This is Part 2 of a 2-Part Series on SXSW 2018

Get the full SXSW Innovation week ‘s report by reading Part 1 here.

At this point in the festival, you could say my head was spinning right round, faster than a … what was that big, black musical disc called from the 70 ‘s? Oh yeah, a record. But after being privy to the biggest tech trends before they launched made me feel like I had secret superpowers and we were only halfway through SXSW 2018. I forged ahead, determined to up my innovation IQ even further and tell-all to my Woz U crew. Watch out, here I come!

Day 4 of SXSW 2018:

Virtual Culture - SXSW 2018 - Woz U

Brian and Shannon Miles of BELAY describe their award-winning virtual culture

2018 Viral Culture: The Way We Work Doesn ‘t Work Anymore

We watch online, we learn online, it would make sense that we all work online, too.

But why is it so hard to go remote in our work? What are some great jobs you can get if you want to work from home? The cofounders of virtual remote work company, BELAY,

Brian and Shannon Miles

speak about why and how to find virtual work. They would know–their unique virtual culture earned them the No.1 spot for Top Company Culture with Entrepreneur Magazine in 2017.

Session Takeaways:

What are your values?

Before deciding any new employment venture, ask yourself what ‘s most important to you. If family is a top value for you, for example, you will want to make sure your next employer has flexible work hours and an inclusive healthcare plan. Talk things over with your loved ones so that you are aligned.

The perks of virtual work

Some of the benefits of working remotely include the following:

  • Freedom – work from your couch, coffee shop, or coworking space
  • Autonomy – you control your physical office environment and no one is looking over your shoulder to see if you ‘re on task
  • Productivity – Though this will vary from person-to-person, no one popping into your cubicle or lengthy chats in the company kitchen mean you may have less distractions day-to-day
  • Less stress – say goodbye to rush-hour road rage!
The best virtual jobs

Positions that are well-suited for remote work include (but are not limited to the following):

  • Webmasters
  • Product manager
  • Virtual assistants
How to find great virtual work

BELAY has some if you are a virtual assistant, bookkeeper, webmaster or content manager, but my take is that Indeed or Upwork are great places to look, too. If you are a student, there should be a career services department that can help you make connections like Woz U. Our students also get access to a mentor to help them with technical interviews, ramping up their portfolios, and even an entire platform that helps them connect to employers virtually, called Connect.

Day 5 of SXSW 2018:

Women in tech take a snapshot on stage - SXSW 2018

Women in tech take a snapshot on stage – SXSW 2018

How Does VR Become a Truly Mainstream Technology?

Virtual Reality or VR is defined as the computer-generated simulation of a 3D image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special equipment, most commonly a headset.

There was a lot of hype around VR a few years back and a few early adopters jumped on board creating content, buying headsets and equipment and playing games on an entirely new level. However, it is going to take more than a bunch of big brands jumping on the VR bandwagon to get it into the hands (and eyes and minds) of millions.


Maureen Fan – Baobab Studios

Miles Perkins – Jaunt VR

Yelena Rachitsky – Oculus

Daniel Terdiman – Moderator – Fast Company

Session Takeaways:

Tales from the trough

The hype struggle is real and panelists referenced Gartner ‘s Emerging Technology Hype Cycle in which they felt that VR had surpassed the peak of inflated expectations into the “trough of disillusionment.”

The panelists know they will be on an upward slope in a few years yet, but until then, Miles Perkins, a VR communications and PR pro, says the industry needs 3 key conditions to be met to be adopted by the masses.

  • Toolset for creators – that help creatives build great content faster
  • Frictionless distribution – platforms that help creators share and consumers share and shop for experiences
  • An audience – A proven community of consumers that has demonstrated consistent willingness to pay to play and tell their friends
VR for All

With Oculus headsets starting at $199, the top-of-the-line equipment isn ‘t exactly for beginner VR gamers on a budget. However, you can get cardboard VR set for your phone for $2. Or free while supplies last if you visit Woz U at the Art Institute. After you get your setup, there are a lot of VR games, stories, and even educational-based experiences that you can find on the App store.

Creating Your Reality

Panelists agree that there is a lot of opportunity for more polished productions on the market but that should not stop creators from making. Great content and storytelling tops top-of-the-line production quality every time. Unity is the most popular platform for creating VR content and uses C# scripting as its language, which is offered in Woz U ‘s full-stack software developer program.

Day 6 of SXSW 2018:

AI Pro Panelists Elodie Mailliet, Christoph Auer-Welsbach and Nicole McDonald

AI Pro Panelists Elodie Mailliet, Christoph Auer-Welsbach and Nicole McDonald

Will AI Change the Future of Creativity?

AI and machine learning are being applied to creative fields like art, photography, music, video and more. AI is writing songs, curating exhibitions, designing buildings, and more. How will AI change the creative process? Can a machine be a creative, or aid to the work of creatives? Join representatives from both the Art and AI community for a discussion around the future of creativity.


Christoph Auer-Welsbach – IBM, City Ai Foundation

Elodie Mailliet – Getty Images

Nicole McDonald – Marry the Moon

Mike Butcher Р Moderator РTechCrunch

Session Takeaways:

“AI is a tool that helps us be more creative.”


- Christoph Auer-Welsbach

95% of creative work is non-creative work, so with AI making that work easier or unnecessary, it frees the creative to do what they do best.

“I can ‘t make what I want without a computer helping me.”

– Nicole McDonald

Nicole is an interactive filmmaker at Marry the Moon, a ‚Äòpioneer ‘ in the storytelling space using technology. These days, if you are an innovator, you need to be able to use technology as a platform to do more. Engage more with the consumer, reach new and bigger audiences, and make more dynamic and interesting content.

“When will AI start taking our jobs?”

– Mike Butcher

At least at this point, there is not really a fear of the machines creating better than us. If anything, AI will create more jobs, because more people can be creative. Our jobs will inevitably change in the future, and chances are they will be more creative and tech-based roles to help continue to build upon what our predecessors have built. If anything, AI will be helping more people get the skills to fill the gaps in employment as our future job needs evolve.

SXSW 2018 in Review

As I think about the sessions I attended in the Intelligent Future track during SXSW Interactive 2018, I can ‘t help but be excited for what is on the horizon. There are more ways than ever to interact with and learn more about the tech platform alphabet from AI and ML to VR. And there are more organizations, large and lean, that are raising up and calling out for passionate and confidently curious people that want to create impact from day 1. Thanks for coming with me on my SXSW 2018 journey and I am thankful to be reporting from Woz U where we are helping lifelong creators make an impact fast and keeping their skills forever fresh with Woz for Life.

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