Vote for Acquia at SXSW 2018

Acquia has five sessions for SXSW Interactive featuring chatbots, machine learning, the decentralized web, digital government, and personalization.


It’s hard to believe that SXSW is upon us again. I mean, wasn’t I just in Austin, squeezing in a quick Torchy’s Tacos run between sessions at the JW Marriott? Ah, memories.

The thing about SXSW is that when you’re involved with planning and coordinating it for your company, you’re pretty much always talking about it. So even though SXSW is seven months away (conference dates are March 9-18), our work for the 2018 season is already heating up.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog. This week marks the beginning of community voting on the SXSW PanelPicker. Acquia has put forward five sessions for SXSW Interactive, each crafted with an eye toward the future -- you’ll see themes like chatbots, machine learning, the decentralized web, digital government, and personalization.

Community votes count for 30% of the selection formula, so if any of the talks sound like your cup of queso dip, please head to the PanelPicker and vote!

Starting the Internet All Over Again

On the web, all of the power seems consolidated with a few companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. Consumers are blindly exchanging personal data for services, with little regard for the long-term consequences. But there's a movement afoot to build a secondary portal to the web that relies on Blockchain technology to give users freedom over their data. Join pioneers of the first web and the second, decentralized web to discuss how we'll experience it all in the next 5 to 10 years.


  • Dries Buytaert, Acquia
  • Muneeb Ali, Blockstack
  • Andrei Sambra, Solid Project @ MIT
  • Joon Ian Wong, Quartz

Does Your Brand Speak for Itself?

Voice assistants and chatbots have taken the world by storm. But are you actually prepared for your brand to be conversation-friendly? Today’s organizations craft user experiences specifically for digital audiences accustomed to consuming fixed visual media. What happens whens brands need to engage with consumers in an evolving conversation, and via devices like Amazon Echo or chatbots? It’s time to become fluent in conversational UX—so your brand can speak for itself.


  • Preston So, Acquia
  • Deborah Harrison, Microsoft
  • Jana Eggers, Nara Logics
  • H. James Wilson, Accenture Research

United We Stand: The Case For Digital Government

2016 marked a year of dramatic political change. Yet, one commitment has managed to transcend party lines and a change in administration—the dire need to modernize government technology and digital services. Today, websites remain unresponsive, information is buried and many simple processes still require pen and paper. This panel of experts, from the left and the right, will address when, and how, governments can wake up to the digital demands of modern citizens.


  • Tom Cochran, Acquia
  • Ted Ross, City of Los Angeles
  • Dewand Neely, State of Indiana
  • Cecilia Kang, New York Times

How Brilliance Beats Bullsh*t in Machine Learning

Some companies that use machine learning capitalize on bullsh*t, convincing people to believe nonsensical claims about magical algorithms. However, real machine learning pioneers don’t rely on bullsh*t, but instead focus on what’s possible. With open source tools and high-quality algorithmic training data, we’re capable of solving many of the complex issues vexing today’s companies. Urging people to cut the bullsh*t, this session will reveal tangible ways machine learning can be used today.

Presenter: Katherine Bailey, Acquia

Truth, Lies & Content Strategy

What brands think they know about content strategy & personalization is a lie. They think content strategy is a sexy deliverable that will be the silver bullet to make personalization magically happen with the push of a button. Then are shocked when it fails. Content strategy doesn’t work. Content systems does. By taking an agile, systems-based approach to content, brands can regain control of narrative, understand their customers, & lay the foundation for true personalization.


  • Caitlin Checkett, Acquia
  • Leah Sand, VML
  • Christopher Wallen, VML

The voting is open from now until Friday, August 25.

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