day_3_sxsw

It’s Day Three at SXSW, i.e. humpday for the interactive attendees. And what a day it was.

photo 4 (3)

Lyft’s stiltwalker. She’s also a driver!

From Grumpy Cat to stiltwalkers to Nas interviewing Ben Horowitz, the festival has descended into madness. Tonight will be even better, given that Snoop Dogg-Lion-Godzilla is playing the PayPal-Braintree party. Invitations are so coveted that even the VIP listers aren’t guaranteed access.

The rain has cleared up from yesterday’s misery and the crowds are out in force on 6th street. Lyft opted out from the free piggy back rides of yesteryear. Instead it brought stilt walkers, parkour acrobats, and a giant pink runway. Plus pogs and skip-its! Exciting.

Passers-by are getting schooled in what Lyft is. One Lyft staffer summed up the company as “Uber’s competitor” to an Austin resident who has never heard of it. Just pink and furrier.

photo 3 (2)These guys are running around giving out nuts, although I’m not entirely clear why. A few blocks down, there’s a long line of hopefuls who want to try out Oculus Rift. “It’s not moving,” the guy at the end sighs sadly.

At the conference itself — which no one seems to actually attend or talk about — the keynote was Anne Wojcicki from 23andMe. She preached the importance of cheap genetics testing for all. She also admitted the FDA decision put a damper on the company’s growth.

Paul Carr spoke on a panel about why print is amazing. Nice timing given the recent Newsweek print relaunch. On Pando’s strategy to break into the hot wearables market with our new print quarterly: “You could fashion the magazine into a serviceable hat– that’s our wearable strategy.” I’d buy one.

The best panel of the day, hands-down, was Ben Horowitz’s talk on his new book, where Nas made an appearance as the interviewer. The fairly odd couple also danced and rapped on stage at Ashton Kutcher’s party last night. Why wasn’t this the keynote?

Quote of the day, courtesy of a Twitter user in the panel audience:

Nas: “Let’s talk about self-driving cars.”

Ben Horowitz: “Okay.”

Nas: “…..those exist.”

Dropping some deep #wisdom there.

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 4.14.36 PMBack on the streets, I finally tracked down Grumpy Cat. He was hiding in the Mashable House, looking rather resigned to his perpetual fate of flashing photography. Wait, isn’t that guy holding him from the movie Knocked Up?

photo 1 (3)

A few minutes of sleuthing later, and yeap that guy is famousish. Grumpy Cat is posing with the stars of the new HBO show Silicon Valley. Pete Cashmore stands nearby looking approving. I mistook him for movie star Chris Pine for a solid ten minutes. He’s too beautiful to be a journalist.

And look, I ran into Bryan Goldberg! Hot off the tails of his Google Ventures buyout.

My head’s going to explode from all the excitement.