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Arriving in Austin: The Germans are already there

Germans love the "South-by"

Felicitas Hackmann I get to know about a WhatsApp group in which a few German participants network. We quickly made an appointment and I get a crash course in SXSW from Feli. This is her eighth time, and thus something of a South-by veteran who has a few good tips, not just for me. "So you were already in Austin before the entire German media filter bubble made the pilgrimage here," I say to her with very unironic appreciation.

I already have the feeling that I'm late to the party. After all, the tech, digital, film and music festival has long since developed into a Mecca for the domestic digital industry. More than 1,200 German visitors were here last year, reveals the website of the German Haus, the German representation in Austin for the duration of the SXSW. For this year, 861 German participants have already registered on the conference's networking platform. More foreign visitors come only from Brazil and Great Britain.

Big hello

A program awaits them that is as overwhelming as the skyscrapers in Austin, a few more of which tower up in the pulsating center every year, says Austin connoisseur Feli. Around 5,000 speakers speak over ten days in 29 themed tracks about things such as blockchain applications in the food industry, trends in e-sports, VR and AR or the requirements of modern cannabis users. There are also countless film and series premieres, concerts, parties and side events from corporations such as Microsoft, Daimler or LinkedIn. It is an insane spectrum that the Republica makes it look like a cozy, small barcamp.

I only wrote down two panels that I really want to see. There is once Roger NcNamee. The investor and mentor of Mark Zuckerberg accounts in his current book "Zucked" with Facebook. At South-by he wants to explain how the platform and its management have undermined not only the Internet, but also democracy in the USA and other countries.

Just let yourself drift

And then I have to do something good for the fanboy in me. He definitely doesn't want to miss Neil Gaiman. The fantasy and comic book legend ("Sandman", "American Gods") presents its new Amazon series "Good Omens" with great pomp. "Be there at least an hour in advance! Otherwise you won't be able to come in," says South-by expert Feli. Otherwise: Don't do too much, let yourself drift and just enjoy the atmosphere.

This is probably exactly the way to go, I think to myself as I cruise through Austin more and more relaxed on my e-scooter. After spending an hour in downtown, the first corners already feel familiar. The SXSW will also be such a tour of discovery for me, which I will probably be overwhelmed by at the beginning, but which I will hopefully find my way around quickly.