South by Southwest Has Added Special Programming to Discuss ‘Tech Under Trump’

Grappling with the next administration

Members of the technology community will address what a Trump presidency means for the industry at South by Southwest in March.

The Austin, Texas-based festival has added special programming, aptly titled "Tech Under Trump," to "inform attendees about how the tech/startup ecosystem will likely change over the next four years," wrote Linda Park, head of messaging for SXSW, in a blog post.

"As the role and the effects on the tech industry in a Trump administration come into focus, there are a lot of critical questions and conversations currently taking place within this community," Hugh Forrest, chief programming officer for SXSW, told Adweek.

He added: "Programming topics will range from startup ecosystem, blockchain, electric vehicles and Internet of Things, to how government agencies, such as the FCC, may be affected under a Trump administration." 

The programming, which will take place on Wednesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 16 and be part of the festival's Tech Industry Track, is also an effort to "inspire [festival] registrants on how to bridge the many gaps and divisions that the election has revealed," explained Park. 

Speakers for the "Tech Under Trump" programming include Patrick Curry (VR Austin), Anil Dash (Fog Creek), Melinda Epler (Change Catalyst), Ashish Gadnis (banquapp.com), Jeff Howe (author of "Whiplash"), Eli Pariser (Upworthy), Dave Pell (Next Draft), Erin Schrode (journalist and activist), Wayne Sutton (Change Catalyst) and Molly Wood (MarketPlace).

There are no plans to add a member of the Trump administration to the programming, according to Forrest, but "that could change as we move forward (and particularly if the administration begins to adopt a more inclusive approach)." 

The festival plans to announce more speakers and sessions soon. In addition to "Tech Under Trump," the festival will address the new administration in panels under its Government, Journalism, Social Impact and Startup Village tracks, too.