Why We Held Our Own SXSW

November 7, 2023

For years, SXSW has been a hub for visionary thinkers, thought-provoking talks, and unforgettable moments. It truly is a place where innovators and dreamers gather to inspire one another.

And this year was no different. Three of our Hopeful Monsters attended some of the most important and forward-thinking discussions and conversations circling our industry. Each day they would report back to the wider team with the highlights and why it was relevant to the work that we do. A genuinely good system.

But SXSW has its drawbacks. Firstly, it naturally creates a sense of FOMO. Industry titans across the globe flock to LinkedIn to get the obligatory “badge pic” as a sign of their attendance. And if you want to banish that FOMO from your brain, it’s going to cost you. Somewhere in the region of $1,895 for the full experience.

Now I’m not just saying this because I’m the Marketing Manager around these parts, but I genuinely believe that if they thought it was worth it, the Hopeful Monsters top dogs would have forked out the $41,690 to send us all to SXSW. After all, we do have a Head of Hungry ready to splash the cash on staff development at a moment's notice.

But would it have been worth it?

In my opinion, probably not. It would have been a flex. And it would have given into the FOMO that the festival naturally creates.

So, in addition to our on-site reporters at SXSW, continuously furnishing us with valuable insights and information, we decided to turn our focus inward.

We knew we could harness that same energy and thought-provoking discussion internally. With this idea in mind, we set the stage for our very own Hopeful Monsters SXSW, where we had the chance to take the spotlight, sharing our passions, experiences, and expertise with the rest of the Hopeful Monsters team.

Over an afternoon, 19 Hopeful Monsters took to the stage to discuss an array of topics. From Neorodiversity to The Love of Luke Bryant. From Body Positivity to Imposter Syndrome. From The Geordie Language to The Curious Correlation Between Swimming Pool Deaths and Nicholas Cage Movies.

Over in the US, they say “Keep Austin Weird”. It definitely got weird here at Hopeful Monsters. But it was bloody brilliant. 

For one afternoon, we witnessed a side of our colleagues that often remains obscured in the busy creative atmosphere of Hopeful Monsters HQ. It was a moment to hit the pause button and delve into what truly matters to us. Whether it was about accumulating as many Qantas points as humanly possible or deriving life lessons from some of the world's most cunning scams. HMxSXSW didn’t cost $41,690 to attend. HMxSXSW was priceless. Check out the full list of speakers and talks below.

What’s The Point?

A deep dive into the world of point accumulation. 

By Alycia Raco

The Curious Case of Nicolas Cage Movies and Death by Pool Drownings

With great correlation, doesn’t necessarily come great causation.

By Blair Ellis

Life Lessons as a Brighton & Hove Albion Fan

Apart from having massive seagulls, it’s a pretty incredible place. 

By Carl Moggridge

How a 15-year old Swede Changed Hip-Hop Forever

Hip-hop revolutions don’t discriminate by age. 

By Connor Sprague

Neurodiversity. The Past, Present and Future

The evolution of changing attitudes towards neurodiversity in the workplace. 

By Dinesha Guruge

The Problem with My Voice

Does having a regional accent have an impact on your life? 

By Garry Dawson

The Guy Who Told Fine Art to Shove it

A modern day David vs Goliath story. Except it’s all played out through social media. 

By Georgia Madigan

True Crime Podcasts that Changed the Game

Not a fan of true crime? Here’s where to get hooked. 

By Jade Glashoff

Why The Sims 4 Failed

Didn’t know it failed? Well it did. And here’s why. 

By Jasmine Cooper-McCreedie


Is everyone hanging out without me? 

By Joe Wrightson

Married to Creativity

When you get married and can’t prep a presentation so charm everyone with wedding photos. 

By Kate Latimer

Imposter Syndrome: Why It's a Good Thing at Any Age

Why it’s OK to feel imposter syndrome. No matter where you’re at in your career. 

By Katie Barclay


Why should you care? 

By Melaina Roberto

Why Country Music is So Underrated

You’re about to be hit with a cold hard helping of Luke Bryant. And you’re going to love it. 

By Lucy Coulthart

Lessons Good People Can Learn From Scammers

Let bad people help you be a better person. 

By Meagan Wenke

What is a Blender?

The importance of character tics in cinematography.

By Patrick Timms

To Bee or Not to Bee

The importance of bees. And an epic David Attenbrough remix. 

By Tegan Knight

How Dave Filoni Changed Star Wars Forever

You’ve probably never heard of him, but he’s a pretty big deal in and around the galaxy. 

By Terence Tiglao

Why My Mum is Hot

The magic of hot water in keeping you looking and feeling HOT. 

By Tiffany Seeto

Words by Garry Dawson.