Always Learning

Posted by Anthony | about 4 years ago



South by South West (SXSW) takes place every March in Austin, Texas. What started off in 1987 as a music festival has turned into a technology fan fest that has been the launchpad of several startups including Twitter, Foursquare, and Foodspotting. Today, SXSW has expanded to cover four internationally attended tracks - Music, Film, Interactive, and Education.  

Over the decades, SXSW's goal remains to bring together people to meet and share ideas. In support, individuals have the opportunity to submit a “proposal” – a concept, film, technology, or song – to “present” during their chosen track. Who ultimately gets to “present” is determined based on votes, and voting is going on now!

This year the Plug & Play team has put forward three ideas. We are very excited by the themes they represent. Each one highlights technology innovation at Pearson and showcases Pearson’s focus on digital collaboration. Our proposals, and their associated URLs for voting, are:

All About Hackathons (

Can Small and Large Companies Get Along (

Evangelism: Silicon Valley vs. Silicon Alley (

We would truly appreciate it if you would take a minute and cast your vote.  If our panels are selected, we hope to see some of you in the audience!

Included below is a brief summary of each proposal.  Please contact Gregg Alpert or Anthony Cuellar with any questions.


All About Hackathons is just that… all about Hackathons. More specifically, how they provide value to the different stakeholders involved, from event organizers to sponsors, developers, and API providers. Hackathons let developers collaboratively build out ideas typically using APIs provided by the sponsors or publicly available. What started out as a fringe activity, appealing to developers and startups, has shifted into the mainstream. Now the corporate world is recognizing how rapid and typically unstructured exploration can fuel growth and innovation.  Gregg Alpert, a Developer Evangelist in the Future Technologies team, will moderate a panel consisting of representatives from each stakeholder group.

The question of Innovate or Suffocate is important to most businesses operating today.  Or to put it into more straightforward terms… Instead of eating the little fish, what would happen if the big fish partnered up with the little fish? In Can Small and Large Companies Get Along, Diana Stepner, Head of Future Technologies, explores the potential. Can collaborations deliver meaningful business returns for both small and large organizations? What are the considerations when embarking on such a partnership? What do companies of all sizes need to learn in order to collaborate more effectively? These are just a few topics that will be discussed.

In Evangelism: Silicon Alley vs. Silicon Valley, Anthony Cuellar, a Developer Evangelist in the Future Technologies team, leads a panel discussion featuring developer evangelists, community managers, and advocates from San Francisco and New York City.  These are the fabled cat herders of our day as their ‘magical powers’ enable them to corral developers and ensure wondrous innovations see the light of day.  Does the magic differ in Silicon Alley in comparison to Silicon Valley?  Surfacing the coastal nuances, panelists from both camps will share their experiences, successes, and failures spanning topics such as hackathons, developer relations, app development, and funding.

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Always Learning