This past weekend was filled with epic moments of the SXSW-kind – from hearing Elon Musk talk about how he wants to see travel to Mars happen in his lifetime, to getting drenched in a downpour after dancing to DJ Spooky in an underground wine cellar. We’re constantly hearing that this event is all about serendipity, and being open to moments as they happen; to have a plan but be ready to scrap it at a moment’s notice, and that is a great way to approach SXSW.
Except for when it comes to Elon Musk. This was one talk I – or anyone else for that matter – was not going to scrap for anything. The South African-born space explorer gave insight into his life as the head of three multi-billion dollar, game-changing companies – SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Solar City – at Day 2 of SXSW. Here is a great (w)rap up of it from Saul Paul. The organizers had him sum up the keystones of Musk’s interview with author Chris Anderson:
I also wrote about it for Memeburn, so you can read that here. But it was interesting to hear someone like him say that his biggest mistake has been to put more emphasis on someone’s talent over their personality. Musk said he thinks it’s important to have a good heart, and that should be even more important than skill level and accomplishment. A killer combination of all that would be the ultimate though – so no harm in continuing to pursue the best!
More great and inspiring words came from Newark mayor Cory Booker, who told SXSWers that he is going to run for Senate. The man should run for the President in a few years time, he’s got the right kind of attitude needed for higher office. As mayor, he’s used Twitter to really engage with his constituents and I’ve seen how he replies to such a large number of people that it’s no wonder he’s the poster-man for coffee.
As for the film portion of my SXSW adventure, I managed to see Some Girl(s), which was originally a play by Neil LeBute and stars Adam Brody, and Before Midnight, the third and final piece in Richard Linklater’s love letter to life and human connection. Neil, who adapted the script for the Some Girl(s) wasn’t in town for the premiere, due to weather-affected travel delays, but Adam was, and he sat in front of me, squirming a little in his seat during the film’s more intimate moments.
An absolute highlight though was seeing how Jesse and Celine face the cold hard truth of life at 40 in Linklater’s Before Midnight. He was there to introduce the film, telling us stories about being at the first incarnation of SXSW Film 20 years ago. The movie is set in Greece this time and it will leave you applauding the filmmaker with even more respect and admiration than he already commands.