Tech Guru to Close SXSW Interactive
Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe to speak at 2016 fest
By Richard Whittaker,
11:00AM, Mon. Sep. 21, 2015
It may not have the day parties and world premieres of Music or Film, but SXSW Interactive is where the future is formed. Now the technological fest has confirmed Andy Puddicombe of mindful meditation app Headspace as its closing speaker.
Founded in 2010, Headspace combined Puddicombe's experiences as a Buddhist monk with his business partner Rich Pierson's background in marketing, and has brought meditation techniques to over two million online subscribers worldwide.
Puddicombe joins a roster of SXSW 2016 speakers that includes MBAs Across America CEO and opening keynote Casey Gerald, world traveller and food expert Anthony Bourdain, Black Girls CODE founder Kimberly Bryant, Vox media CEO Jim Bankoff, and Facebook global director for diversity Maxine Williams (as announced in the first and second rounds of speakers).
Puddicombe's firm melds tech with the increasing scientific evidence that backs up the centuries-old spiritual claims about the benefits of meditation. That health-centric thinking about tech is what inspired SXSW to launch its MedTech strand in 2015, which was a big enough success that it will return in 2016. The sub-set of the bigger festival is already taking the pulse of 2016 attendees, with a series of events in Austin, Boston, Burlington, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, Washington, and London, England across Sept. 22-30.
As for the rest of the fest, SXSW Interactive director Hugh Forrest has announced that staff are picking through public votes and review results on the record 4,000 entries submitted through the PanelPicker system, and will be announcing the over 500 sessions for 2016 on October 19.
SXSW Interactive runs March 11-15, 2016. Full details at www.sxsw.com/interactive.
Keep up with all the SXSW news you need, plus our huge archive of previews, interviews, and reviews from SXSW past, at www.austinchronicle.com/sxsw.