Vote For These SXSW Panels!

September 1, 2014


SXSW is an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, TX.

SXSW allows anyone to submit proposals for panels and presentations for the conference, and these panels are put to a public vote using the PanelPicker.

There are thousands of panels available to vote for to be included in SXSW’s 2015 slate of programming (including two that we have!) But with so many panels to sift through, which ones are worth your vote?

Here are 10 panels we think would be awesome to see. Vote using the buttons below — voting ends on Friday, September 5, 2014 at 11:59pm Central Time!

Which panels do you want to see included at SXSW 2015? Let us know in the comments!

New Slaves: Creating influence, Not owning content

Black people are an influential & trend-setting culture. According Nielsen 67% of Whites & 62% of Latinos feel African-Americans set the trends in today’s modern culture. Politics & prejudice aside, multiculturalism is the new normal. African-American culture drives trends nationally & abroad. The irony of that influence is that black artists, entertainers, & athletes do not get recognition. Miley twerking, Robin blurring lines, & Kanyé West’s genius. We own the influence, but we don’t own the content, access, nor distribution channels.

Filmmaker Spike Lee is arguably the founding father of modern African-American influence. Speaking on gentrification on “Anderson Cooper 360,” Spike noted he’s not against new people moving into predominantly African-American areas “My problem is when you move into a neighborhood, have some respect for the history, the culture.” Dubbed Christopher Columbus Syndrome, this spawned humorous sketches on College Humor, & articles on VICE, NPR & HuffPo.

Vote for “New Slaves: Creating influence, Not owning content”


Black Superheroes: Black Coders Who Broke The Code

It’s rare that you see Black Superheroes in comic books. Even worse, it’s even more rare to see theme in the tech world, changing the world with their coding powers. This panel will explore the experiences of a few of these superheroes and discuss how they got their powers, as well as how others can acquire this same power.

Vote for “Black Superheroes: Black Coders Who Broke The Code”


Digital Diversity: Bicultural is the new majority

We are becoming an increasingly diverse nation. In the U.S. alone, there is a new majority of people in 7 of the nation’s 15 largest cities. The change in these cultural dynamics provides news opportunities for businesses. And coupled with the rapid acceleration of new online trends in every part of the world, marketers need new ways to connect with all of the people that matter. To understand the role culture plays in the lives of three major groups: Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and African Americans, Facebook and Ipsos Media CT have partnered together.

In this presentation our teams will illustrate how culture defines attitudes, new behaviors, and priorities which influences how people communicate online. We will also describe the expectations of multicultural consumers, plus explore how brands can engage with people in culturally relevant ways.

Vote for “Digital Diversity: Bicultural is the new majority”


Technology & Diversity Equality

We will discuss what are the challenges an obstacles facing leading technology companies in hiring more African American and Latino workers in entry level and executive leadership positions. Our session will provide the attendee lessons and mistakes from previous industries facing the same issue and identify ways to increase awareness to neglected communities. We will look at how workers looking to enter the technology industry can increase their portfolio and online reputation to be sought after influencers.

Vote for “Technology & Diversity Equality”


Diversifying the Tech Workforce: Impact at Scale

Every month, the tech industry adds about 9,600 jobs to the U.S. economy. By 2018, it will have added another 1.2 million new jobs, boasting an average salary of $78,000. But, women make up just 22% of the computing workforce, and Latino and African-American workers each make up less than 5%. Youth from underrepresented groups are in critical need of access to 21st Century skills for success. This panel, a follow-up from a successful 2014 SXSW panel, explores both the needs and the solutions to diversifying our U.S. tech workforce and building a tech pipeline. It will also include a discussion of how far we’ve come since last year and dive deeper into the question of bringing our respective efforts and impact to scale.

Vote for “Diversifying the Tech Workforce: Impact at Scale”


When Does “Culture” Become Bias?

Sometimes a company’s culture begins at its founding: a few friends, who hire more people they know and are comfortable with. Sometimes a company’s culture comes from its community: the people who use it. But at some point, what we call culture can become something else: we go drinking on weeknights (not parent-friendly); we are just a bunch of guys (not women friendly); we are just a bunch of people from Stanford… and so on. But studies show that the most successful companies have a diversity of viewpoints. The underside of hiring for culture is that many talented potential candidates are disqualified because they wouldn’t “fit in” with the company. At a certain point, fit trumps qualifications, and recruiters look for people with the same background and work style as the rest of the team. While this might make for a strong company culture, it limits diversity. This panel will examine the balance between recruiting for cultural fit and building a team of individuals based on talent.

Vote for “When Does “Culture” Become Bias?”


The Spook Who Sat In the Executive Suite

Diversity in the tech industry is a very popular topic. Often the solutions to repairing the problems of lack of minority representation in the tech industry focus on training younger people to participate in the industry– at some point in the future. The stories of the people of color who currently are– and have been for years– working in the industry are often left out of these discussions. An African American internet company CEO and several of his peers will speak about their experiences as executives in the technology sector in the US and abroad.

Vote for “The Spook Who Sat In the Executive Suite”


Breaking the BroCode – Tackling Brogrammer Culture

This session would be dedicated to those who feel as though there is not enough diversity in their companies or teams. There has been a shift in companies with start-up culture where offices are beginning to move from cubicle culture to mimicking colleges and fraternities. This culture can be off-putting to those who do not fit the mold (veteran in the field of not).

This session will be dedicated to ways to attack and address this cultural shift with focus on how to build better diversity programs within companies. Building a specific path and initiative dedicated to diversifying teams varies from building from the ground up, proposing ideas to upper management, proper recruiting techniques, improving company image and moral, redefining team dynamics and how to tackle various other levels of improvement.

Vote for “Breaking the BroCode – Tackling Brogrammer Culture”


Digital Diversity: Minority Women in EdTech

A digital divide still exists between female & male students. This gap is even larger in minority student populations. Evidence suggests that educational technologies can improve student achievement, so long as such tools are integrated thoughtfully into teaching and learning. This session is an open & honest discussion with four minority women in different educational technology leadership positions, sharing their journeys and personal missions of empowerment for improving education for all.

Vote for “Digital Diversity: Minority Women in EdTech”


Diversity: the best thing to happen to Creativity

Corporate America is shooting itself in the head by not making the most of the diverse resources at its disposal—the very diversity that could drive us all toward innovation and economic success. This is a critical business problem that’s plaguing every industry, including advertising. 
Kat Gordon, the founder of The 3% Conference, which is an event and community that champions female creative talent and leadership, has been touring the world speaking on this topic since 2012. She recently spoke eloquently on the subject at a One Show event during Creative Week in NYC this spring. In a SXSW talk, Kat will discuss the importance of building a business case for more diversity in creative and tech industries and beyond.

Vote for “Diversity: the best thing to happen to Creativity”
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