Follow Viget at SXSW 2016

SXSW Veteran Ben Eckerson interviews the Viget crew that will be in attendance and shares two can’t-miss panels.

As February draws to a close, the collective interactive agencies, techies and brands of the world are preparing for talks and workshops, planning their own schedules for panels, pinging contacts and RSVPing for parties and meetups — and with two weeks until SXSW, Viget is no different. This year we have a record 11 Viget folks attending from 5 labs, 4 of those will be giving talks / conducting workshops. With such a turnout, and as the Viget SXSW Veteran, I thought I’d give you a who’s who and what’s what of the Viget crew at SXSW.

Our Team

Tommy Marshall

Tommy Marshall, Front-end Developer. (Schedule.)

Q. As a Southby newbie, what do you expect at SXSW?

A. I expect to be getting lost, being overwhelmed, and having a panic attack when I lose my other Viget coworkers.

Lawson Kurtz

Lawson Kurtz, Developer. (Schedule)

Q. Returning in consecutive years, what will you be doing differently this year (that you regret / learned from last year)?

A. I’ll definitely make more plans in advance. People’s schedules fill up quickly, so getting your coffee/drinks/meetings on the books early is key. It’s important to take advantage of the fact that everyone in the industry is in the same place at the same time. I’ll also wear comfier shoes.

Justin Sinichko

Justin Sinichko, Hardware Engineer. (Schedule)

Q. Are you nervous for your talk?

A. Nervous? No, pretty excited actually. We’ve done this workshop before at places like Duke’s innovation lab, which led to an awesome Harry Potter clock — I can only imagine what might come out of this one!

Ben Travis

Ben Travis, Digital Analyst / Communications Manager. (Schedule)

Q. It’s an impressive list of speakers this year, who do you think is the smartest or most entertaining speaker on the docket?

A. Oh, you mean other than the speakers from Viget? I'm not going to pick just one, but I am super stoked to hear from founders like Biz Stone, industry experts like Paolo Malabuyo, and disrupters like Kevin Kelly.

Eli Fatsi

Eli Fatsi, Developer. (Schedule)

Q. As a guy who’s never been to Austin, what comes to mind when you think of the city?

A. Barbecue, cool scene, heat and everything being bigger (in that order). Oh, and Willie Nelson.

Zach Robbins

Zach Robbins, Senior Digital Strategist. (Schedule)

Q. What pieces of advice have you been sharing with the SXSW newbies?

A. Well that depends on who I’m talking to, but I’d say 1) RSVP for all the things early (so you can choose later what to go to) and 2) if a talk has popular speakers they fill up fast, so show up early and don’t plan to go to whatever you had on your schedule before it.

Mike Ackerman

Mike Ackerman, Developer. (Schedule)

Q. Ignoring your lack of SXSW experience, as a guy that likes food, and has been to Austin, what lunch spot do you recommend most?

A. Tacodeli — that’s easy. But for those who like cool dive bars, there’s an awesome karaoke place that sells cheese balls called Ego’s. You’re welcome.”

Nate Hunzaker

Nate Hunzaker, Senior Front-end Developer. (Schedule)

Q. What is the single most thing you are looking forward to?

A. Honestly, hanging out with other Vigets in Austin and absorbing cool digital media.

Owen Shifflett

Owen Shifflett, Art Director. (Schedule)

Q. If you could go to just one panel this year what would it be?

A. I’d have to go with The Eyes of Robots and Murderers (with JJ Abrams & Andrew Jarecki). Everyone in the creative field wants to be a storyteller, yet we constantly stumble by relying on cold, digital tools to be the vehicle for our messages. I hope to learn how Mr. Abrams tackles these challenges in his medium so I can see how they relate to the challenges in mine. Also. Star Wars.

Brian Williams

Brian Williams, Co-Founder & CEO

Q. With such a high number of Viget attendees, what do you expect to get out of SXSW?

A. First, having four people speak at such a major conference is fantastic. I’m proud of our guys for putting in the time to pitch, prep, and deliver great talks / workshops. Second, I expect us all to learn a lot and share new perspectives back with the full Viget team - so we all benefit from Sx, not just those of us who make the trip to Austin. Third, I expect to meet a ton of interesting people. Some old friends, some new ones. Finally, since all 11 of us from Viget will be sharing a house rather than split up into hotel rooms, I expect us to bond as a team in a way that only happens when you live together for a long weekend.

Ben Eckerson

Ben Eckerson, Senior Digital Strategist. (Schedule)

Q. Was it odd asking your coworkers questions like this?

A. Not as odd as responding as if I asked myself a question, but pretty odd. Either way, I am excited for Southby that’s for sure!

Our Talks

This year we have two intensive technical workshops, that unfortunately for us (and you) happen at the same time. Be sure to register in advance, or if you miss out, we’d love to meet up for a beer or some tacos so contact us.

Beginning iOS Development with React Native

  • When: Sunday, March 13, 11:00AM - 3:00PM
  • Where: JW Marriott, Salon B, 110 E 2nd St.

Using React Native, you can build native applications using the JavaScript language, development workflow, and toolkit you already know and love. In this workshop, Viget’s own Lawson Kurtz and Nate Hunzaker will guide you through the development of your very first iOS app using just your existing knowledge of JavaScript.

First we’ll discuss the fundamentals of React Native. What is it? How does it work? Next we’ll provide a quick primer on building user interfaces with React. Then, together, we’ll build our very own iOS app. We'll cover everything, from setup, to built-in iOS UI elements, to styling, all the way to how to extend React Native when you need to. Learn more.

Intro to Connected Hardware

  • When: Sunday, March 13, 11:00AM - 3:00PM

  • Where: JW Marriott, Salon A, 110 E 2nd St.

This crash course in hardware hacking will teach the basics of connected hardware. Participants will learn electronic fundamentals during this hands-on course and develop a wifi-enabled project that can blast the web with data or be controlled remotely. Taught by Viget Lab hardware developers Justin Sinichko and Eli Fatsi, this workshop will build on top of Particle's Photon, an Arduino-like development kit that abstracts much of the complexity around connected devices. Note: This workshop is only available to the first 50 registrants.

We hope to see you in Austin!

Ben thinks big and dreams up digital strategies and campaigns for clients such as Conservation International, WRAL, and Duke from our Durham, NC, office.

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