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Tech never stops

In 1987, email was called electronic mail and was used primarily by universities and the military, the euro didn’t exist, many phones used dials to enter numbers and an Apple Macintosh computer cost ­today’s equivalent of $5,500. And some 700 people attended the first-ever SXSW festival in Austin. A lot has happened since.

The first-ever SXSW event takes place with a focus on new music. Some 700 people attend.

SXSW moves to the Austin Convention Center where it is still held today. The venue is now known as the Neal Kocurek ­Memorial Austin ­Convention Center.

First film event takes place. The SXSW Film and ­Media Conference (SFMC) kicks off with eight panel sessions, 36 speakers and two world premieres. This year also sees the first interactive ­sessions.

The SXSW Film and Media Conference splits into two events – SXSW Film and SXSW Multimedia.

SXSW’s official website is launched for the first time.

SXSW Multimedia is ­officially renamed SXSW ­Interactive in 1997. Event director Hugh Forrest says the name change is “an accurate reflection of the industry we service – more and more people are using the Internet more and more often.”

Notable speakers include Sean Parker from ­music file sharing startup Napster, ­Larry Page (of Google) and Evan Williams, who will later go on to co-found Twitter.

Twitter hits the headlines as it wins a web award in the SXSW Blog Category. Although it is widely held that the service was launched at SXSW, that is not actually true, but it nevertheless goes on to become one of the world’s biggest social networks.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg takes part in a one-on-one “car crash” interview that descends into chaos. Airbnb launches at SXSW with its first two customers, one of which is CEO ­Brian Chesky.

SXSW becomes seen more and more as a commercial outlet for new technologies. In 2012, Nike launches the activity monitor Nike + Fuelband across both the Interactive and Music components of SXSW.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of SXSW Interactive.

Barack Obama becomes the first-ever sitting president in SXSW history to appear at the event. In a one-on-one session, he talks about civic engagement in the 21st century and climate change. His wife, First Lady Michelle, also attends, to discuss her “Let Girls Learn” initiative.

Premiere for the podcast stage. The rise of the podcast is marked with a new stage featuring some 30 live productions.

Elon Musk attends a Q&A session, and besides Tesla, he talks about his dreams of mankind inhabiting Mars thanks to his SpaceX project. Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also appears, to discuss politics and the ­future of the US.

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