SXSW – South by Southwest

Amanda Schneider
March 8, 2023 – 11:15 am

Since 2016, the Brazilian presence at South by Southwest has always been very significant. In 2019, Brazil had the largest foreign delegation accredited to the event. Around 1,600 Brazilians attended the festival then. With the return of the face-to-face SXSW in 2022, after the easing of pandemic-induced restrictions, the Brazilian delegation lost its position as the largest outside the United States.

Brazil is the largest accredited foreign delegation to SXSW 2023 to date (Credit: Amy E. Price/GettyImages)

Despite this, a few days before the start of South by Southwest 2023, the number of Brazilians at the festival is already equal to that of 2019. According to Tracy Mann, responsible for the area of ​​international business development for Brazil at SXSW, the country has the largest foreign delegation this year so far. “The difference compared to the United Kingdom, which is second, is very big. The difference is 500 tickets”, he emphasizes.

In addition to the Brazilian member of the jury, the festival also brought Brazil to the stages of its lectures. In all, SXSW 2023 will have 22 panels featuring Brazilians and five mentors from the country. Paula Englert, CEO of Box1824, for example, will lead the panel “How to decode culture to build a better future”, together with Patricia Muratori, director of YouTube Brazil, and Talita Andrade, head of communications at Michelob Ultra.

Carla Tieppo, PhD with a focus on neuropsychopharmacology at USP and professor at Singularity University Brazil, will also be leading a panel at South by Southwest this year. “Olympic Games in Paris, a neuroscience experiment”, as the name suggests, will be a neuroscience experiment that will measure people’s engagement with the event as they participate in it, in order to assess whether the actions with the audience are successful. be really effective.


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For this, the doctor will bring wristbands to her lecture in which the results of biological data, such as blood pressure, heart rate, skin perspiration, changes in blood flow in the face, reading facial expressions, will be read by software developed by the team of Dr. Paul Zack, an American neuroscientist, who studies what experiences captivate people.

The experiment will begin in the SXSW audience, but the idea is to schedule it for the Paris Olympics, which will be held in 2024. That’s because, according to the researcher, the Paris Olympics will have two big challenges: getting Parisians involved in the Games and connecting tourists with the Parisians themselves.

SXSW will also present other big names on its stages, such as the influencer and owner of the channel Me Poupe!, Nathalie Arcuri; CEO of Hotmart, João Pedro Resende; CEO of Gerando Falcões, Edu Lyra; Gerdau’s Head of Global Social Responsibility Paulo Boneff; Unico’s Head of Technology, Yasodara Cordova; the Secretary General of the Government of Goiás, Adriano da Rocha; President of the Israelita Albert Einstein Hospital, Dr. Sidney Kleiner; Bruno Senna, racing driver and nephew of Ayrton Senna; and Co-CEO, Eve Air Mobility, André Stein.

Paula Englert, CEO of Box1824, understands that the festival wants to have more Brazilian speakers, as it is looking for more and more cultural diversity in its program, as well as the relevance of the country. “Brazil is a huge country, it is among the 20 largest economies in the world, it is a country of enormous consumer power. So you can’t ignore the economics of that size. Many innovations are also born here”.


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there are still barriers

On the other hand, there are still several obstacles that prevent a greater participation of Brazilians in the panels. The major is English, according to Marcelo Ribas, a learning consultant at Google, who has lived in Austin for 17 years and has been going to SXSW since 2006. “While many Brazilians are good at traveling, there are few Brazilian leaders who manage to deliver an engaging presentation in English. It hurts us a lot when participating in the festival selection”.

Another obstacle is financial. South by Southwest continues to be an event that is financially out of reach for the majority of the Brazilian population — this year’s credential is the most expensive ever, costing nearly $2,000. Ribas himself will not come to this year’s event for financial reasons. “Even for us who live here, the credential is very expensive.” On the other hand, Google’s learning consultant points out that the good thing about festivals is that a lot of important things happen outside the conference halls.

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Itaú as sponsor

With the goal of democratizing the sea of ​​content discussed at the event, Itaú joined as one of the main sponsors. The sponsorship includes three moves: activations directly in Austin; the online repercussions of what happens there; and post-event content, curated and analyzed by bank-affiliated professionals on what was said during the festival.

Itaú’s institutional marketing supervisor, Renato Haramura, explains that the bank’s main purpose in investing in the event is to bring and democratize the information created and discussed to Brazilians. “We’re not sponsoring an event, we’re sponsoring this outpouring of ideas and innovative trends happening there and democratizing it and bringing it here, for everyone.” The sponsorship contract foresees a multi-year period, but, according to Haramura, the bank is still waiting for it as a test year for participation.

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