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Recorded on: 
December 20, 2021

EventProfsCast: Full Interview with Hugh Forrest, SXSW

"In this video, Hubilo's Senior Director of Social + Broadcast Media, Rachel Moore interviews Hugh Forest, the Chief Programming Officer and Director of SXSW (South by South West) about how he and his team cultivate content for the events. The guest even shared some insights on how they execute one of the largest in-person conferences on the globe, and how they develop buzz and community all year long, with the SXSW Panel Picker. Through this interview, we have covered -

• Information about SXSW

• Importance of content for any events

• A perspective of the event industry and how to foresee virtual & hybrid events

• Lessons learned from mistakes made during an event

• What’s going on with Boston Red SOX"

Host
Rachel Moore
Senior Director of Content & Community, Hubilo

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Guest Speaker
Hugh Forrest
Chief Programming Officer of SXSW

Hugh Forrest is the Chief Programming Officer and the Director of South by Southwest Interactive. Scheduled usually in March in Austin, this event has become one of the main showcases worldwide for the latest tendencies in new technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship. It brings together more than 50,000 industry creatives from across the United States and the rest of the world for five days of debates, presentations, brainstorming, networking, the creation of start-ups thanks to an accelerator, and entertainment. In addition to his work at SXSW, he has previously served on of the National Advisory Board for the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is currently part of the Board of Directors for Austin Habitat for Humanity, as well as a trustee for the Austin Awesome Foundation.

Video Content

South by Southwest
00:00 - 01:40

Event Planning
01:40 - 20:50

Perspectives about the industry
20:50 - 39:16

Transcript

Rachel Moore:  Thank you everybody for joining  the show. This week's guest this episode we decided to bring in a person who is involved with  an event, you may or may not have heard of, you probably have um it's called South by Southwest  and it is held annually in austin texas. And our guest today is the chief programming officer and he's also the Director of South by Southwest Interactive. And for those of you who have not checked out South by Southwest. Uh it's a very large event and has multiple facets to it. One of which  which my personal favorite, I'm not ashamed to say is Interactive,  but um he is the director and chief programming officer there, he's also a boston red sox fan. So I want to put that up front in case all of you need to kind of mentally adjust. Um that's perfectly fine and apparently really digs reading as well as sleeping, which I do as well, but only when he's not doing all of the other things. I'm really happy to welcome Hugh forrest to our podcast and show today Hugh, welcome and thank you for joining us.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's great to be here.

SUBTOPIC: The Chief Programming Officer of South by Southwest... 00:00:00-00:01:07

Rachel Moore:  Thank you everybody for joining  the show. This week's guest this episode we decided to bring in a person who is involved with  an event, you may or may not have heard of, you probably have um it's called South by Southwest  and it is held annually in austin texas. And our guest today is the chief programming officer and he's also the Director of South by Southwest Interactive. And for those of you who have not checked out South by Southwest. Uh it's a very large event and has multiple facets to it. One of which  which my personal favorite, I'm not ashamed to say is Interactive,  but um he is the director and chief programming officer there, he's also a boston red sox fan. So I want to put that up front in case all of you need to kind of mentally adjust. Um that's perfectly fine and apparently really digs reading as well as sleeping, which I do as well, but only when he's not doing all of the other things. I'm really happy to welcome Hugh forrest to our podcast and show today Hugh, welcome and thank you for joining us.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's great to be here.

SUBTOPIC: The Boston Red Sox 00:01:07-00:01:39

Hugh Forrest:  So we're going to talk for a few minutes about the  boston red sox

Rachel Moore:  uh we can acquisitions if you want to go that direction. I'm gonna be honest. I don't follow baseball. So really you've got a rapt audience right here on the screen. How are you feeling about the last part of the interview? Okay,

SUBTOPIC: The Boston Red Sox 00:01:07-00:01:39

Hugh Forrest:  So we're going to talk for a few minutes about the  boston red sox

Rachel Moore:  uh we can acquisitions if you want to go that direction. I'm gonna be honest. I don't follow baseball. So really you've got a rapt audience right here on the screen. How are you feeling about the last part of the interview? Okay,


TOPIC: The Chief Programming Officer ... 00:00:00-00:01:39

SUBTOPIC: Hugh Forrest of South by Southwest 00:00:00-00:01:07

Rachel Moore:  Thank you everybody for joining  the show. This week's guest this episode we decided to bring in a person who is involved with  an event, you may or may not have heard of, you probably have um it's called South by Southwest  and it is held annually in austin texas. And our guest today is the chief programming officer and he's also the Director of South by Southwest Interactive. And for those of you who have not checked out South by Southwest. Uh it's a very large event and has multiple facets to it. One of which  which my personal favorite, I'm not ashamed to say is Interactive,  but um he is the director and chief programming officer there, he's also a boston red sox fan. So I want to put that up front in case all of you need to kind of mentally adjust. Um that's perfectly fine and apparently really digs reading as well as sleeping, which I do as well, but only when he's not doing all of the other things. I'm really happy to welcome Hugh forrest to our podcast and show today Hugh, welcome and thank you for joining us.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's great to be here.

SUBTOPIC: The Chief Programming Officer of South by Southwest... 00:00:00-00:01:07

Rachel Moore:  Thank you everybody for joining  the show. This week's guest this episode we decided to bring in a person who is involved with  an event, you may or may not have heard of, you probably have um it's called South by Southwest  and it is held annually in austin texas. And our guest today is the chief programming officer and he's also the Director of South by Southwest Interactive. And for those of you who have not checked out South by Southwest. Uh it's a very large event and has multiple facets to it. One of which  which my personal favorite, I'm not ashamed to say is Interactive,  but um he is the director and chief programming officer there, he's also a boston red sox fan. So I want to put that up front in case all of you need to kind of mentally adjust. Um that's perfectly fine and apparently really digs reading as well as sleeping, which I do as well, but only when he's not doing all of the other things. I'm really happy to welcome Hugh forrest to our podcast and show today Hugh, welcome and thank you for joining us.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's great to be here.

SUBTOPIC: The Boston Red Sox 00:01:07-00:01:39

Hugh Forrest:  So we're going to talk for a few minutes about the  boston red sox

Rachel Moore:  uh we can acquisitions if you want to go that direction. I'm gonna be honest. I don't follow baseball. So really you've got a rapt audience right here on the screen. How are you feeling about the last part of the interview? Okay,

SUBTOPIC: The Boston Red Sox 00:01:07-00:01:39

Hugh Forrest:  So we're going to talk for a few minutes about the  boston red sox

Rachel Moore:  uh we can acquisitions if you want to go that direction. I'm gonna be honest. I don't follow baseball. So really you've got a rapt audience right here on the screen. How are you feeling about the last part of the interview? Okay,


TOPIC: Crowdsourcing for Event Planning 00:01:39-00:20:49

SUBTOPIC: South by Southwest Interactive 00:01:39-00:05:36

Rachel Moore:  give me a great  idea sometimes of all the things you do. Can you describe for us, what does it mean that you're the chief programming officer and Director of South by South Southwest Interactive? What does that mean?

Hugh Forrest:  Uh It is a fancy title but  uh  that means I'm sure like a lot of the  audience out there, I answer a lot of emails or  avoid answering a lot of  emails, but um a little more  seriously or directly,  I oversee all the  content. We  do at South by  Southwest. Um  and by overseeing by content, I  mean all that we do from a from  panels,  presentations, keynotes,  uh  called mentor  sessions meetups,  everything that  um is conference  related. I  also oversee  the the music festival, which brings together somewhere in the neighborhood of  1000 or 2000 bands from all over the U. S. And all over the world Austin  as well as the film festival, which is this  vibrant showcase  of up  and coming filmmakers as  well as as  more established Hollywood uh industry folks and  um oversee  the comedy festival. And we also do a  event called South by  Southwest E bu that I oversee also,  but oversee  is, you know, very broad word that means  um  I have  people who are very good at those jobs who are much more managing the details. I'm a little  more focused  um day to day on the conference aspect of the event um  sessions.  Again, he knows featured  speakers, the kind of people that we want to  bring to the  audience up and  comers, established industry  folks, people who  will  inspire  our community with  new information  um with new visions of the future,  with revised  visions of the future, with analysis of the past, with  information about  new technology, about new  trends, all of those kinds of  things, so that's where I do most of my day to day work. Um but again, oversee a very talented staff that that manages a lot of these details in a lot better ways than I can,

Rachel Moore:  so you're not busy  is what you're trying to say, you really need more  stuff to do.

Hugh Forrest:  Uh you know, again, like a lot of us um  I can work  mhm.  Many  more hours a  day and I still wouldn't  get everything done.  Um the key  is always to try  to  work smarter,  not longer and  as long as I tell myself  that I hope that I'll eventually figure out what that means, right?

Rachel Moore:  I think yeah, I I can relate, I feel like we're all writing that book right, where it's like once I I land  on the the key  or the  fix all for all of  us having more time in the day and  getting everything done that we need  to then  they won't need to work  anymore because they'll have  you know, hit upon the thing everybody wants.  Um Yeah, so  alright you talked about just now overseeing all the content and I know our audience  of  event planners  out there and you know  as you and I talked offline  a bit  um we've got event planners and coordinators and even people who are  are putting on and  hosting these events are asking  them to be put on um run the gamut.  They can be very small and very focused or  they can be very large. Um  south by southwest  really quick. Uh  How many  people on average do you say attend the conference every year?

SUBTOPIC: South by South Southwest Interactive 00:01:39-00:05:36

Rachel Moore:  give me a great  idea sometimes of all the things you do. Can you describe for us, what does it mean that you're the chief programming officer and Director of South by South Southwest Interactive? What does that mean?

Hugh Forrest:  Uh It is a fancy title but  uh  that means I'm sure like a lot of the  audience out there, I answer a lot of emails or  avoid answering a lot of  emails, but um a little more  seriously or directly,  I oversee all the  content. We  do at South by  Southwest. Um  and by overseeing by content, I  mean all that we do from a from  panels,  presentations, keynotes,  uh  called mentor  sessions meetups,  everything that  um is conference  related. I  also oversee  the the music festival, which brings together somewhere in the neighborhood of  1000 or 2000 bands from all over the U. S. And all over the world Austin  as well as the film festival, which is this  vibrant showcase  of up  and coming filmmakers as  well as as  more established Hollywood uh industry folks and  um oversee  the comedy festival. And we also do a  event called South by  Southwest E bu that I oversee also,  but oversee  is, you know, very broad word that means  um  I have  people who are very good at those jobs who are much more managing the details. I'm a little  more focused  um day to day on the conference aspect of the event um  sessions.  Again, he knows featured  speakers, the kind of people that we want to  bring to the  audience up and  comers, established industry  folks, people who  will  inspire  our community with  new information  um with new visions of the future,  with revised  visions of the future, with analysis of the past, with  information about  new technology, about new  trends, all of those kinds of  things, so that's where I do most of my day to day work. Um but again, oversee a very talented staff that that manages a lot of these details in a lot better ways than I can,

Rachel Moore:  so you're not busy  is what you're trying to say, you really need more  stuff to do.

Hugh Forrest:  Uh you know, again, like a lot of us um  I can work  mhm.  Many  more hours a  day and I still wouldn't  get everything done.  Um the key  is always to try  to  work smarter,  not longer and  as long as I tell myself  that I hope that I'll eventually figure out what that means, right?

Rachel Moore:  I think yeah, I I can relate, I feel like we're all writing that book right, where it's like once I I land  on the the key  or the  fix all for all of  us having more time in the day and  getting everything done that we need  to then  they won't need to work  anymore because they'll have  you know, hit upon the thing everybody wants.  Um Yeah, so  alright you talked about just now overseeing all the content and I know our audience  of  event planners  out there and you know  as you and I talked offline  a bit  um we've got event planners and coordinators and even people who are  are putting on and  hosting these events are asking  them to be put on um run the gamut.  They can be very small and very focused or  they can be very large. Um  south by southwest  really quick. Uh  How many  people on average do you say attend the conference every year?

SUBTOPIC: Our Last Real-World Event 00:05:37-00:08:16

Hugh Forrest:  Well our last real world event which is 2019, we had about um  50,000 total badge holders over the space of our  14 days, luckily we never had all those people in one place at one  time. Um  It's you know there there there's a small percentage of people who who stay for a week, most are coming in for three or four days or attending for three or four days. Um These are these are these are people from  all over the U. S. And all over the world  and uh you know that the the event has changed and morphed a lot in the 30 years that I've been here. We started off as a  entirely focused on music. We now  still cover music, we cover film, we cover technology, we cover food, we cover fashion, we cover  government and  politics, we cover cannabis, we cover transportation, we cover all these different verticals.  um but as much as the event has changed in that 30 years in terms of areas of coverage, the  bottom line, I think I hope is still the same.  Uh and that we that we bring very very creative people together um give them opportunities to connect with other creative people um and uh give them  opportunities to advance  their career.  Um you know, a little bit of back to the original part of your question uh 50,000 badges. There's a lot of badges um ah  that may be  Smalling than some of the events that that your audience does. That maybe bigger. Um it's where we've kind of landed on after 30 years. I'm  a firm  believer in  quality over quantity and I don't think that the size of the event particularly makes that  much difference in  terms of the quality.  It's about um what we all do or trying to do  is is, you  know, create platforms that bring  people together  in meaningful ways. Um  and again, the size  is the size  gets me to to be invited to speak on cool podcast like this one. But again, there are lots of incredible incredible  events that are  smaller, lots that are bigger. And ultimately  it's  more about what  you do with the with your

SUBTOPIC: 50,000 Badges 00:05:37-00:07:14

Hugh Forrest:  Well our last real world event which is 2019, we had about um  50,000 total badge holders over the space of our  14 days, luckily we never had all those people in one place at one  time. Um  It's you know there there there's a small percentage of people who who stay for a week, most are coming in for three or four days or attending for three or four days. Um These are these are these are people from  all over the U. S. And all over the world  and uh you know that the the event has changed and morphed a lot in the 30 years that I've been here. We started off as a  entirely focused on music. We now  still cover music, we cover film, we cover technology, we cover food, we cover fashion, we cover  government and  politics, we cover cannabis, we cover transportation, we cover all these different verticals.  um but as much as the event has changed in that 30 years in terms of areas of coverage, the  bottom line, I think I hope is still the same.  Uh and that we that we bring very very creative people together um give them opportunities to connect with other creative people um and uh give them  opportunities to advance  their career.

SUBTOPIC: Is There a Bigger Difference in Conference Content... 00:07:14-00:14:37

Hugh Forrest:  that may be  Smalling than some of the events that that your audience does. That maybe bigger. Um it's where we've kind of landed on after 30 years. I'm  a firm  believer in  quality over quantity and I don't think that the size of the event particularly makes that  much difference in  terms of the quality.  It's about um what we all do or trying to do  is is, you  know, create platforms that bring  people together  in meaningful ways. Um  and again, the size  is the size  gets me to to be invited to speak on cool podcast like this one. But again, there are lots of incredible incredible  events that are  smaller, lots that are bigger. And ultimately  it's  more about what  you do with the with your  platform than than how big the platform is.

Rachel Moore:  I completely agree.  And and I'm I'm sure a lot of our audience is nodding to saying  that's right, you know, because you can  you can have such meaningful  um outcomes,  uh but particularly when you're planning  it  and  I, so I want  to ask you because  and you  know, someone who has in the past, in the past, I have submitted panel pickers. Um I know there's like, there's online groups out there who are trying to, like, work together to like, how do we, you know,  get our proposals  together. And I'm talking  mostly about the content that you're, you're  you're assessing so uh for those of for those who  don't know, um  can you, it is a  panel picker um  process where people submit ideas and  then your team and also the voting community  assesses them. Is that right? Where that's how you are bringing in new content ideas?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah. In terms of conference content, we've had a system for roughly 15 years which is a, you know, kind of an application system that is similar in some ways to what a lot of events used,  it is simply a way  for us to  improve the process. Um and I feel like  while  we want to focus on creativity with our events, ultimately, so much of what we do is process and how to improve that process  and you know,  before we had this  system, what I had  found was that um,  inevitably the  best content that we had for our  event was  other people who had  really good ideas.  Um but in  heavily I would get, you know, so many of these ideas in  mid  february when our event is in March and there  was really no way  to  process  all those ideas just  from bandwidth standpoint.  So we created a  system where  people are encouraged to  enter speaking  ideas in,  in the summer,  in late june early july  yeah,  there  are certainly a  lot of flaws with this  system, but  there are a lot of  pluses. Uh it shows  our focus on  community and I  firmly believe that what  we do is South by southwest  is less about  me or any of the other people who work at South by southwest and  more about the community.  It allowed us to, this panel  picker process allowed us  to expand into a lot  of these other verticals.  It allowed us to  also create  buzz about the event  six months before  the event at a time  when  we were  previously, you know, no one was really thinking about South by southwest and  you know,  certainly what I've  always found is the sooner you  can create some  significant buzz for your event, the, you  know, the higher the  buzz ends up when  the event  actually begins, So again, that was a big part of our  I  think growth trajectory um and  a little more detail on this panel picker process will  at this point get,  you know, somewhere between  3000 and 5000 speaking proposals from  very, very creative people from all over the world. We end up  accepting  probably between five  107  100 of these events, so it's very, very competitive.  Uh the competition is always a good thing, it again  also, you  know, gives us a glimpse into what our community is thinking about um and often that can be, you know, can be a window that we didn't previously have. So  you know, I firmly believe that the more you can  communicate with  your audience with your attendees, they often understand your event better than you do.  Um the stronger you  are,  I'm not very  good at remembering  remembering quotes, I wish I was, I'm not the one that I,  the one that I can  remember really well, because  it's three words is  a  quote  from a book called  the clue train manifesto, which came out around 2000, it was kind of an early internet  bible and the quote there is,  markets are conversations and um I always try to  remember that, I always try to  talk to my staff about that, that again, the more that we can communicate converse with our audience, the more we can understand them,  the more we can demonstrate that we're humans not some kind of bot at the other end, the more community, we create, the more  buzz we  create, the more interest,  the more goodwill,  the more good outcomes we have and the panel  picker is  simply one more,  one More, you know, weapon in that  arsenal  to accomplish that task.

Rachel Moore:  It's the way you've  described it,  it's a great idea  honestly. And even if it does have, you know, like  you said, every process has  its own flaws, nothing is  perfect. But  you're talking about,  I mean, it really  does foster, even again, by the  process I just mentioned  earlier,  people do collaborate  together to try to put their best foot forward, the best  proposal forward  because they,  you know, it really  is, it's like shoot if I can get  featured at south by  southwest, that's, that's  really an awesome accomplishment.  Um,  but, but the fact  that this is based  on community and you've,  whether you and guys, whether  you intended it to  start that way or not,  you may have started out  as a process, but it wound  up building like you said, all  these other facets that  all benefit  everyone  in the conference,  the registrations, the  quality of the content, you're  getting the fact that you're  able to keep the pulse on everything. Um,  so I absolutely,

Hugh Forrest:  and I will say Rachel that we, we certainly when we launch this thing  approximately 15 years ago, we, we,  we didn't fully understand, um,  a lot of the  benefits  that it, that it would have and um,  again, it's, it's been a one of the big triggers in the growth of the event, which again is, is um, you know, they're, they're great things about growth. There are challenges about growth. I think  it's also been  a big  factor in just the  improved quality of the

SUBTOPIC: Conference Content 00:08:16-00:14:37

Rachel Moore:  I completely agree.  And and I'm I'm sure a lot of our audience is nodding to saying  that's right, you know, because you can  you can have such meaningful  um outcomes,  uh but particularly when you're planning  it  and  I, so I want  to ask you because  and you  know, someone who has in the past, in the past, I have submitted panel pickers. Um I know there's like, there's online groups out there who are trying to, like, work together to like, how do we, you know,  get our proposals  together. And I'm talking  mostly about the content that you're, you're  you're assessing so uh for those of for those who  don't know, um  can you, it is a  panel picker um  process where people submit ideas and  then your team and also the voting community  assesses them. Is that right? Where that's how you are bringing in new content ideas?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah. In terms of conference content, we've had a system for roughly 15 years which is a, you know, kind of an application system that is similar in some ways to what a lot of events used,  it is simply a way  for us to  improve the process. Um and I feel like  while  we want to focus on creativity with our events, ultimately, so much of what we do is process and how to improve that process  and you know,  before we had this  system, what I had  found was that um,  inevitably the  best content that we had for our  event was  other people who had  really good ideas.  Um but in  heavily I would get, you know, so many of these ideas in  mid  february when our event is in March and there  was really no way  to  process  all those ideas just  from bandwidth standpoint.  So we created a  system where  people are encouraged to  enter speaking  ideas in,  in the summer,  in late june early july  yeah,  there  are certainly a  lot of flaws with this  system, but  there are a lot of  pluses. Uh it shows  our focus on  community and I  firmly believe that what  we do is South by southwest  is less about  me or any of the other people who work at South by southwest and  more about the community.  It allowed us to, this panel  picker process allowed us  to expand into a lot  of these other verticals.  It allowed us to  also create  buzz about the event  six months before  the event at a time  when  we were  previously, you know, no one was really thinking about South by southwest and  you know,  certainly what I've  always found is the sooner you  can create some  significant buzz for your event, the, you  know, the higher the  buzz ends up when  the event  actually begins, So again, that was a big part of our  I  think growth trajectory um and  a little more detail on this panel picker process will  at this point get,  you know, somewhere between  3000 and 5000 speaking proposals from  very, very creative people from all over the world. We end up  accepting  probably between five  107  100 of these events, so it's very, very competitive.  Uh the competition is always a good thing, it again  also, you  know, gives us a glimpse into what our community is thinking about um and often that can be, you know, can be a window that we didn't previously have. So  you know, I firmly believe that the more you can  communicate with  your audience with your attendees, they often understand your event better than you do.  Um the stronger you  are,  I'm not very  good at remembering  remembering quotes, I wish I was, I'm not the one that I,  the one that I can  remember really well, because  it's three words is  a  quote  from a book called  the clue train manifesto, which came out around 2000, it was kind of an early internet  bible and the quote there is,  markets are conversations and um I always try to  remember that, I always try to  talk to my staff about that, that again, the more that we can communicate converse with our audience, the more we can understand them,  the more we can demonstrate that we're humans not some kind of bot at the other end, the more community, we create, the more  buzz we  create, the more interest,  the more goodwill,  the more good outcomes we have and the panel  picker is  simply one more,  one More, you know, weapon in that  arsenal  to accomplish that task.

Rachel Moore:  It's the way you've  described it,  it's a great idea  honestly. And even if it does have, you know, like  you said, every process has  its own flaws, nothing is  perfect. But  you're talking about,  I mean, it really  does foster, even again, by the  process I just mentioned  earlier,  people do collaborate  together to try to put their best foot forward, the best  proposal forward  because they,  you know, it really  is, it's like shoot if I can get  featured at south by  southwest, that's, that's  really an awesome accomplishment.  Um,  but, but the fact  that this is based  on community and you've,  whether you and guys, whether  you intended it to  start that way or not,  you may have started out  as a process, but it wound  up building like you said, all  these other facets that  all benefit  everyone  in the conference,  the registrations, the  quality of the content, you're  getting the fact that you're  able to keep the pulse on everything. Um,  so I absolutely,

Hugh Forrest:  and I will say Rachel that we, we certainly when we launch this thing  approximately 15 years ago, we, we,  we didn't fully understand, um,  a lot of the  benefits  that it, that it would have and um,  again, it's, it's been a one of the big triggers in the growth of the event, which again is, is um, you know, they're, they're great things about growth. There are challenges about growth. I think  it's also been  a big  factor in just the  improved quality of the

SUBTOPIC: Crowdsourcing for Event Planning 00:14:37-00:16:39

Hugh Forrest:  I would, myself and my staff would work a lot with, you know, incoming emails of people. We'd also just, you know, try to track something down like, let's do  a panel  on podcasting. Well, does anyone know anything about podcasting? No, not really well, so it's a lot better to get someone who's  an  expert in podcast  seemed to organize that session again, work with the community, work with your people  and let them do  what they  do well and let them do  and you do what you do well, which is hopefully knock on wood,  organize events and,  and create that platform for for these very, very creative people.

Rachel Moore:  That's so great  and thank you for touching on that too.  And then again, I know  this is  probably really, this is all good information for all of our  event planners to have to, because,  you know, you may go in like you said with an intention  and then it  blossoms out, but also the  fact I  love what you're bringing up almost  about crowd sourcing. Um, you know, content ideas, I, I often have that approach to where  I might have a great idea  and it happens  frequently and later. I'll be like I was wrong, and  it's my own myopia  that's telling me that it's,  it's a great idea, but  you  just tend to get  better ideas and content when you're coming from across the room or across  communities. So  I love that you  you all have found  that, you know,  nailed that down to bring that  together. And plus  again, I mean, by virtue of seeing  what is ultimately  selected  to  be the content, um very high quality and I've  attended South by Southwest  once and it blew my mind, I can't  think of a panel  or any one of the  presentations or anything that I  went to, that wasn't  really good, you know, and  really well thought out and  you're requiring people  to do that. It's not just let  me go fill a google format with an  idea I have, and  well,  I won't talk  to you until I show up and  now I'm going to present you really do make people planet  out. Can you talk a little  bit  about how you and again, you don't have to give away trade secrets or anything like that. But you, you mentioned earlier quality versus quantity.

SUBTOPIC: Crowdsourcing for Event Planning 00:14:37-00:16:39

Hugh Forrest:  I would, myself and my staff would work a lot with, you know, incoming emails of people. We'd also just, you know, try to track something down like, let's do  a panel  on podcasting. Well, does anyone know anything about podcasting? No, not really well, so it's a lot better to get someone who's  an  expert in podcast  seemed to organize that session again, work with the community, work with your people  and let them do  what they  do well and let them do  and you do what you do well, which is hopefully knock on wood,  organize events and,  and create that platform for for these very, very creative people.

Rachel Moore:  That's so great  and thank you for touching on that too.  And then again, I know  this is  probably really, this is all good information for all of our  event planners to have to, because,  you know, you may go in like you said with an intention  and then it  blossoms out, but also the  fact I  love what you're bringing up almost  about crowd sourcing. Um, you know, content ideas, I, I often have that approach to where  I might have a great idea  and it happens  frequently and later. I'll be like I was wrong, and  it's my own myopia  that's telling me that it's,  it's a great idea, but  you  just tend to get  better ideas and content when you're coming from across the room or across  communities. So  I love that you  you all have found  that, you know,  nailed that down to bring that  together. And plus  again, I mean, by virtue of seeing  what is ultimately  selected  to  be the content, um very high quality and I've  attended South by Southwest  once and it blew my mind, I can't  think of a panel  or any one of the  presentations or anything that I  went to, that wasn't  really good, you know, and  really well thought out and  you're requiring people  to do that. It's not just let  me go fill a google format with an  idea I have, and  well,  I won't talk  to you until I show up and  now I'm going to present you really do make people planet  out. Can you talk a little  bit  about how you and again, you don't have to give away trade secrets or anything like that. But you, you mentioned earlier quality versus quantity.

SUBTOPIC: Panel Picker 00:16:39-00:17:40

Rachel Moore:  Um and how,  What are some basic things that you and your team due to, you know, as you as you narrow down from the 3 to 5000 proposals you get to the, you know, 500 ish.  Um what exact what criteria are you using to determine? This is a winning  um winning  session. This is something we absolutely have to feature because it's such  high quality. Can you  share that with this?

Hugh Forrest:  Absolutely.  Well the way the panel  picker works is that um  everyone who  enters an  idea.  Uh huh.  It is posted on an interface. Um Anyone with  a connection to the  interwebs can see this um interface  can up vote or  down vote simple, you know internet style there.  You can  comment on the session.  We  also have an advisory board that reviews  um  all the the panel picker entries and then staff reviews them. So we've got three different  Essentialments three different inputs for  every idea. Um

SUBTOPIC: Panel Picker 00:16:39-00:17:40

Rachel Moore:  Um and how,  What are some basic things that you and your team due to, you know, as you as you narrow down from the 3 to 5000 proposals you get to the, you know, 500 ish.  Um what exact what criteria are you using to determine? This is a winning  um winning  session. This is something we absolutely have to feature because it's such  high quality. Can you  share that with this?

Hugh Forrest:  Absolutely.  Well the way the panel  picker works is that um  everyone who  enters an  idea.  Uh huh.  It is posted on an interface. Um Anyone with  a connection to the  interwebs can see this um interface  can up vote or  down vote simple, you know internet style there.  You can  comment on the session.  We  also have an advisory board that reviews  um  all the the panel picker entries and then staff reviews them. So we've got three different  Essentialments three different inputs for  every idea. Um

SUBTOPIC: Balancing Proposals 00:17:40-00:18:37

Hugh Forrest:  The  part of that is to  such that people  with big social media followings  don't have advantage  over people with smaller social media  problems, social  media following their um  then  we're also  as staff,  we're you know, we're  trying to vet  each particular  session, look at  the speakers, how much experience they have  have they spoken before.  Um knowing that that you know a good speaker can make a  boring topic interesting.  A not experienced  speaker can make a very interesting topic seem boring.  All these factors.  Uh  we we we  will get together and discuss  uh you know the  the sessions that have the  highest number of votes and and  make the terminations

SUBTOPIC: Social Media Problems 00:17:40-00:18:37

Hugh Forrest:  The  part of that is to  such that people  with big social media followings  don't have advantage  over people with smaller social media  problems, social  media following their um  then  we're also  as staff,  we're you know, we're  trying to vet  each particular  session, look at  the speakers, how much experience they have  have they spoken before.  Um knowing that that you know a good speaker can make a  boring topic interesting.  A not experienced  speaker can make a very interesting topic seem boring.  All these factors.  Uh  we we we  will get together and discuss  uh you know the  the sessions that have the  highest number of votes and and  make the terminations

SUBTOPIC: Getting Better Every Year 00:18:37-00:20:49

Hugh Forrest:  uh make errors there. I'm impressed that with you to help us unless every session was good but you got lucky on that one because there are always some that that don't live up to expectations  but but  certainly um  trying to put as much work into this process on the front end  um is what uh what what  more likely insurers success in the back end. And as your audience well knows  what we what we all do as event planners is details details  details, trying to  figure out every particular detail,  trying to figure out redundancy  when that  when when you know plan A fails, what are you gonna do with Plan B? Um I think we've gotten pretty good at this at south by southwest. But I also know that that every year there's x number of details that darn we didn't think of that will do better on that next year. And I think that's um you know kind of the approach that's worked for  us in terms of our launch activity and  our growth is  that  we're gonna take a long term approach to this. We're gonna  try to get a little better every year. And um  I work  a lot with our community on this work a lot with community feedback. Um and  getting a little better every year over the space of  of a few years or longer than a few  years in our case.  Um you can put together something pretty special. um as we all know, events are hard to organize, Events are  difficult, there are a lot of work,  but I think we all live for those um you know, magic moments when you're bringing people together, when they're creating  some kind of connection,  when they're finding a job, when they're learning something new. And again, what  we're trying to do  um at South by Southwest and what your audience is trying to do is work out as many of those details, um uh  mitigate as many of the  challenges such  that

SUBTOPIC: Getting Better Every Year 00:18:37-00:20:49

Hugh Forrest:  uh make errors there. I'm impressed that with you to help us unless every session was good but you got lucky on that one because there are always some that that don't live up to expectations  but but  certainly um  trying to put as much work into this process on the front end  um is what uh what what  more likely insurers success in the back end. And as your audience well knows  what we what we all do as event planners is details details  details, trying to  figure out every particular detail,  trying to figure out redundancy  when that  when when you know plan A fails, what are you gonna do with Plan B? Um I think we've gotten pretty good at this at south by southwest. But I also know that that every year there's x number of details that darn we didn't think of that will do better on that next year. And I think that's um you know kind of the approach that's worked for  us in terms of our launch activity and  our growth is  that  we're gonna take a long term approach to this. We're gonna  try to get a little better every year. And um  I work  a lot with our community on this work a lot with community feedback. Um and  getting a little better every year over the space of  of a few years or longer than a few  years in our case.  Um you can put together something pretty special. um as we all know, events are hard to organize, Events are  difficult, there are a lot of work,  but I think we all live for those um you know, magic moments when you're bringing people together, when they're creating  some kind of connection,  when they're finding a job, when they're learning something new. And again, what  we're trying to do  um at South by Southwest and what your audience is trying to do is work out as many of those details, um uh  mitigate as many of the  challenges such  that


TOPIC: Event Planning 00:01:39-00:20:49

SUBTOPIC: South by Southwest Interactive 00:01:39-00:05:36

Rachel Moore:  give me a great  idea sometimes of all the things you do. Can you describe for us, what does it mean that you're the chief programming officer and Director of South by South Southwest Interactive? What does that mean?

Hugh Forrest:  Uh It is a fancy title but  uh  that means I'm sure like a lot of the  audience out there, I answer a lot of emails or  avoid answering a lot of  emails, but um a little more  seriously or directly,  I oversee all the  content. We  do at South by  Southwest. Um  and by overseeing by content, I  mean all that we do from a from  panels,  presentations, keynotes,  uh  called mentor  sessions meetups,  everything that  um is conference  related. I  also oversee  the the music festival, which brings together somewhere in the neighborhood of  1000 or 2000 bands from all over the U. S. And all over the world Austin  as well as the film festival, which is this  vibrant showcase  of up  and coming filmmakers as  well as as  more established Hollywood uh industry folks and  um oversee  the comedy festival. And we also do a  event called South by  Southwest E bu that I oversee also,  but oversee  is, you know, very broad word that means  um  I have  people who are very good at those jobs who are much more managing the details. I'm a little  more focused  um day to day on the conference aspect of the event um  sessions.  Again, he knows featured  speakers, the kind of people that we want to  bring to the  audience up and  comers, established industry  folks, people who  will  inspire  our community with  new information  um with new visions of the future,  with revised  visions of the future, with analysis of the past, with  information about  new technology, about new  trends, all of those kinds of  things, so that's where I do most of my day to day work. Um but again, oversee a very talented staff that that manages a lot of these details in a lot better ways than I can,

Rachel Moore:  so you're not busy  is what you're trying to say, you really need more  stuff to do.

Hugh Forrest:  Uh you know, again, like a lot of us um  I can work  mhm.  Many  more hours a  day and I still wouldn't  get everything done.  Um the key  is always to try  to  work smarter,  not longer and  as long as I tell myself  that I hope that I'll eventually figure out what that means, right?

Rachel Moore:  I think yeah, I I can relate, I feel like we're all writing that book right, where it's like once I I land  on the the key  or the  fix all for all of  us having more time in the day and  getting everything done that we need  to then  they won't need to work  anymore because they'll have  you know, hit upon the thing everybody wants.  Um Yeah, so  alright you talked about just now overseeing all the content and I know our audience  of  event planners  out there and you know  as you and I talked offline  a bit  um we've got event planners and coordinators and even people who are  are putting on and  hosting these events are asking  them to be put on um run the gamut.  They can be very small and very focused or  they can be very large. Um  south by southwest  really quick. Uh  How many  people on average do you say attend the conference every year?

SUBTOPIC: South by South Southwest Interactive 00:01:39-00:05:36

Rachel Moore:  give me a great  idea sometimes of all the things you do. Can you describe for us, what does it mean that you're the chief programming officer and Director of South by South Southwest Interactive? What does that mean?

Hugh Forrest:  Uh It is a fancy title but  uh  that means I'm sure like a lot of the  audience out there, I answer a lot of emails or  avoid answering a lot of  emails, but um a little more  seriously or directly,  I oversee all the  content. We  do at South by  Southwest. Um  and by overseeing by content, I  mean all that we do from a from  panels,  presentations, keynotes,  uh  called mentor  sessions meetups,  everything that  um is conference  related. I  also oversee  the the music festival, which brings together somewhere in the neighborhood of  1000 or 2000 bands from all over the U. S. And all over the world Austin  as well as the film festival, which is this  vibrant showcase  of up  and coming filmmakers as  well as as  more established Hollywood uh industry folks and  um oversee  the comedy festival. And we also do a  event called South by  Southwest E bu that I oversee also,  but oversee  is, you know, very broad word that means  um  I have  people who are very good at those jobs who are much more managing the details. I'm a little  more focused  um day to day on the conference aspect of the event um  sessions.  Again, he knows featured  speakers, the kind of people that we want to  bring to the  audience up and  comers, established industry  folks, people who  will  inspire  our community with  new information  um with new visions of the future,  with revised  visions of the future, with analysis of the past, with  information about  new technology, about new  trends, all of those kinds of  things, so that's where I do most of my day to day work. Um but again, oversee a very talented staff that that manages a lot of these details in a lot better ways than I can,

Rachel Moore:  so you're not busy  is what you're trying to say, you really need more  stuff to do.

Hugh Forrest:  Uh you know, again, like a lot of us um  I can work  mhm.  Many  more hours a  day and I still wouldn't  get everything done.  Um the key  is always to try  to  work smarter,  not longer and  as long as I tell myself  that I hope that I'll eventually figure out what that means, right?

Rachel Moore:  I think yeah, I I can relate, I feel like we're all writing that book right, where it's like once I I land  on the the key  or the  fix all for all of  us having more time in the day and  getting everything done that we need  to then  they won't need to work  anymore because they'll have  you know, hit upon the thing everybody wants.  Um Yeah, so  alright you talked about just now overseeing all the content and I know our audience  of  event planners  out there and you know  as you and I talked offline  a bit  um we've got event planners and coordinators and even people who are  are putting on and  hosting these events are asking  them to be put on um run the gamut.  They can be very small and very focused or  they can be very large. Um  south by southwest  really quick. Uh  How many  people on average do you say attend the conference every year?

SUBTOPIC: Our Last Real-World Event 00:05:37-00:08:16

Hugh Forrest:  Well our last real world event which is 2019, we had about um  50,000 total badge holders over the space of our  14 days, luckily we never had all those people in one place at one  time. Um  It's you know there there there's a small percentage of people who who stay for a week, most are coming in for three or four days or attending for three or four days. Um These are these are these are people from  all over the U. S. And all over the world  and uh you know that the the event has changed and morphed a lot in the 30 years that I've been here. We started off as a  entirely focused on music. We now  still cover music, we cover film, we cover technology, we cover food, we cover fashion, we cover  government and  politics, we cover cannabis, we cover transportation, we cover all these different verticals.  um but as much as the event has changed in that 30 years in terms of areas of coverage, the  bottom line, I think I hope is still the same.  Uh and that we that we bring very very creative people together um give them opportunities to connect with other creative people um and uh give them  opportunities to advance  their career.  Um you know, a little bit of back to the original part of your question uh 50,000 badges. There's a lot of badges um ah  that may be  Smalling than some of the events that that your audience does. That maybe bigger. Um it's where we've kind of landed on after 30 years. I'm  a firm  believer in  quality over quantity and I don't think that the size of the event particularly makes that  much difference in  terms of the quality.  It's about um what we all do or trying to do  is is, you  know, create platforms that bring  people together  in meaningful ways. Um  and again, the size  is the size  gets me to to be invited to speak on cool podcast like this one. But again, there are lots of incredible incredible  events that are  smaller, lots that are bigger. And ultimately  it's  more about what  you do with the with your

SUBTOPIC: 50,000 Badges 00:05:37-00:07:14

Hugh Forrest:  Well our last real world event which is 2019, we had about um  50,000 total badge holders over the space of our  14 days, luckily we never had all those people in one place at one  time. Um  It's you know there there there's a small percentage of people who who stay for a week, most are coming in for three or four days or attending for three or four days. Um These are these are these are people from  all over the U. S. And all over the world  and uh you know that the the event has changed and morphed a lot in the 30 years that I've been here. We started off as a  entirely focused on music. We now  still cover music, we cover film, we cover technology, we cover food, we cover fashion, we cover  government and  politics, we cover cannabis, we cover transportation, we cover all these different verticals.  um but as much as the event has changed in that 30 years in terms of areas of coverage, the  bottom line, I think I hope is still the same.  Uh and that we that we bring very very creative people together um give them opportunities to connect with other creative people um and uh give them  opportunities to advance  their career.

SUBTOPIC: Is There a Bigger Difference in Conference Content... 00:07:14-00:14:37

Hugh Forrest:  that may be  Smalling than some of the events that that your audience does. That maybe bigger. Um it's where we've kind of landed on after 30 years. I'm  a firm  believer in  quality over quantity and I don't think that the size of the event particularly makes that  much difference in  terms of the quality.  It's about um what we all do or trying to do  is is, you  know, create platforms that bring  people together  in meaningful ways. Um  and again, the size  is the size  gets me to to be invited to speak on cool podcast like this one. But again, there are lots of incredible incredible  events that are  smaller, lots that are bigger. And ultimately  it's  more about what  you do with the with your  platform than than how big the platform is.

Rachel Moore:  I completely agree.  And and I'm I'm sure a lot of our audience is nodding to saying  that's right, you know, because you can  you can have such meaningful  um outcomes,  uh but particularly when you're planning  it  and  I, so I want  to ask you because  and you  know, someone who has in the past, in the past, I have submitted panel pickers. Um I know there's like, there's online groups out there who are trying to, like, work together to like, how do we, you know,  get our proposals  together. And I'm talking  mostly about the content that you're, you're  you're assessing so uh for those of for those who  don't know, um  can you, it is a  panel picker um  process where people submit ideas and  then your team and also the voting community  assesses them. Is that right? Where that's how you are bringing in new content ideas?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah. In terms of conference content, we've had a system for roughly 15 years which is a, you know, kind of an application system that is similar in some ways to what a lot of events used,  it is simply a way  for us to  improve the process. Um and I feel like  while  we want to focus on creativity with our events, ultimately, so much of what we do is process and how to improve that process  and you know,  before we had this  system, what I had  found was that um,  inevitably the  best content that we had for our  event was  other people who had  really good ideas.  Um but in  heavily I would get, you know, so many of these ideas in  mid  february when our event is in March and there  was really no way  to  process  all those ideas just  from bandwidth standpoint.  So we created a  system where  people are encouraged to  enter speaking  ideas in,  in the summer,  in late june early july  yeah,  there  are certainly a  lot of flaws with this  system, but  there are a lot of  pluses. Uh it shows  our focus on  community and I  firmly believe that what  we do is South by southwest  is less about  me or any of the other people who work at South by southwest and  more about the community.  It allowed us to, this panel  picker process allowed us  to expand into a lot  of these other verticals.  It allowed us to  also create  buzz about the event  six months before  the event at a time  when  we were  previously, you know, no one was really thinking about South by southwest and  you know,  certainly what I've  always found is the sooner you  can create some  significant buzz for your event, the, you  know, the higher the  buzz ends up when  the event  actually begins, So again, that was a big part of our  I  think growth trajectory um and  a little more detail on this panel picker process will  at this point get,  you know, somewhere between  3000 and 5000 speaking proposals from  very, very creative people from all over the world. We end up  accepting  probably between five  107  100 of these events, so it's very, very competitive.  Uh the competition is always a good thing, it again  also, you  know, gives us a glimpse into what our community is thinking about um and often that can be, you know, can be a window that we didn't previously have. So  you know, I firmly believe that the more you can  communicate with  your audience with your attendees, they often understand your event better than you do.  Um the stronger you  are,  I'm not very  good at remembering  remembering quotes, I wish I was, I'm not the one that I,  the one that I can  remember really well, because  it's three words is  a  quote  from a book called  the clue train manifesto, which came out around 2000, it was kind of an early internet  bible and the quote there is,  markets are conversations and um I always try to  remember that, I always try to  talk to my staff about that, that again, the more that we can communicate converse with our audience, the more we can understand them,  the more we can demonstrate that we're humans not some kind of bot at the other end, the more community, we create, the more  buzz we  create, the more interest,  the more goodwill,  the more good outcomes we have and the panel  picker is  simply one more,  one More, you know, weapon in that  arsenal  to accomplish that task.

Rachel Moore:  It's the way you've  described it,  it's a great idea  honestly. And even if it does have, you know, like  you said, every process has  its own flaws, nothing is  perfect. But  you're talking about,  I mean, it really  does foster, even again, by the  process I just mentioned  earlier,  people do collaborate  together to try to put their best foot forward, the best  proposal forward  because they,  you know, it really  is, it's like shoot if I can get  featured at south by  southwest, that's, that's  really an awesome accomplishment.  Um,  but, but the fact  that this is based  on community and you've,  whether you and guys, whether  you intended it to  start that way or not,  you may have started out  as a process, but it wound  up building like you said, all  these other facets that  all benefit  everyone  in the conference,  the registrations, the  quality of the content, you're  getting the fact that you're  able to keep the pulse on everything. Um,  so I absolutely,

Hugh Forrest:  and I will say Rachel that we, we certainly when we launch this thing  approximately 15 years ago, we, we,  we didn't fully understand, um,  a lot of the  benefits  that it, that it would have and um,  again, it's, it's been a one of the big triggers in the growth of the event, which again is, is um, you know, they're, they're great things about growth. There are challenges about growth. I think  it's also been  a big  factor in just the  improved quality of the

SUBTOPIC: Conference Content 00:08:16-00:14:37

Rachel Moore:  I completely agree.  And and I'm I'm sure a lot of our audience is nodding to saying  that's right, you know, because you can  you can have such meaningful  um outcomes,  uh but particularly when you're planning  it  and  I, so I want  to ask you because  and you  know, someone who has in the past, in the past, I have submitted panel pickers. Um I know there's like, there's online groups out there who are trying to, like, work together to like, how do we, you know,  get our proposals  together. And I'm talking  mostly about the content that you're, you're  you're assessing so uh for those of for those who  don't know, um  can you, it is a  panel picker um  process where people submit ideas and  then your team and also the voting community  assesses them. Is that right? Where that's how you are bringing in new content ideas?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah. In terms of conference content, we've had a system for roughly 15 years which is a, you know, kind of an application system that is similar in some ways to what a lot of events used,  it is simply a way  for us to  improve the process. Um and I feel like  while  we want to focus on creativity with our events, ultimately, so much of what we do is process and how to improve that process  and you know,  before we had this  system, what I had  found was that um,  inevitably the  best content that we had for our  event was  other people who had  really good ideas.  Um but in  heavily I would get, you know, so many of these ideas in  mid  february when our event is in March and there  was really no way  to  process  all those ideas just  from bandwidth standpoint.  So we created a  system where  people are encouraged to  enter speaking  ideas in,  in the summer,  in late june early july  yeah,  there  are certainly a  lot of flaws with this  system, but  there are a lot of  pluses. Uh it shows  our focus on  community and I  firmly believe that what  we do is South by southwest  is less about  me or any of the other people who work at South by southwest and  more about the community.  It allowed us to, this panel  picker process allowed us  to expand into a lot  of these other verticals.  It allowed us to  also create  buzz about the event  six months before  the event at a time  when  we were  previously, you know, no one was really thinking about South by southwest and  you know,  certainly what I've  always found is the sooner you  can create some  significant buzz for your event, the, you  know, the higher the  buzz ends up when  the event  actually begins, So again, that was a big part of our  I  think growth trajectory um and  a little more detail on this panel picker process will  at this point get,  you know, somewhere between  3000 and 5000 speaking proposals from  very, very creative people from all over the world. We end up  accepting  probably between five  107  100 of these events, so it's very, very competitive.  Uh the competition is always a good thing, it again  also, you  know, gives us a glimpse into what our community is thinking about um and often that can be, you know, can be a window that we didn't previously have. So  you know, I firmly believe that the more you can  communicate with  your audience with your attendees, they often understand your event better than you do.  Um the stronger you  are,  I'm not very  good at remembering  remembering quotes, I wish I was, I'm not the one that I,  the one that I can  remember really well, because  it's three words is  a  quote  from a book called  the clue train manifesto, which came out around 2000, it was kind of an early internet  bible and the quote there is,  markets are conversations and um I always try to  remember that, I always try to  talk to my staff about that, that again, the more that we can communicate converse with our audience, the more we can understand them,  the more we can demonstrate that we're humans not some kind of bot at the other end, the more community, we create, the more  buzz we  create, the more interest,  the more goodwill,  the more good outcomes we have and the panel  picker is  simply one more,  one More, you know, weapon in that  arsenal  to accomplish that task.

Rachel Moore:  It's the way you've  described it,  it's a great idea  honestly. And even if it does have, you know, like  you said, every process has  its own flaws, nothing is  perfect. But  you're talking about,  I mean, it really  does foster, even again, by the  process I just mentioned  earlier,  people do collaborate  together to try to put their best foot forward, the best  proposal forward  because they,  you know, it really  is, it's like shoot if I can get  featured at south by  southwest, that's, that's  really an awesome accomplishment.  Um,  but, but the fact  that this is based  on community and you've,  whether you and guys, whether  you intended it to  start that way or not,  you may have started out  as a process, but it wound  up building like you said, all  these other facets that  all benefit  everyone  in the conference,  the registrations, the  quality of the content, you're  getting the fact that you're  able to keep the pulse on everything. Um,  so I absolutely,

Hugh Forrest:  and I will say Rachel that we, we certainly when we launch this thing  approximately 15 years ago, we, we,  we didn't fully understand, um,  a lot of the  benefits  that it, that it would have and um,  again, it's, it's been a one of the big triggers in the growth of the event, which again is, is um, you know, they're, they're great things about growth. There are challenges about growth. I think  it's also been  a big  factor in just the  improved quality of the

SUBTOPIC: Crowdsourcing for Event Planning 00:14:37-00:16:39

Hugh Forrest:  I would, myself and my staff would work a lot with, you know, incoming emails of people. We'd also just, you know, try to track something down like, let's do  a panel  on podcasting. Well, does anyone know anything about podcasting? No, not really well, so it's a lot better to get someone who's  an  expert in podcast  seemed to organize that session again, work with the community, work with your people  and let them do  what they  do well and let them do  and you do what you do well, which is hopefully knock on wood,  organize events and,  and create that platform for for these very, very creative people.

Rachel Moore:  That's so great  and thank you for touching on that too.  And then again, I know  this is  probably really, this is all good information for all of our  event planners to have to, because,  you know, you may go in like you said with an intention  and then it  blossoms out, but also the  fact I  love what you're bringing up almost  about crowd sourcing. Um, you know, content ideas, I, I often have that approach to where  I might have a great idea  and it happens  frequently and later. I'll be like I was wrong, and  it's my own myopia  that's telling me that it's,  it's a great idea, but  you  just tend to get  better ideas and content when you're coming from across the room or across  communities. So  I love that you  you all have found  that, you know,  nailed that down to bring that  together. And plus  again, I mean, by virtue of seeing  what is ultimately  selected  to  be the content, um very high quality and I've  attended South by Southwest  once and it blew my mind, I can't  think of a panel  or any one of the  presentations or anything that I  went to, that wasn't  really good, you know, and  really well thought out and  you're requiring people  to do that. It's not just let  me go fill a google format with an  idea I have, and  well,  I won't talk  to you until I show up and  now I'm going to present you really do make people planet  out. Can you talk a little  bit  about how you and again, you don't have to give away trade secrets or anything like that. But you, you mentioned earlier quality versus quantity.

SUBTOPIC: Crowdsourcing for Event Planning 00:14:37-00:16:39

Hugh Forrest:  I would, myself and my staff would work a lot with, you know, incoming emails of people. We'd also just, you know, try to track something down like, let's do  a panel  on podcasting. Well, does anyone know anything about podcasting? No, not really well, so it's a lot better to get someone who's  an  expert in podcast  seemed to organize that session again, work with the community, work with your people  and let them do  what they  do well and let them do  and you do what you do well, which is hopefully knock on wood,  organize events and,  and create that platform for for these very, very creative people.

Rachel Moore:  That's so great  and thank you for touching on that too.  And then again, I know  this is  probably really, this is all good information for all of our  event planners to have to, because,  you know, you may go in like you said with an intention  and then it  blossoms out, but also the  fact I  love what you're bringing up almost  about crowd sourcing. Um, you know, content ideas, I, I often have that approach to where  I might have a great idea  and it happens  frequently and later. I'll be like I was wrong, and  it's my own myopia  that's telling me that it's,  it's a great idea, but  you  just tend to get  better ideas and content when you're coming from across the room or across  communities. So  I love that you  you all have found  that, you know,  nailed that down to bring that  together. And plus  again, I mean, by virtue of seeing  what is ultimately  selected  to  be the content, um very high quality and I've  attended South by Southwest  once and it blew my mind, I can't  think of a panel  or any one of the  presentations or anything that I  went to, that wasn't  really good, you know, and  really well thought out and  you're requiring people  to do that. It's not just let  me go fill a google format with an  idea I have, and  well,  I won't talk  to you until I show up and  now I'm going to present you really do make people planet  out. Can you talk a little  bit  about how you and again, you don't have to give away trade secrets or anything like that. But you, you mentioned earlier quality versus quantity.

SUBTOPIC: Panel Picker 00:16:39-00:17:40

Rachel Moore:  Um and how,  What are some basic things that you and your team due to, you know, as you as you narrow down from the 3 to 5000 proposals you get to the, you know, 500 ish.  Um what exact what criteria are you using to determine? This is a winning  um winning  session. This is something we absolutely have to feature because it's such  high quality. Can you  share that with this?

Hugh Forrest:  Absolutely.  Well the way the panel  picker works is that um  everyone who  enters an  idea.  Uh huh.  It is posted on an interface. Um Anyone with  a connection to the  interwebs can see this um interface  can up vote or  down vote simple, you know internet style there.  You can  comment on the session.  We  also have an advisory board that reviews  um  all the the panel picker entries and then staff reviews them. So we've got three different  Essentialments three different inputs for  every idea. Um

SUBTOPIC: Panel Picker 00:16:39-00:17:40

Rachel Moore:  Um and how,  What are some basic things that you and your team due to, you know, as you as you narrow down from the 3 to 5000 proposals you get to the, you know, 500 ish.  Um what exact what criteria are you using to determine? This is a winning  um winning  session. This is something we absolutely have to feature because it's such  high quality. Can you  share that with this?

Hugh Forrest:  Absolutely.  Well the way the panel  picker works is that um  everyone who  enters an  idea.  Uh huh.  It is posted on an interface. Um Anyone with  a connection to the  interwebs can see this um interface  can up vote or  down vote simple, you know internet style there.  You can  comment on the session.  We  also have an advisory board that reviews  um  all the the panel picker entries and then staff reviews them. So we've got three different  Essentialments three different inputs for  every idea. Um

SUBTOPIC: Balancing Proposals 00:17:40-00:18:37

Hugh Forrest:  The  part of that is to  such that people  with big social media followings  don't have advantage  over people with smaller social media  problems, social  media following their um  then  we're also  as staff,  we're you know, we're  trying to vet  each particular  session, look at  the speakers, how much experience they have  have they spoken before.  Um knowing that that you know a good speaker can make a  boring topic interesting.  A not experienced  speaker can make a very interesting topic seem boring.  All these factors.  Uh  we we we  will get together and discuss  uh you know the  the sessions that have the  highest number of votes and and  make the terminations

SUBTOPIC: Social Media Problems 00:17:40-00:18:37

Hugh Forrest:  The  part of that is to  such that people  with big social media followings  don't have advantage  over people with smaller social media  problems, social  media following their um  then  we're also  as staff,  we're you know, we're  trying to vet  each particular  session, look at  the speakers, how much experience they have  have they spoken before.  Um knowing that that you know a good speaker can make a  boring topic interesting.  A not experienced  speaker can make a very interesting topic seem boring.  All these factors.  Uh  we we we  will get together and discuss  uh you know the  the sessions that have the  highest number of votes and and  make the terminations

SUBTOPIC: Getting Better Every Year 00:18:37-00:20:49

Hugh Forrest:  uh make errors there. I'm impressed that with you to help us unless every session was good but you got lucky on that one because there are always some that that don't live up to expectations  but but  certainly um  trying to put as much work into this process on the front end  um is what uh what what  more likely insurers success in the back end. And as your audience well knows  what we what we all do as event planners is details details  details, trying to  figure out every particular detail,  trying to figure out redundancy  when that  when when you know plan A fails, what are you gonna do with Plan B? Um I think we've gotten pretty good at this at south by southwest. But I also know that that every year there's x number of details that darn we didn't think of that will do better on that next year. And I think that's um you know kind of the approach that's worked for  us in terms of our launch activity and  our growth is  that  we're gonna take a long term approach to this. We're gonna  try to get a little better every year. And um  I work  a lot with our community on this work a lot with community feedback. Um and  getting a little better every year over the space of  of a few years or longer than a few  years in our case.  Um you can put together something pretty special. um as we all know, events are hard to organize, Events are  difficult, there are a lot of work,  but I think we all live for those um you know, magic moments when you're bringing people together, when they're creating  some kind of connection,  when they're finding a job, when they're learning something new. And again, what  we're trying to do  um at South by Southwest and what your audience is trying to do is work out as many of those details, um uh  mitigate as many of the  challenges such  that

SUBTOPIC: Getting Better Every Year 00:18:37-00:20:49

Hugh Forrest:  uh make errors there. I'm impressed that with you to help us unless every session was good but you got lucky on that one because there are always some that that don't live up to expectations  but but  certainly um  trying to put as much work into this process on the front end  um is what uh what what  more likely insurers success in the back end. And as your audience well knows  what we what we all do as event planners is details details  details, trying to  figure out every particular detail,  trying to figure out redundancy  when that  when when you know plan A fails, what are you gonna do with Plan B? Um I think we've gotten pretty good at this at south by southwest. But I also know that that every year there's x number of details that darn we didn't think of that will do better on that next year. And I think that's um you know kind of the approach that's worked for  us in terms of our launch activity and  our growth is  that  we're gonna take a long term approach to this. We're gonna  try to get a little better every year. And um  I work  a lot with our community on this work a lot with community feedback. Um and  getting a little better every year over the space of  of a few years or longer than a few  years in our case.  Um you can put together something pretty special. um as we all know, events are hard to organize, Events are  difficult, there are a lot of work,  but I think we all live for those um you know, magic moments when you're bringing people together, when they're creating  some kind of connection,  when they're finding a job, when they're learning something new. And again, what  we're trying to do  um at South by Southwest and what your audience is trying to do is work out as many of those details, um uh  mitigate as many of the  challenges such  that


TOPIC: Perspectives on the Industry 00:20:49-00:39:16

SUBTOPIC: What's Your Perspective on the Event Industry? 00:20:49-00:27:48

Rachel Moore:  absolutely,  and yeah, you're,  you're saying  all the things that resonate with every  single event planner out there and, and you know,  and it's refreshing to know to this happens at every  level, you know, and whether  you have a big team or you're doing  it yourself, um it  it just comes  down to those those details. Um  I'd like to shift a little bit too, you've had a really, probably had a  really good perspective  on,  you know, we've had,  and this is from  you below standpoint, we're a virtual event platform. We absolutely can work with hybrid, where it's  a mix of an  in person event versus, you know, and a virtual event, we can do fully virtual and we can be a supplement to a really majority in person event um what have you seen as  and events in  general and what,  you know, South by Southwest  obviously, um you know,  you guys are thinking about this too,  but what are you  seeing as far as like  live versus virtual events,  has the  events industry in your opinion, been able to to accomplish  a decent shift  or pivot  in trying to make  sure there  as they had to move to virtual to hold events, were  they doing a good job of that or there's things that you saw,  you're like, oh that actually  was better than life events  or  you  know, how have you seen that kind  of more of that evolution and what's your perspective on  on how we've done as an

Hugh Forrest:  industry?  Well,  I think,  you know, the event industry is like  almost every other industry in the pandemic that that um  Covid forced us  to you  Know, do five years or 10 years of growth in the space of 12 months, 18 months. We all  generally everyone had to learn how to go go virtual and we should have been learning this beforehand, but we're, we most, most of us weren't. Um  uh so  you know, I think that on the one hand,  um  we, as humans are hardwired for personal, face to face interaction  and I know there's you know, there's a lot of pent up demand for events as we hopefully emerge from from Covid and can get back to that  on the other hand, you know, having gone through a cycle now where we did a fully virtual event,  um,  you, you certainly are, one certainly gets much more of an understanding of how many advantages  there are for a virtual  event and from a south by southwest standpoint,  some of those advantages are as follows. One of our biggest pain points within our growth, you know, it's great to grow,  but it's also one of our biggest pain points is we had, you know, we would inevitably have rooms with the  a great speaker, a great band, a great film that not everyone could get into and you know, because he only had,  You know, 500 seats  and 600 people wanted to get  in, certainly in a virtual world,  you know, that, that that problem is largely taken care of everyone can attend.  Um, I think another great thing about virtual events is it is, and you  know, it  seems obvious, but but it really didn't completely light bulb didn't completely go off until we did it is that  it just makes it so much easier to go from  one thing to another. It's a click of the mouse as opposed to  walking across the hallway walking across  the street, whatever.  And certainly when we did  An entirely online event in March 2021, 1 of the things we found is that, that um, people were less siloed. Um, they were able  to  more easily moved from going to a panel to going to a recording of a band to going to a film  and in a real world event  scenario.  Um often that becomes difficult because again, you're having to walk somewhere. Um not that walking is  bad, but then you run into  someone and wow, this is cool and I'm not going to go there after all,  you get distracted. Now, that's part of what, what the, what the fun of the  event is is connecting with  people. But but again,  the virtual nature certainly I think allows  people to experience  the depth and breadth of an event  that you often can't do in  person.  Um and I think that that um  while networking is different with virtual events very different, you don't  have that, you  don't,  for most platforms have that serendipity factor.  Um It is also,  there are a lot of advantages for people, for people who are really, you know, strategic and what they want to get out of the event where um and I think that's that's who gets the most events of people who are strategic, who say, you know, I'm going to this event because I want to meet these kinds of people  and virtual event platforms, most of them,  uh most of the best ones are very good in terms of, you can target  those kinds of people, you can set  up meetings in advance. Um and you're, you know, you're losing that serendipity factor, but you're not leaving things to chance, you're able to make those  connections. So  again, there are a lot of  of advantages to virtual events as we move forward with south by southwest. Um, you know, we'll we'll  we'll push back a  little more to to  I. R. L. And that will be our  in real life will  be our primary focus. But certainly we're going to incorporate more of what we've learned  from virtual  into  uh, into what we  do and  augment, strengthen,  improve the experience for a  lot of our audience that way,

Rachel Moore:  those great points, all of those obviously we, we agreed to, but um, as someone who went to South by southwest in person, oh gosh, I think it was 2000  15 maybe. Um, and I did, I was there solo and I learned a lesson there. I'm like, man, there's just so much here I need to take in. But even just having to try  to either walk or get an  Uber or a lift to across across town to one of the panels, I, I definitely have an appreciation for the virtual aspect of it. As you just said, it can really help reduce kind of some of those obstacles that might let not let me get  to a certain session. I really  wanted to get to,  well,  certainly in the, in the tech

Hugh Forrest:  vernacular  and  we hate  jargon, but it sure. But  whatever, you know, that's  that's that's what  we call friction,  right? Um, that that  it is something  that that  prevents  you from  doing  easily doing what you want  to do and again,  that online world  with the virtual capacity,  that the  friction  is significantly  reduced. Um, and that's a, that's  a neat thing.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, well, um, we only have a little bit more time with you, but I definitely want to give you a chance to share with us  our listeners, you  Have, I believe south by southwest 2022 is coming up  in March and we'd love to, I'd love to let you share a little bit.

SUBTOPIC: What's Your Perspective on the Event Industry? 00:20:49-00:27:48

Rachel Moore:  absolutely,  and yeah, you're,  you're saying  all the things that resonate with every  single event planner out there and, and you know,  and it's refreshing to know to this happens at every  level, you know, and whether  you have a big team or you're doing  it yourself, um it  it just comes  down to those those details. Um  I'd like to shift a little bit too, you've had a really, probably had a  really good perspective  on,  you know, we've had,  and this is from  you below standpoint, we're a virtual event platform. We absolutely can work with hybrid, where it's  a mix of an  in person event versus, you know, and a virtual event, we can do fully virtual and we can be a supplement to a really majority in person event um what have you seen as  and events in  general and what,  you know, South by Southwest  obviously, um you know,  you guys are thinking about this too,  but what are you  seeing as far as like  live versus virtual events,  has the  events industry in your opinion, been able to to accomplish  a decent shift  or pivot  in trying to make  sure there  as they had to move to virtual to hold events, were  they doing a good job of that or there's things that you saw,  you're like, oh that actually  was better than life events  or  you  know, how have you seen that kind  of more of that evolution and what's your perspective on  on how we've done as an

Hugh Forrest:  industry?  Well,  I think,  you know, the event industry is like  almost every other industry in the pandemic that that um  Covid forced us  to you  Know, do five years or 10 years of growth in the space of 12 months, 18 months. We all  generally everyone had to learn how to go go virtual and we should have been learning this beforehand, but we're, we most, most of us weren't. Um  uh so  you know, I think that on the one hand,  um  we, as humans are hardwired for personal, face to face interaction  and I know there's you know, there's a lot of pent up demand for events as we hopefully emerge from from Covid and can get back to that  on the other hand, you know, having gone through a cycle now where we did a fully virtual event,  um,  you, you certainly are, one certainly gets much more of an understanding of how many advantages  there are for a virtual  event and from a south by southwest standpoint,  some of those advantages are as follows. One of our biggest pain points within our growth, you know, it's great to grow,  but it's also one of our biggest pain points is we had, you know, we would inevitably have rooms with the  a great speaker, a great band, a great film that not everyone could get into and you know, because he only had,  You know, 500 seats  and 600 people wanted to get  in, certainly in a virtual world,  you know, that, that that problem is largely taken care of everyone can attend.  Um, I think another great thing about virtual events is it is, and you  know, it  seems obvious, but but it really didn't completely light bulb didn't completely go off until we did it is that  it just makes it so much easier to go from  one thing to another. It's a click of the mouse as opposed to  walking across the hallway walking across  the street, whatever.  And certainly when we did  An entirely online event in March 2021, 1 of the things we found is that, that um, people were less siloed. Um, they were able  to  more easily moved from going to a panel to going to a recording of a band to going to a film  and in a real world event  scenario.  Um often that becomes difficult because again, you're having to walk somewhere. Um not that walking is  bad, but then you run into  someone and wow, this is cool and I'm not going to go there after all,  you get distracted. Now, that's part of what, what the, what the fun of the  event is is connecting with  people. But but again,  the virtual nature certainly I think allows  people to experience  the depth and breadth of an event  that you often can't do in  person.  Um and I think that that um  while networking is different with virtual events very different, you don't  have that, you  don't,  for most platforms have that serendipity factor.  Um It is also,  there are a lot of advantages for people, for people who are really, you know, strategic and what they want to get out of the event where um and I think that's that's who gets the most events of people who are strategic, who say, you know, I'm going to this event because I want to meet these kinds of people  and virtual event platforms, most of them,  uh most of the best ones are very good in terms of, you can target  those kinds of people, you can set  up meetings in advance. Um and you're, you know, you're losing that serendipity factor, but you're not leaving things to chance, you're able to make those  connections. So  again, there are a lot of  of advantages to virtual events as we move forward with south by southwest. Um, you know, we'll we'll  we'll push back a  little more to to  I. R. L. And that will be our  in real life will  be our primary focus. But certainly we're going to incorporate more of what we've learned  from virtual  into  uh, into what we  do and  augment, strengthen,  improve the experience for a  lot of our audience that way,

Rachel Moore:  those great points, all of those obviously we, we agreed to, but um, as someone who went to South by southwest in person, oh gosh, I think it was 2000  15 maybe. Um, and I did, I was there solo and I learned a lesson there. I'm like, man, there's just so much here I need to take in. But even just having to try  to either walk or get an  Uber or a lift to across across town to one of the panels, I, I definitely have an appreciation for the virtual aspect of it. As you just said, it can really help reduce kind of some of those obstacles that might let not let me get  to a certain session. I really  wanted to get to,  well,  certainly in the, in the tech

Hugh Forrest:  vernacular  and  we hate  jargon, but it sure. But  whatever, you know, that's  that's that's what  we call friction,  right? Um, that that  it is something  that that  prevents  you from  doing  easily doing what you want  to do and again,  that online world  with the virtual capacity,  that the  friction  is significantly  reduced. Um, and that's a, that's  a neat thing.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, well, um, we only have a little bit more time with you, but I definitely want to give you a chance to share with us  our listeners, you  Have, I believe south by southwest 2022 is coming up  in March and we'd love to, I'd love to let you share a little bit.

SUBTOPIC: What Can We Expect? 00:27:48-00:29:24

Rachel Moore:  What can we expect? What, what do you want people to come and see virtually or in person? What, what are you guys planning for us this next year?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah,  well, we are  incredibly excited knock on wood that we will be back to a, a  having some kind of viral capacity. This  will be our first  Real World Events since 2019. Um, so,  so  first and foremost, that  is  exciting um  daunting in many ways, but exciting  On the one hand,  in terms of  content will have a couple of new areas of, of um  uh focus will, will have a lot of uh, sessions this year on transportation. Um part  of that is  because um South by Southwest always tends  to be a reflection  of what is happening  in Austin and the one of our  recent  transplants,  that number one spokesman for Doggie coin living in Austin um has  made the  city much more of a  transportation town.  I'm  referring of course to  even musk and the  the the cybertruck factory that they were building here.  So we have a much very vibrant transportation industry now  and will reflect that at south by  southwest, that'll be neat. Um  We're also doing more

SUBTOPIC: What Can We Expect? 00:27:48-00:29:24

Rachel Moore:  What can we expect? What, what do you want people to come and see virtually or in person? What, what are you guys planning for us this next year?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah,  well, we are  incredibly excited knock on wood that we will be back to a, a  having some kind of viral capacity. This  will be our first  Real World Events since 2019. Um, so,  so  first and foremost, that  is  exciting um  daunting in many ways, but exciting  On the one hand,  in terms of  content will have a couple of new areas of, of um  uh focus will, will have a lot of uh, sessions this year on transportation. Um part  of that is  because um South by Southwest always tends  to be a reflection  of what is happening  in Austin and the one of our  recent  transplants,  that number one spokesman for Doggie coin living in Austin um has  made the  city much more of a  transportation town.  I'm  referring of course to  even musk and the  the the cybertruck factory that they were building here.  So we have a much very vibrant transportation industry now  and will reflect that at south by  southwest, that'll be neat. Um  We're also doing more

SUBTOPIC: South by Southwest 00:29:24-00:33:18

Hugh Forrest:  that that I think  a lot of us are are very focused on. Um  and what we talked about in the in the intro of  our  various weather patterns here, um we're doing more things with, you know,  we're continuing to do more things with space, space industry. I know there's vibrant space industry where you are in Denver, similar in Austin  um also  Denver irish type  topics we're doing  continue to do more within um cannabis and the various startup opportunities there and then um  this emerging psychedelic industry uh and where that is and how that is in some ways, similar to where cannabis was 10 years ago. So, so these are some of the, the,  the more interesting or at least more interesting to me most interesting to me topics that will be  Covering for 2020  two. I will say it is slightly higher perspective,  You know, what we do for 2022 will be very much in line what we've done for the past 30 years is again  try to bring together  extremely  creative people in a  variety of industries. I  Think one of the biggest  advantages or  value  as  or  differentials of South by  southwest as we have so many  different  kinds of industries  that come together.  And  um on  the one hand, you can learn a lot from other  people in your industry.  On the other  hand, you can also learn a  ton from people in  different industries in  terms of how they  work and you can make connections in those different industries that can lead to all  kinds of new opportunities.  And that's always kind of been our, our  formula for success  is, is putting together  very  creative people from very  different industries. Put them together in a city  that always celebrates  creativity. Put them together in March when  it's getting warmer in Austin and it's still  cold in Denver and it's  a uh  tends to have  some, some really neat outcomes.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, no, for sure. And and uh and and that leads me to one of my next question is kind of starting to wrap up our time together.  Where can we find you online? And, and also, if you want to share, where do we find South by Southwest online.

Hugh Forrest:  South by Southwest is easy. It's sxsw dot com, that's um  always the best  place to get South by Southwest information. Uh, for me,  I am on the  twitters at, at Hugh  underscore  w underscore  forest. Um  that's a little bit hard to remember,  but I'm  also always  are generally always receptive to  email and you can email me at you at sXsW dot com and happy to answer  any questions you have about South by southwest. Any of your  audience has about South by Southwest. Happy to  talk about ways to get  involved, Happy to  share whatever  meager expertise I've developed over  30 years  on this stuff. Um we're all kind of in this together and, and again,  I I'm  a firm firm believer in the power of community  and  love to hear other from, from  the event community  on best practices  and lessons learned from  mistakes made.

Rachel Moore:  Uh yeah, I think we're all here for that. And then I wanna, I mean seriously how, how  I love what you said to, I think I feel like we hear that so often we're all in this together. We really are, you know, and especially the event planning community for all of us listening and  and commiserating with this. We are, we're  all trying to learn  and you know, again, you you've you've brought some insights to that we can learn from and and things that were  also taking away from what,  how we've had to shift or the successes we've had and the failures. Um, and just testing things out. But um, but yeah, I  totally agree with that and I  love what you said about community. It's so true. Um

SUBTOPIC: Topics For 2022 00:29:24-00:33:18

Hugh Forrest:  that that I think  a lot of us are are very focused on. Um  and what we talked about in the in the intro of  our  various weather patterns here, um we're doing more things with, you know,  we're continuing to do more things with space, space industry. I know there's vibrant space industry where you are in Denver, similar in Austin  um also  Denver irish type  topics we're doing  continue to do more within um cannabis and the various startup opportunities there and then um  this emerging psychedelic industry uh and where that is and how that is in some ways, similar to where cannabis was 10 years ago. So, so these are some of the, the,  the more interesting or at least more interesting to me most interesting to me topics that will be  Covering for 2020  two. I will say it is slightly higher perspective,  You know, what we do for 2022 will be very much in line what we've done for the past 30 years is again  try to bring together  extremely  creative people in a  variety of industries. I  Think one of the biggest  advantages or  value  as  or  differentials of South by  southwest as we have so many  different  kinds of industries  that come together.  And  um on  the one hand, you can learn a lot from other  people in your industry.  On the other  hand, you can also learn a  ton from people in  different industries in  terms of how they  work and you can make connections in those different industries that can lead to all  kinds of new opportunities.  And that's always kind of been our, our  formula for success  is, is putting together  very  creative people from very  different industries. Put them together in a city  that always celebrates  creativity. Put them together in March when  it's getting warmer in Austin and it's still  cold in Denver and it's  a uh  tends to have  some, some really neat outcomes.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, no, for sure. And and uh and and that leads me to one of my next question is kind of starting to wrap up our time together.  Where can we find you online? And, and also, if you want to share, where do we find South by Southwest online.

Hugh Forrest:  South by Southwest is easy. It's sxsw dot com, that's um  always the best  place to get South by Southwest information. Uh, for me,  I am on the  twitters at, at Hugh  underscore  w underscore  forest. Um  that's a little bit hard to remember,  but I'm  also always  are generally always receptive to  email and you can email me at you at sXsW dot com and happy to answer  any questions you have about South by southwest. Any of your  audience has about South by Southwest. Happy to  talk about ways to get  involved, Happy to  share whatever  meager expertise I've developed over  30 years  on this stuff. Um we're all kind of in this together and, and again,  I I'm  a firm firm believer in the power of community  and  love to hear other from, from  the event community  on best practices  and lessons learned from  mistakes made.

Rachel Moore:  Uh yeah, I think we're all here for that. And then I wanna, I mean seriously how, how  I love what you said to, I think I feel like we hear that so often we're all in this together. We really are, you know, and especially the event planning community for all of us listening and  and commiserating with this. We are, we're  all trying to learn  and you know, again, you you've you've brought some insights to that we can learn from and and things that were  also taking away from what,  how we've had to shift or the successes we've had and the failures. Um, and just testing things out. But um, but yeah, I  totally agree with that and I  love what you said about community. It's so true. Um

SUBTOPIC: What's Going On With The Boston Red Sox? 00:33:18-00:35:31

Rachel Moore:  so thank you for that. I do want to give you one last opportunity to, about the boston red sox, Go ahead. What are your thoughts, What's going on? You're actually gonna educate me because like I said, I am not in touch,

Hugh Forrest:  well I caught the red Sox disease when I was a kid, that's how most people  catch these kinds of  irrational  afflictions or affections or whatnot.  And uh it's, it's been a  lifelong passion of  mine um something fun to do  in the summer.  Um  They had a great season  in  2021 simply because they were very  low expectations and exceeded  that.  Looking  Forward to 2022.  Um  and uh as we talked, there is a lockout.  So hopefully  that will be resolved by um  spring and you know, we'll have a summer of  baseball to enjoy again. But yeah, I mean the red Sox are a lot of fun and  ah  great to to continue to celebrate their  successes or  commiserate with their many failures.

Rachel Moore:  I  think we all do that with our sports teams. I'm actually, I'm in a, I'm in a nice ride right now. I, I I'm a fan of the  colorado avalanche a hockey  team and  so I got into that. Yeah, yeah, well and  more people hopefully will because guess what? Even though we're in colorado and  not, you know, run the  East coast were actually  pretty cool. Um  But yeah, we uh we just wrote a game  last night. I'm a little horse from that  today actually. But  yeah, so I  have to circle back, I'll  have to circle back with you because by the time,  by the time we're  hitting summer, their season  will be done. We'll see how they do. Hopefully  Stanley cup bound.  But um, and then I'll  just check with you and see like how, how  the, how the red sox are looking and where  things are and how excited you are to get  to  get to  follow them during the summer season. Hopefully.  Yeah. Um,  and then, uh,  last thing I want to ask you, is there anything that you're listening  to reading or watching  that is that you can't put down  or you know,  that I know you're busy, we have talked about your business,

SUBTOPIC: What's Going On With The Boston Red Sox? 00:33:18-00:35:34

Rachel Moore:  so thank you for that. I do want to give you one last opportunity to, about the boston red sox, Go ahead. What are your thoughts, What's going on? You're actually gonna educate me because like I said, I am not in touch,

Hugh Forrest:  well I caught the red Sox disease when I was a kid, that's how most people  catch these kinds of  irrational  afflictions or affections or whatnot.  And uh it's, it's been a  lifelong passion of  mine um something fun to do  in the summer.  Um  They had a great season  in  2021 simply because they were very  low expectations and exceeded  that.  Looking  Forward to 2022.  Um  and uh as we talked, there is a lockout.  So hopefully  that will be resolved by um  spring and you know, we'll have a summer of  baseball to enjoy again. But yeah, I mean the red Sox are a lot of fun and  ah  great to to continue to celebrate their  successes or  commiserate with their many failures.

Rachel Moore:  I  think we all do that with our sports teams. I'm actually, I'm in a, I'm in a nice ride right now. I, I I'm a fan of the  colorado avalanche a hockey  team and  so I got into that. Yeah, yeah, well and  more people hopefully will because guess what? Even though we're in colorado and  not, you know, run the  East coast were actually  pretty cool. Um  But yeah, we uh we just wrote a game  last night. I'm a little horse from that  today actually. But  yeah, so I  have to circle back, I'll  have to circle back with you because by the time,  by the time we're  hitting summer, their season  will be done. We'll see how they do. Hopefully  Stanley cup bound.  But um, and then I'll  just check with you and see like how, how  the, how the red sox are looking and where  things are and how excited you are to get  to  get to  follow them during the summer season. Hopefully.  Yeah. Um,  and then, uh,  last thing I want to ask you, is there anything that you're listening  to reading or watching  that is that you can't put down  or you know,  that I know you're busy, we have talked about your business,  but anything that  you're just like, I'm really  into this right now.

SUBTOPIC: What Are You Into Right Now? 00:35:31-00:37:46

Rachel Moore:  you're just like, I'm really  into this right now.

Hugh Forrest:  Well,  it's mid  december as we tape.  Um, like a lot of people, um,  uh, digesting processing, enjoying  the get back documentary  on Disney plus the Beatles thing. It's uh, you know, I'm a,  as are most of us,  Beatles fan, I'm not fanatic, but I'm a fan, but it's also, um,  I think just a phenomenal,  an exhaustive study of, of the creative process of, you know, locking people in a room and forcing them  to overcome  their  personal differences and watching them, you know, uh, take nothing and develop that into a, a song that we've all heard in the space of, you know,  30  minutes an hour. And that is, that is fascinating. So that's been a, that's been a joy to watch recently. I'm not, I'm not necessarily a binge watcher and more savory things like  15 minutes at a time,  but that's,  that's a real neat thing and, and you know, again tying that back to South by southwest, I'm always  a huge  fan of understanding creative processes for people and how that, what they do to, to  come up with new ideas. Um it's something I think about a lot of uh you know, how can I be personally more creative  as opposed to just, you know, just answering emails,  which is,  there's a talent to that, but it's also just kind of, you know, it's just kind of  road  work. Um  and what we all  want to do is, you know,  think of the next big brainstorm and getting inspired by how other people do. That is always one of the things that I enjoy doing

Rachel Moore:  awesome.  Well I have not checked out that  documentary, but it will now thank you on your recommendation but awesome,  awesome stuff and  I really again  appreciate you sharing everything,  all your expertise, but also a little bit about yourself, we're all  humans like you mentioned and it's  great to just meet a fellow  human  who's in this  whole event  planning  industry

SUBTOPIC: Get Back Docentary 00:35:35-00:37:46

Hugh Forrest:  Well,  it's mid  december as we tape.  Um, like a lot of people, um,  uh, digesting processing, enjoying  the get back documentary  on Disney plus the Beatles thing. It's uh, you know, I'm a,  as are most of us,  Beatles fan, I'm not fanatic, but I'm a fan, but it's also, um,  I think just a phenomenal,  an exhaustive study of, of the creative process of, you know, locking people in a room and forcing them  to overcome  their  personal differences and watching them, you know, uh, take nothing and develop that into a, a song that we've all heard in the space of, you know,  30  minutes an hour. And that is, that is fascinating. So that's been a, that's been a joy to watch recently. I'm not, I'm not necessarily a binge watcher and more savory things like  15 minutes at a time,  but that's,  that's a real neat thing and, and you know, again tying that back to South by southwest, I'm always  a huge  fan of understanding creative processes for people and how that, what they do to, to  come up with new ideas. Um it's something I think about a lot of uh you know, how can I be personally more creative  as opposed to just, you know, just answering emails,  which is,  there's a talent to that, but it's also just kind of, you know, it's just kind of  road  work. Um  and what we all  want to do is, you know,  think of the next big brainstorm and getting inspired by how other people do. That is always one of the things that I enjoy doing

Rachel Moore:  awesome.  Well I have not checked out that  documentary, but it will now thank you on your recommendation but awesome,  awesome stuff and  I really again  appreciate you sharing everything,  all your expertise, but also a little bit about yourself, we're all  humans like you mentioned and it's  great to just meet a fellow  human  who's in this  whole event  planning  industry

SUBTOPIC: The 21st Century Church 00:37:46-00:39:16

Rachel Moore:  and we really appreciate your time.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's been fun to, to,  to chat with you about the red sox and about hockey  and maybe about event industry also and um  good luck to all  of us as we  navigate  these  still somewhat difficult waters. Um, but you know, I  mean, my  my last  thought that I will leave you with is that,  you know, what we do in the event  industry is  is really, really important. We provide people  inspiration,  connections,  information. I think that in many ways what we do was  Something that that, you know, other institutions like the church did 50 years ago, 100 years ago. We are, in a sense, the 21st Century Church, and and and  it's not too hyperbolic to say that's a sacred trust between us and our community. So  the more we can think about this, the more we can do better on this, the more that we can  help people to achieve what  they want to achieve at their  events,  the slightly better we're making the world and that's a good thing.

Rachel Moore:  Absolutely  excellent. Works to end  on couldn't agree more. And thank  you so much. Again, this has been  inspiring,  awesome and relatable. And so those  are all the things we're trying to  hit. So thank you so much  and let's go to church

SUBTOPIC: The 21st Century Church 00:37:46-00:39:16

Rachel Moore:  and we really appreciate your time.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's been fun to, to,  to chat with you about the red sox and about hockey  and maybe about event industry also and um  good luck to all  of us as we  navigate  these  still somewhat difficult waters. Um, but you know, I  mean, my  my last  thought that I will leave you with is that,  you know, what we do in the event  industry is  is really, really important. We provide people  inspiration,  connections,  information. I think that in many ways what we do was  Something that that, you know, other institutions like the church did 50 years ago, 100 years ago. We are, in a sense, the 21st Century Church, and and and  it's not too hyperbolic to say that's a sacred trust between us and our community. So  the more we can think about this, the more we can do better on this, the more that we can  help people to achieve what  they want to achieve at their  events,  the slightly better we're making the world and that's a good thing.

Rachel Moore:  Absolutely  excellent. Works to end  on couldn't agree more. And thank  you so much. Again, this has been  inspiring,  awesome and relatable. And so those  are all the things we're trying to  hit. So thank you so much  and let's go to church


TOPIC: What's Your Perspective on the... 00:20:49-00:39:16

SUBTOPIC: What's Your Perspective on the Event Industry? 00:20:49-00:27:48

Rachel Moore:  absolutely,  and yeah, you're,  you're saying  all the things that resonate with every  single event planner out there and, and you know,  and it's refreshing to know to this happens at every  level, you know, and whether  you have a big team or you're doing  it yourself, um it  it just comes  down to those those details. Um  I'd like to shift a little bit too, you've had a really, probably had a  really good perspective  on,  you know, we've had,  and this is from  you below standpoint, we're a virtual event platform. We absolutely can work with hybrid, where it's  a mix of an  in person event versus, you know, and a virtual event, we can do fully virtual and we can be a supplement to a really majority in person event um what have you seen as  and events in  general and what,  you know, South by Southwest  obviously, um you know,  you guys are thinking about this too,  but what are you  seeing as far as like  live versus virtual events,  has the  events industry in your opinion, been able to to accomplish  a decent shift  or pivot  in trying to make  sure there  as they had to move to virtual to hold events, were  they doing a good job of that or there's things that you saw,  you're like, oh that actually  was better than life events  or  you  know, how have you seen that kind  of more of that evolution and what's your perspective on  on how we've done as an

Hugh Forrest:  industry?  Well,  I think,  you know, the event industry is like  almost every other industry in the pandemic that that um  Covid forced us  to you  Know, do five years or 10 years of growth in the space of 12 months, 18 months. We all  generally everyone had to learn how to go go virtual and we should have been learning this beforehand, but we're, we most, most of us weren't. Um  uh so  you know, I think that on the one hand,  um  we, as humans are hardwired for personal, face to face interaction  and I know there's you know, there's a lot of pent up demand for events as we hopefully emerge from from Covid and can get back to that  on the other hand, you know, having gone through a cycle now where we did a fully virtual event,  um,  you, you certainly are, one certainly gets much more of an understanding of how many advantages  there are for a virtual  event and from a south by southwest standpoint,  some of those advantages are as follows. One of our biggest pain points within our growth, you know, it's great to grow,  but it's also one of our biggest pain points is we had, you know, we would inevitably have rooms with the  a great speaker, a great band, a great film that not everyone could get into and you know, because he only had,  You know, 500 seats  and 600 people wanted to get  in, certainly in a virtual world,  you know, that, that that problem is largely taken care of everyone can attend.  Um, I think another great thing about virtual events is it is, and you  know, it  seems obvious, but but it really didn't completely light bulb didn't completely go off until we did it is that  it just makes it so much easier to go from  one thing to another. It's a click of the mouse as opposed to  walking across the hallway walking across  the street, whatever.  And certainly when we did  An entirely online event in March 2021, 1 of the things we found is that, that um, people were less siloed. Um, they were able  to  more easily moved from going to a panel to going to a recording of a band to going to a film  and in a real world event  scenario.  Um often that becomes difficult because again, you're having to walk somewhere. Um not that walking is  bad, but then you run into  someone and wow, this is cool and I'm not going to go there after all,  you get distracted. Now, that's part of what, what the, what the fun of the  event is is connecting with  people. But but again,  the virtual nature certainly I think allows  people to experience  the depth and breadth of an event  that you often can't do in  person.  Um and I think that that um  while networking is different with virtual events very different, you don't  have that, you  don't,  for most platforms have that serendipity factor.  Um It is also,  there are a lot of advantages for people, for people who are really, you know, strategic and what they want to get out of the event where um and I think that's that's who gets the most events of people who are strategic, who say, you know, I'm going to this event because I want to meet these kinds of people  and virtual event platforms, most of them,  uh most of the best ones are very good in terms of, you can target  those kinds of people, you can set  up meetings in advance. Um and you're, you know, you're losing that serendipity factor, but you're not leaving things to chance, you're able to make those  connections. So  again, there are a lot of  of advantages to virtual events as we move forward with south by southwest. Um, you know, we'll we'll  we'll push back a  little more to to  I. R. L. And that will be our  in real life will  be our primary focus. But certainly we're going to incorporate more of what we've learned  from virtual  into  uh, into what we  do and  augment, strengthen,  improve the experience for a  lot of our audience that way,

Rachel Moore:  those great points, all of those obviously we, we agreed to, but um, as someone who went to South by southwest in person, oh gosh, I think it was 2000  15 maybe. Um, and I did, I was there solo and I learned a lesson there. I'm like, man, there's just so much here I need to take in. But even just having to try  to either walk or get an  Uber or a lift to across across town to one of the panels, I, I definitely have an appreciation for the virtual aspect of it. As you just said, it can really help reduce kind of some of those obstacles that might let not let me get  to a certain session. I really  wanted to get to,  well,  certainly in the, in the tech

Hugh Forrest:  vernacular  and  we hate  jargon, but it sure. But  whatever, you know, that's  that's that's what  we call friction,  right? Um, that that  it is something  that that  prevents  you from  doing  easily doing what you want  to do and again,  that online world  with the virtual capacity,  that the  friction  is significantly  reduced. Um, and that's a, that's  a neat thing.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, well, um, we only have a little bit more time with you, but I definitely want to give you a chance to share with us  our listeners, you  Have, I believe south by southwest 2022 is coming up  in March and we'd love to, I'd love to let you share a little bit.

SUBTOPIC: What's Your Perspective on the Event Industry? 00:20:49-00:27:48

Rachel Moore:  absolutely,  and yeah, you're,  you're saying  all the things that resonate with every  single event planner out there and, and you know,  and it's refreshing to know to this happens at every  level, you know, and whether  you have a big team or you're doing  it yourself, um it  it just comes  down to those those details. Um  I'd like to shift a little bit too, you've had a really, probably had a  really good perspective  on,  you know, we've had,  and this is from  you below standpoint, we're a virtual event platform. We absolutely can work with hybrid, where it's  a mix of an  in person event versus, you know, and a virtual event, we can do fully virtual and we can be a supplement to a really majority in person event um what have you seen as  and events in  general and what,  you know, South by Southwest  obviously, um you know,  you guys are thinking about this too,  but what are you  seeing as far as like  live versus virtual events,  has the  events industry in your opinion, been able to to accomplish  a decent shift  or pivot  in trying to make  sure there  as they had to move to virtual to hold events, were  they doing a good job of that or there's things that you saw,  you're like, oh that actually  was better than life events  or  you  know, how have you seen that kind  of more of that evolution and what's your perspective on  on how we've done as an

Hugh Forrest:  industry?  Well,  I think,  you know, the event industry is like  almost every other industry in the pandemic that that um  Covid forced us  to you  Know, do five years or 10 years of growth in the space of 12 months, 18 months. We all  generally everyone had to learn how to go go virtual and we should have been learning this beforehand, but we're, we most, most of us weren't. Um  uh so  you know, I think that on the one hand,  um  we, as humans are hardwired for personal, face to face interaction  and I know there's you know, there's a lot of pent up demand for events as we hopefully emerge from from Covid and can get back to that  on the other hand, you know, having gone through a cycle now where we did a fully virtual event,  um,  you, you certainly are, one certainly gets much more of an understanding of how many advantages  there are for a virtual  event and from a south by southwest standpoint,  some of those advantages are as follows. One of our biggest pain points within our growth, you know, it's great to grow,  but it's also one of our biggest pain points is we had, you know, we would inevitably have rooms with the  a great speaker, a great band, a great film that not everyone could get into and you know, because he only had,  You know, 500 seats  and 600 people wanted to get  in, certainly in a virtual world,  you know, that, that that problem is largely taken care of everyone can attend.  Um, I think another great thing about virtual events is it is, and you  know, it  seems obvious, but but it really didn't completely light bulb didn't completely go off until we did it is that  it just makes it so much easier to go from  one thing to another. It's a click of the mouse as opposed to  walking across the hallway walking across  the street, whatever.  And certainly when we did  An entirely online event in March 2021, 1 of the things we found is that, that um, people were less siloed. Um, they were able  to  more easily moved from going to a panel to going to a recording of a band to going to a film  and in a real world event  scenario.  Um often that becomes difficult because again, you're having to walk somewhere. Um not that walking is  bad, but then you run into  someone and wow, this is cool and I'm not going to go there after all,  you get distracted. Now, that's part of what, what the, what the fun of the  event is is connecting with  people. But but again,  the virtual nature certainly I think allows  people to experience  the depth and breadth of an event  that you often can't do in  person.  Um and I think that that um  while networking is different with virtual events very different, you don't  have that, you  don't,  for most platforms have that serendipity factor.  Um It is also,  there are a lot of advantages for people, for people who are really, you know, strategic and what they want to get out of the event where um and I think that's that's who gets the most events of people who are strategic, who say, you know, I'm going to this event because I want to meet these kinds of people  and virtual event platforms, most of them,  uh most of the best ones are very good in terms of, you can target  those kinds of people, you can set  up meetings in advance. Um and you're, you know, you're losing that serendipity factor, but you're not leaving things to chance, you're able to make those  connections. So  again, there are a lot of  of advantages to virtual events as we move forward with south by southwest. Um, you know, we'll we'll  we'll push back a  little more to to  I. R. L. And that will be our  in real life will  be our primary focus. But certainly we're going to incorporate more of what we've learned  from virtual  into  uh, into what we  do and  augment, strengthen,  improve the experience for a  lot of our audience that way,

Rachel Moore:  those great points, all of those obviously we, we agreed to, but um, as someone who went to South by southwest in person, oh gosh, I think it was 2000  15 maybe. Um, and I did, I was there solo and I learned a lesson there. I'm like, man, there's just so much here I need to take in. But even just having to try  to either walk or get an  Uber or a lift to across across town to one of the panels, I, I definitely have an appreciation for the virtual aspect of it. As you just said, it can really help reduce kind of some of those obstacles that might let not let me get  to a certain session. I really  wanted to get to,  well,  certainly in the, in the tech

Hugh Forrest:  vernacular  and  we hate  jargon, but it sure. But  whatever, you know, that's  that's that's what  we call friction,  right? Um, that that  it is something  that that  prevents  you from  doing  easily doing what you want  to do and again,  that online world  with the virtual capacity,  that the  friction  is significantly  reduced. Um, and that's a, that's  a neat thing.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, well, um, we only have a little bit more time with you, but I definitely want to give you a chance to share with us  our listeners, you  Have, I believe south by southwest 2022 is coming up  in March and we'd love to, I'd love to let you share a little bit.

SUBTOPIC: What Can We Expect? 00:27:48-00:29:24

Rachel Moore:  What can we expect? What, what do you want people to come and see virtually or in person? What, what are you guys planning for us this next year?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah,  well, we are  incredibly excited knock on wood that we will be back to a, a  having some kind of viral capacity. This  will be our first  Real World Events since 2019. Um, so,  so  first and foremost, that  is  exciting um  daunting in many ways, but exciting  On the one hand,  in terms of  content will have a couple of new areas of, of um  uh focus will, will have a lot of uh, sessions this year on transportation. Um part  of that is  because um South by Southwest always tends  to be a reflection  of what is happening  in Austin and the one of our  recent  transplants,  that number one spokesman for Doggie coin living in Austin um has  made the  city much more of a  transportation town.  I'm  referring of course to  even musk and the  the the cybertruck factory that they were building here.  So we have a much very vibrant transportation industry now  and will reflect that at south by  southwest, that'll be neat. Um  We're also doing more

SUBTOPIC: What Can We Expect? 00:27:48-00:29:24

Rachel Moore:  What can we expect? What, what do you want people to come and see virtually or in person? What, what are you guys planning for us this next year?

Hugh Forrest:  Yeah,  well, we are  incredibly excited knock on wood that we will be back to a, a  having some kind of viral capacity. This  will be our first  Real World Events since 2019. Um, so,  so  first and foremost, that  is  exciting um  daunting in many ways, but exciting  On the one hand,  in terms of  content will have a couple of new areas of, of um  uh focus will, will have a lot of uh, sessions this year on transportation. Um part  of that is  because um South by Southwest always tends  to be a reflection  of what is happening  in Austin and the one of our  recent  transplants,  that number one spokesman for Doggie coin living in Austin um has  made the  city much more of a  transportation town.  I'm  referring of course to  even musk and the  the the cybertruck factory that they were building here.  So we have a much very vibrant transportation industry now  and will reflect that at south by  southwest, that'll be neat. Um  We're also doing more

SUBTOPIC: South by Southwest 00:29:24-00:33:18

Hugh Forrest:  that that I think  a lot of us are are very focused on. Um  and what we talked about in the in the intro of  our  various weather patterns here, um we're doing more things with, you know,  we're continuing to do more things with space, space industry. I know there's vibrant space industry where you are in Denver, similar in Austin  um also  Denver irish type  topics we're doing  continue to do more within um cannabis and the various startup opportunities there and then um  this emerging psychedelic industry uh and where that is and how that is in some ways, similar to where cannabis was 10 years ago. So, so these are some of the, the,  the more interesting or at least more interesting to me most interesting to me topics that will be  Covering for 2020  two. I will say it is slightly higher perspective,  You know, what we do for 2022 will be very much in line what we've done for the past 30 years is again  try to bring together  extremely  creative people in a  variety of industries. I  Think one of the biggest  advantages or  value  as  or  differentials of South by  southwest as we have so many  different  kinds of industries  that come together.  And  um on  the one hand, you can learn a lot from other  people in your industry.  On the other  hand, you can also learn a  ton from people in  different industries in  terms of how they  work and you can make connections in those different industries that can lead to all  kinds of new opportunities.  And that's always kind of been our, our  formula for success  is, is putting together  very  creative people from very  different industries. Put them together in a city  that always celebrates  creativity. Put them together in March when  it's getting warmer in Austin and it's still  cold in Denver and it's  a uh  tends to have  some, some really neat outcomes.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, no, for sure. And and uh and and that leads me to one of my next question is kind of starting to wrap up our time together.  Where can we find you online? And, and also, if you want to share, where do we find South by Southwest online.

Hugh Forrest:  South by Southwest is easy. It's sxsw dot com, that's um  always the best  place to get South by Southwest information. Uh, for me,  I am on the  twitters at, at Hugh  underscore  w underscore  forest. Um  that's a little bit hard to remember,  but I'm  also always  are generally always receptive to  email and you can email me at you at sXsW dot com and happy to answer  any questions you have about South by southwest. Any of your  audience has about South by Southwest. Happy to  talk about ways to get  involved, Happy to  share whatever  meager expertise I've developed over  30 years  on this stuff. Um we're all kind of in this together and, and again,  I I'm  a firm firm believer in the power of community  and  love to hear other from, from  the event community  on best practices  and lessons learned from  mistakes made.

Rachel Moore:  Uh yeah, I think we're all here for that. And then I wanna, I mean seriously how, how  I love what you said to, I think I feel like we hear that so often we're all in this together. We really are, you know, and especially the event planning community for all of us listening and  and commiserating with this. We are, we're  all trying to learn  and you know, again, you you've you've brought some insights to that we can learn from and and things that were  also taking away from what,  how we've had to shift or the successes we've had and the failures. Um, and just testing things out. But um, but yeah, I  totally agree with that and I  love what you said about community. It's so true. Um

SUBTOPIC: Topics For 2022 00:29:24-00:33:18

Hugh Forrest:  that that I think  a lot of us are are very focused on. Um  and what we talked about in the in the intro of  our  various weather patterns here, um we're doing more things with, you know,  we're continuing to do more things with space, space industry. I know there's vibrant space industry where you are in Denver, similar in Austin  um also  Denver irish type  topics we're doing  continue to do more within um cannabis and the various startup opportunities there and then um  this emerging psychedelic industry uh and where that is and how that is in some ways, similar to where cannabis was 10 years ago. So, so these are some of the, the,  the more interesting or at least more interesting to me most interesting to me topics that will be  Covering for 2020  two. I will say it is slightly higher perspective,  You know, what we do for 2022 will be very much in line what we've done for the past 30 years is again  try to bring together  extremely  creative people in a  variety of industries. I  Think one of the biggest  advantages or  value  as  or  differentials of South by  southwest as we have so many  different  kinds of industries  that come together.  And  um on  the one hand, you can learn a lot from other  people in your industry.  On the other  hand, you can also learn a  ton from people in  different industries in  terms of how they  work and you can make connections in those different industries that can lead to all  kinds of new opportunities.  And that's always kind of been our, our  formula for success  is, is putting together  very  creative people from very  different industries. Put them together in a city  that always celebrates  creativity. Put them together in March when  it's getting warmer in Austin and it's still  cold in Denver and it's  a uh  tends to have  some, some really neat outcomes.

Rachel Moore:  Yeah, no, for sure. And and uh and and that leads me to one of my next question is kind of starting to wrap up our time together.  Where can we find you online? And, and also, if you want to share, where do we find South by Southwest online.

Hugh Forrest:  South by Southwest is easy. It's sxsw dot com, that's um  always the best  place to get South by Southwest information. Uh, for me,  I am on the  twitters at, at Hugh  underscore  w underscore  forest. Um  that's a little bit hard to remember,  but I'm  also always  are generally always receptive to  email and you can email me at you at sXsW dot com and happy to answer  any questions you have about South by southwest. Any of your  audience has about South by Southwest. Happy to  talk about ways to get  involved, Happy to  share whatever  meager expertise I've developed over  30 years  on this stuff. Um we're all kind of in this together and, and again,  I I'm  a firm firm believer in the power of community  and  love to hear other from, from  the event community  on best practices  and lessons learned from  mistakes made.

Rachel Moore:  Uh yeah, I think we're all here for that. And then I wanna, I mean seriously how, how  I love what you said to, I think I feel like we hear that so often we're all in this together. We really are, you know, and especially the event planning community for all of us listening and  and commiserating with this. We are, we're  all trying to learn  and you know, again, you you've you've brought some insights to that we can learn from and and things that were  also taking away from what,  how we've had to shift or the successes we've had and the failures. Um, and just testing things out. But um, but yeah, I  totally agree with that and I  love what you said about community. It's so true. Um

SUBTOPIC: What's Going On With The Boston Red Sox? 00:33:18-00:35:31

Rachel Moore:  so thank you for that. I do want to give you one last opportunity to, about the boston red sox, Go ahead. What are your thoughts, What's going on? You're actually gonna educate me because like I said, I am not in touch,

Hugh Forrest:  well I caught the red Sox disease when I was a kid, that's how most people  catch these kinds of  irrational  afflictions or affections or whatnot.  And uh it's, it's been a  lifelong passion of  mine um something fun to do  in the summer.  Um  They had a great season  in  2021 simply because they were very  low expectations and exceeded  that.  Looking  Forward to 2022.  Um  and uh as we talked, there is a lockout.  So hopefully  that will be resolved by um  spring and you know, we'll have a summer of  baseball to enjoy again. But yeah, I mean the red Sox are a lot of fun and  ah  great to to continue to celebrate their  successes or  commiserate with their many failures.

Rachel Moore:  I  think we all do that with our sports teams. I'm actually, I'm in a, I'm in a nice ride right now. I, I I'm a fan of the  colorado avalanche a hockey  team and  so I got into that. Yeah, yeah, well and  more people hopefully will because guess what? Even though we're in colorado and  not, you know, run the  East coast were actually  pretty cool. Um  But yeah, we uh we just wrote a game  last night. I'm a little horse from that  today actually. But  yeah, so I  have to circle back, I'll  have to circle back with you because by the time,  by the time we're  hitting summer, their season  will be done. We'll see how they do. Hopefully  Stanley cup bound.  But um, and then I'll  just check with you and see like how, how  the, how the red sox are looking and where  things are and how excited you are to get  to  get to  follow them during the summer season. Hopefully.  Yeah. Um,  and then, uh,  last thing I want to ask you, is there anything that you're listening  to reading or watching  that is that you can't put down  or you know,  that I know you're busy, we have talked about your business,

SUBTOPIC: What's Going On With The Boston Red Sox? 00:33:18-00:35:34

Rachel Moore:  so thank you for that. I do want to give you one last opportunity to, about the boston red sox, Go ahead. What are your thoughts, What's going on? You're actually gonna educate me because like I said, I am not in touch,

Hugh Forrest:  well I caught the red Sox disease when I was a kid, that's how most people  catch these kinds of  irrational  afflictions or affections or whatnot.  And uh it's, it's been a  lifelong passion of  mine um something fun to do  in the summer.  Um  They had a great season  in  2021 simply because they were very  low expectations and exceeded  that.  Looking  Forward to 2022.  Um  and uh as we talked, there is a lockout.  So hopefully  that will be resolved by um  spring and you know, we'll have a summer of  baseball to enjoy again. But yeah, I mean the red Sox are a lot of fun and  ah  great to to continue to celebrate their  successes or  commiserate with their many failures.

Rachel Moore:  I  think we all do that with our sports teams. I'm actually, I'm in a, I'm in a nice ride right now. I, I I'm a fan of the  colorado avalanche a hockey  team and  so I got into that. Yeah, yeah, well and  more people hopefully will because guess what? Even though we're in colorado and  not, you know, run the  East coast were actually  pretty cool. Um  But yeah, we uh we just wrote a game  last night. I'm a little horse from that  today actually. But  yeah, so I  have to circle back, I'll  have to circle back with you because by the time,  by the time we're  hitting summer, their season  will be done. We'll see how they do. Hopefully  Stanley cup bound.  But um, and then I'll  just check with you and see like how, how  the, how the red sox are looking and where  things are and how excited you are to get  to  get to  follow them during the summer season. Hopefully.  Yeah. Um,  and then, uh,  last thing I want to ask you, is there anything that you're listening  to reading or watching  that is that you can't put down  or you know,  that I know you're busy, we have talked about your business,  but anything that  you're just like, I'm really  into this right now.

SUBTOPIC: What Are You Into Right Now? 00:35:31-00:37:46

Rachel Moore:  you're just like, I'm really  into this right now.

Hugh Forrest:  Well,  it's mid  december as we tape.  Um, like a lot of people, um,  uh, digesting processing, enjoying  the get back documentary  on Disney plus the Beatles thing. It's uh, you know, I'm a,  as are most of us,  Beatles fan, I'm not fanatic, but I'm a fan, but it's also, um,  I think just a phenomenal,  an exhaustive study of, of the creative process of, you know, locking people in a room and forcing them  to overcome  their  personal differences and watching them, you know, uh, take nothing and develop that into a, a song that we've all heard in the space of, you know,  30  minutes an hour. And that is, that is fascinating. So that's been a, that's been a joy to watch recently. I'm not, I'm not necessarily a binge watcher and more savory things like  15 minutes at a time,  but that's,  that's a real neat thing and, and you know, again tying that back to South by southwest, I'm always  a huge  fan of understanding creative processes for people and how that, what they do to, to  come up with new ideas. Um it's something I think about a lot of uh you know, how can I be personally more creative  as opposed to just, you know, just answering emails,  which is,  there's a talent to that, but it's also just kind of, you know, it's just kind of  road  work. Um  and what we all  want to do is, you know,  think of the next big brainstorm and getting inspired by how other people do. That is always one of the things that I enjoy doing

Rachel Moore:  awesome.  Well I have not checked out that  documentary, but it will now thank you on your recommendation but awesome,  awesome stuff and  I really again  appreciate you sharing everything,  all your expertise, but also a little bit about yourself, we're all  humans like you mentioned and it's  great to just meet a fellow  human  who's in this  whole event  planning  industry

SUBTOPIC: Get Back Docentary 00:35:35-00:37:46

Hugh Forrest:  Well,  it's mid  december as we tape.  Um, like a lot of people, um,  uh, digesting processing, enjoying  the get back documentary  on Disney plus the Beatles thing. It's uh, you know, I'm a,  as are most of us,  Beatles fan, I'm not fanatic, but I'm a fan, but it's also, um,  I think just a phenomenal,  an exhaustive study of, of the creative process of, you know, locking people in a room and forcing them  to overcome  their  personal differences and watching them, you know, uh, take nothing and develop that into a, a song that we've all heard in the space of, you know,  30  minutes an hour. And that is, that is fascinating. So that's been a, that's been a joy to watch recently. I'm not, I'm not necessarily a binge watcher and more savory things like  15 minutes at a time,  but that's,  that's a real neat thing and, and you know, again tying that back to South by southwest, I'm always  a huge  fan of understanding creative processes for people and how that, what they do to, to  come up with new ideas. Um it's something I think about a lot of uh you know, how can I be personally more creative  as opposed to just, you know, just answering emails,  which is,  there's a talent to that, but it's also just kind of, you know, it's just kind of  road  work. Um  and what we all  want to do is, you know,  think of the next big brainstorm and getting inspired by how other people do. That is always one of the things that I enjoy doing

Rachel Moore:  awesome.  Well I have not checked out that  documentary, but it will now thank you on your recommendation but awesome,  awesome stuff and  I really again  appreciate you sharing everything,  all your expertise, but also a little bit about yourself, we're all  humans like you mentioned and it's  great to just meet a fellow  human  who's in this  whole event  planning  industry

SUBTOPIC: The 21st Century Church 00:37:46-00:39:16

Rachel Moore:  and we really appreciate your time.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's been fun to, to,  to chat with you about the red sox and about hockey  and maybe about event industry also and um  good luck to all  of us as we  navigate  these  still somewhat difficult waters. Um, but you know, I  mean, my  my last  thought that I will leave you with is that,  you know, what we do in the event  industry is  is really, really important. We provide people  inspiration,  connections,  information. I think that in many ways what we do was  Something that that, you know, other institutions like the church did 50 years ago, 100 years ago. We are, in a sense, the 21st Century Church, and and and  it's not too hyperbolic to say that's a sacred trust between us and our community. So  the more we can think about this, the more we can do better on this, the more that we can  help people to achieve what  they want to achieve at their  events,  the slightly better we're making the world and that's a good thing.

Rachel Moore:  Absolutely  excellent. Works to end  on couldn't agree more. And thank  you so much. Again, this has been  inspiring,  awesome and relatable. And so those  are all the things we're trying to  hit. So thank you so much  and let's go to church

SUBTOPIC: The 21st Century Church 00:37:46-00:39:16

Rachel Moore:  and we really appreciate your time.

Hugh Forrest:  Thanks Rachel. It's been fun to, to,  to chat with you about the red sox and about hockey  and maybe about event industry also and um  good luck to all  of us as we  navigate  these  still somewhat difficult waters. Um, but you know, I  mean, my  my last  thought that I will leave you with is that,  you know, what we do in the event  industry is  is really, really important. We provide people  inspiration,  connections,  information. I think that in many ways what we do was  Something that that, you know, other institutions like the church did 50 years ago, 100 years ago. We are, in a sense, the 21st Century Church, and and and  it's not too hyperbolic to say that's a sacred trust between us and our community. So  the more we can think about this, the more we can do better on this, the more that we can  help people to achieve what  they want to achieve at their  events,  the slightly better we're making the world and that's a good thing.

Rachel Moore:  Absolutely  excellent. Works to end  on couldn't agree more. And thank  you so much. Again, this has been  inspiring,  awesome and relatable. And so those  are all the things we're trying to  hit. So thank you so much  and let's go to church

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