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Good-School-Gründerin Simone Ashoff © Simone Ashoff

Blind business dates at South by Southwest in Texas

Guest commentary on SXSW by Simone Ashoff, Manager of Good School

We are flying off to South by Southwest! But not just like that. We have leased an American villa as you would imagine with five bedrooms. A ten-strong professional team of housemates will move in there. It will be a blind date as most of the ten do not know each other.

High-calibre candidates

Hamburg’s” Good School and SK+, a company for developing a culture of innovation led among others by Fabian Kienbaum, has rounded up the ten housemates. We were keen on a colourful mix such as the SVP for Social Innovation and Employer Branding at Siemens and the Digital Acceleration Lead for Operations and Strategy at Henkel. The other housemates include a woman who does research into organisation sociology and the daughter of a German bank dynasty.

Close SXSW friends in just a week

We don’t know each other yet, but we will be the closest of SXSW friends after a week: We will then have waited in long queues outside rooms at the congress, picknicked in dark rooms to avoid queuing up outside the door again. There we will sit, munching our sandwiches, and being hypnotised by Melinda Gates, Arnold Schwarzenegger, founders of various crypto currencies, the “Godmother of VR” Nonny de la Peña, the Lord Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and a few quantum-computing start-ups. We will have taken selfies with hip-hoppers and stars of U.S. series. We will piffle with top representatives of the tech sector – from YouTube and Facebook to IBM because they hang around “South” after their talks and panels with nothing to do. Really!

Ultimate Austin bucket list

And we will also work through our Austin bucket list with stops at Austin Rodeo, Salt Lick BBQ, live music at 6th Street, networking and partying in the German Haus, Austin rooftop parties, Reeperbahn Hamburgers and of our course, our own barbecue to which we will invite all those we get to know there. Although you can meet them at home, it’s magical in Austin.

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