festival, scheduled for March 7 through March 11. Next year’s content lineup will be decided by three channels: a community vote, input from the SXSW Advisory Boards and suggestions from the organizing staff.

That’s where you come in: we’re asking for your vote to help get our best and brightest in front of the SXSW crowd. There are nearly 3,000 speaking proposals to choose from, with nine submissions featuring some of our top experts at Rackspace.

The voting process is now open and runs through Friday, September 6. And best of all, voting is easy. Make an account using the PanelPicker, search for “Rackspace,” click on the event name and then make sure to click on the “thumbs up” in the sidebar.

South by Southwest will release the first programming announcement on Monday, October 14. Make sure you stay tuned to see if we made the cut. Until then, here’s a sneak peek of our proposed sessions:

Whack-a-Troll: How To Battle Patent Trolls
Featuring Alan Schoenbaum (Rackspace Senior Vice President and General Counsel) and Julie Samuels (Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents)
Patent trolls are an expensive drain on innovation and on the US economy. They target developers, businesses and technology users in hope of a quick, lucrative settlement – because fighting them is even more costly. In 2011, patent trolls cost the US economy $80 billion. In this session, two patent troll specialists will highlight the growing problem patent trolls pose; showcase the need for patent law reform; and arm you with the weapons to battle these cash-hungry trolls and force them back under the bridge.

Embracing the F Word: Failure
Featuring Jonathan Siegel (Rackspace Director of Product and RightScale Co-Founder)
To entrepreneurs failure is an enigma: a necessary evil but seemingly an unrecoverable misadventure. In reality, most roads lead to failure and only after multiple attempts do entrepreneurs (and their companies) find a successful path. This does not mean that it is impossible to fail miserably–it is definitely possible to fail so stupendously that starting again feels impossible. In this session, serial entrepreneur Jonathan Siegel will share a story of success–through successive failures.

The Problem Is Not The Problem
Featuring Harry Max (Rackspace Vice President of Experience Design)
The greatest lesson Harry Max ever learned is this: he is a problem solver. Problem solvers look for (and often find) problems even when they don’t actually exist. Without a simple framework to help us categorize different kinds of problems, what tends to happen is that people try to “solve” problems or “fix” things they think are broken when they would be better served by first understanding the problem’s true nature. Rather than framing everything as a problem which, by definition, can be solved, it’s essential to sort problems into the right bucket because some problems don’t need to be solved, some get worse when we try to solve them, and others are simply too big to treat them as solvable.

Getting Your Startup Ready For An Acquisition
Featuring Chris Lalonde (Rackspace Senior Director of Product and ObjectRocket Co-Founder)
What kind of company makes a great acquisition? What are the buyers looking for, and what can start-ups and other enterprises do to make themselves more appealing to buyout? In this session, budding entrepreneurs and business leaders alike will get critical information to prepare them for what can be an exciting – and frightening – experience: the road to becoming acquisition ready.

Why Events & Twitter Should Be BFFs For B2B Brands
Featuring Andrea Michnik (Rackspace Social Media Marketer) and Lauren Scott (Twitter)
Five years ago, only a handful of brands stepped outside of the trade show grounds to host a special event at South by Southwest. Now, companies are duking it out to secure prime real estate in downtown Austin for interactive experiences, entertainment and, of course, food giveaways. The battle of the brands is here. How can B2B brands capture the attention of conference-goers? In this session, social media experts will explain how Rackspace used a small army of digital promoters and prime event space to make a splash at SXSW 2013.

Cloud Portability With Multi-Cloud Toolkits
Featuring Everett Toews (Rackspace Developer Advocate)
It’s a multi-cloud world, but your code needs to run somewhere. The tools you use to interact with the cloud will play a large part in how portable your code is between clouds. In this session, you’ll learn how to effectively use software development toolkits that operate across multiple clouds. You’ll see examples of multi-cloud toolkit code for Java (jclouds), Node.js (pkgcloud), Python (libcloud), and Ruby (fog).

Clubbing The Patent Trolls: How We Can Fight Back
Featuring Alan Schoenbaum (Rackspace Senior Vice President and General Counsel), Julie Samuels (Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents), Blake Farenthold (United States Congress), Michael Petricone (Consumer Electronics Association)
Innovators face a growing epidemic of litigation from so-called “patent trolls” – companies that do not make or produce products, but sue those who do. Once primarily a problem for large companies, today’s cost common patent troll targets are small startups that do not have significant resources or legal departments. This panel presents a leading Member of Congress along with innovators and public policy advocates discussing how we can protect ourselves from the patent lawsuit tsunami.
Why the Star Trek Computer is Not That Far Off
Featuring Robert Scoble (Rackspace Tech Evangelist) and Tim Tuttle (Expect Labs)
We are surrounded by powerful mobile computing devices that are Internet connected and aware of where and who we are, what we’re interested in, and in some cases what we’re saying and doing. So why on earth are we constantly searching for information on our phones? In this session, you’ll meet three companies that are actively working on new technology that will finally put an end to our searching. Known as anticipatory/contextual computing, these technologies pay attention to locations and actions, and proactively surface useful and relevant information just when we need it.

Leslie Saxon: Body Computing
Featuring Robert Scoble (Rackspace Tech Evangelist) and Leslie Saxon (Executive Director, USA Center for Body Computing)
Broadcasting live from Google Glass (if SXSW allows it), Robert Scoble and Dr. Leslie Saxon will explore what happens when networked humans dynamically connect to better control and manage their health, lifestyle, devices, machines, homes, climate and personal information. They will discuss how wireless and mobile devices–worn, and/or implanted in human bodies–may someday connect us to everything– from Dr. Jones to Dr Dre.

And be sure to check out our infographic Upping Our Marketing Game @ SXSW.

Leezia Dhalla was the Speakers Bureau Program Manager at Rackspace until 2015, where she was responsible for coordinating external speaking engagements and developing corporate messaging for senior leadership, software developers and key subject matter experts. graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science.


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