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#HelloHighlights: SXSW In 11 Photos

With the encouragement of infographic design agency, NowSourcing's President and Founder Brian Wallace, I found myself applying to lead mentor sessions at this year's South by Southwest (SXSW (or as the locals simply say, "South by")). Thanks to a supportive community, my submission was accepted and I subsequently spent a week at the music, film and interactive festival held annually in Austin, Texas. What a fantastic experience (Even if my Asian Tiger Parents didn't express any excitement until they heard that Tesla's Elon Musk was there)! My highlights below:

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Howdy! Hi! :)

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

My mentor sessions were held on 13 March in Salon 8 of the JW Marriott Hotel. I offered to speak on TABLES: Technology | Academia | Business | Leadership | Entrepreneurship | Strategy plus the topics I will cover in my upcoming book, The Clover Canal Principles: Strategies for Emerging Entrepreneurs to Cultivate Favorable Opportunities in Ever-Evolving Landscapes of Unprecedented & Inevitable Change.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

First things, first -- I had to take my friend out for a birthday celebration after my plane landed. On our way from dinner to her car, I spotted a working bitcoin machine! I'd never seen one before, despite going to hundreds of tech events in Manhattan and speaking at Microsoft last month on a blockchain panel moderated by Former Obama Administration Presidential appointee and Founder of #TheClevolution, Cleve Mesidor. My adventure was definitely starting on the right note! #DorkyTourist

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

Since the massive festival is historically rooted in music, I would have felt remiss not attending any musical performances (and collecting wrist candy for Instagram shots). I didn't go to many, but I was drawn to Lucy Dacus' sultry voice while she sang at FloodFest in Cedar Courtyard while I walked along 4th Street to the convention center.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

Given its wide range of fun activities (and food!), I spent a disproportionate amount of time at the Dell Experience. My team won the spirit award during small business Bingo thanks to the undeniable energy of Smart Hustle Magazine's Editor & Founder Ramon Ray. A day later, I attended the Fashion + Tech brunch featuring Dell Principal Designer, Nicola Honeycutt as well as Forbes 30 under 30 Create + Cultivate Founder Jaclyn R. Johnson. We discussed the acceleration of fashion to market; where a designer's creativity ends and where technology begins; being forced to give up perfection because of the expectation for immediacy; and how unpredictability has become the new normal.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

Across the street from the Dell Experience, Kuka's dancing robot Rotanza provided endless entertainment on the trade show floor of the convention center. Between dances, the automated solution used its monitor to present information on innovative technologies transforming the way companies manufacture and market products.

Lampix / Via Private Collection

I was very eager to learn more about interactive surface developer Lampix, which won the augmented and virtual reality category in last year's SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event. The smart interactive projector and camera system uses computer vision and high definition video to project an augmented reality interface onto any physical surface without glasses or other peripherals. Use-case examples include scanning documents to cloud storage, as well as real-time live-streaming collaboration between multiple contributors drawing on the same space. This year, Lampix VP of Marketing Gordon Meyer joined James Beard-winning chef Gabriele Corcos and Marketing New Realities author Cathy Hackl on the SXSW stage to discuss Sizzle: VR/AR for Cuisine, Content, and Commerce. In the photo, virtual reality pioneer Tony Parisi is using Lampix in game mode.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

Speaking of games, I was overly entertained by the Exploding Kittens exhibit in the gaming expo. Its human-powered vending machine meant that $1 might buy any number of surprises including an ear of corn or a novelty item of clothing.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

But, returning to the theme of disruptive technology, I discovered the Vision Van created at Mercedes Benz. Displayed in Palm Park, the futuristic self-driving van designed by the luxury German automaker explores the concept of mobile distribution centers equipped with drones.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

If I wasn't overstimulated already, #SXSWisconsin offered me a taste of over 2,000 pounds of 100+ types of cheese from over 50 cheese makers in Wisconsin. YUM!!! I ate from the history-making world's longest cheeseboard, over 70 feet long. As they suggested, "I like big boards and I cannot lie." Truth.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

With a belly full of cheese, I serendipitously met Austin entrepreneur Rubén Cantú (left) while Peace Corps alumna Vicky Pridgen (right) and I attempted to do our evening mitzvah. In four years, Rubén helped Austin + Social Good (now known as socialgood.us) create the first ever social impact accelerator in Austin, which took 20 companies through its program and awarded over 20k in funds. In 2016, the Austin Young Chamber named him a Changemaker finalist. This year, Rubén and his team launched the very first all-black female Startup pitch competition at SXSW called PitchBlack, and gave away $12.5K in award money.

Lisa Chau / Via Private Collection

All play and more play makes Lisa a happy girl. If you can attend SXSW, do so!

I'm already thinking about my application for next year. In the meanwhile, I'm speaking with StartUp Bus alumna Colleen Wong about joining next month's StartupBus exclusively for women⁺ and gender non-conforming folks leveraging blockchain technology. Stay tuned for more of my adventures! :) #HelloHighlights

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