PREPARING FOR TAKEOFF
A look at Hugh Forrest’s day on the eve of Interactive’s opening.
Rise and shine at the Forrest residence in the north end of Hyde Park.
Forrest returns to the site of his high school prom, the historic Driskill Hotel, for a different kind of date: breakfast with Al Roker.
A meeting with the members of the Interactive staff. These meetings become daily once SXSW rolls around.
Camping out with his battle-worn Macbook behind the scenes in “Production Village”—a wonderland of folding tables and electrical cords—as registration begins for Interactive.
A quick meeting with the Irish consulate general in Austin. (Ireland is working to build its tech industry and recently established a consulate in Austin.) Forrest is introducing the prime minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, at a keynote Sunday. “I am deadly afraid that I am not going to pronounce these words correctly,” Forrest says of the Gaelic in his planned speech.
Intern Henry Heuck ’15 pops into the workspace with a logistical question involving Lego blocks. Forrest quickly sorts it out.
With a 1:15 introductory address looming, Forrest reviews his notes, printed on a wrinkled sheet of computer paper.
Forrest turns his attention to a slideshow presentation for his speech at the Interactive opening session, filling in blanks and adding art. (One slide header: “thanks thanks thanks.”)
It’s go time on the 1:15 introduction for one of the closing speakers for SXSWedu. With a 5-Hour Energy shot nestled in his pocket, Forrest strides upstairs to the third floor of the convention center.
Introduction over; back to Production Village.
Lunch: Mountain Dew and M&Ms.
Time for an interview at the Belmont, a bar nearly a mile away. Forrest hails a pedicab and delicately squeezes in—no easy feat for a man who is 6’5”.
Arrival at the Belmont. Pedicab driver gets a hefty tip.
The editor of the Daily Beast, tall boy in hand, meets with Forrest for an interview in the back room of the Belmont about the role that policymakers at SXSW have in the tech industry.
Forrest emerges from the interview (“That was stretching whatever intelligence I have left,” he remarks) and retreats to the convention center to clear out his inbox.
His last event of the day—the Dewey Winburne Community Awards, where he’ll once again address a crowd.