SXSW 2013: Geeks Come to Austin for South by Southwest


"3-D printing has a keynote spot, which means it's important and that we'll likely see a lot of odd little startups hawking 3-D businesses and wares," Lance Ulanoff, the Editor in Chief of Mashable, told ABC News.

Julie Uhrman, the CEO of Ouya, the company making a $99 open-source gaming console, is also one of the keynotes at the conference.

The One Big App?

Which leads to what many say is the biggest change at the show: the absence of the one big app. At the 2007 festival, a small start-up that let you send 140-characther updates took off -- it was, of course, called Twitter. Then in 2009, Foursquare took off at the geek-testing grounds.

"I think Twitter's launch at SXSW is something that has helped our growth immensely," Forrest said. "That said, it's a double-edge sword. Everyone is expecting something that's going to launch at SXSW that's going to overtake Twitter."

Scoble says that the days of that big app are past for this festival. "It is different than when Twitter or Foursquare got big; it is 45,000 people now, it's hard to get all those people excited about one app," Scoble said.

Still, many of the people in Austin will be testing and playing around with the latest apps and services, many of which might be the next big thing. Scoble said he believes that productivity apps, like TaskBox or Mailbox or Tempo, will make a big splash this year. Ulanoff said he thought messaging apps would continue to be the focus.

But ultimately, Forrest believes, we really won't even know this week if the next big thing will be talked about at SXSW 2013.

"We won't know what the breakout app or item was for a couple of years," he said. "No one could have imagined that Twitter grew to what it was or even what it was two years ago. We are a preview of the future. It's hard to judge what would be hot now."

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