You should go to South By Southwest.

Wow, what a week.

When I told most people that my employer was sending me to SXSW, they were confused: "Your job is sending you to a music festival?"

Technically, yes. But they're also sending me to a comedy festival. And a film festival. And a tech conference. And a marketing conference. And a product conference. And a healthcare conference. Yeah - it's everything, and everybody who's anybody is there.

Here's their tagline:

Featuring a variety of tracks that allow attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology, SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.

It's true. It's all true. If you're reading this, go next year.

My experience was no exception. In just one week, I did the following:

  • Networked with fellow Temple Alumni
  • Attended a discussion with Michael Dell about Healthcare Innovation
  • Represented Philadelphia at the Amplify Philly House
    • This one deserves a post in itself. What an effort. Kudos to Dave Silver & team.
  • Learned from Cisco about End-to-end encryption
  • Discovered how companies are applying blockchain to healthcare
  • Met several high-profile podcasters, who have since taken me under their wing
  • Gained perspective on diversity and inclusivity from Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd
  • Saw music performances from DJ Jazzy Jeff, Khalid, and Billie Eilish, among others
  • Laughed at a comedy performance with Nick Offerman, Jim Gaffigan, and Adam Pally
  • Ate the best BBQ and tacos Austin has to offer

None of this would matter if not for the amazing relationships that began that week. I think I connected with more Philadelphians in Austin, TX in 7 days than in my last 8 years in Philly.

I thank my company, Cigna, for providing me with such an enriching professional and personal experience, and I can't wait to develop and share these inspirations with the world.

Now, off to a week in Colombia!