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Why you need to pay attention to Austin, TX, this week

As most of us begin to thaw out, there are literally thousands of people converging from all over the world on the eclectic city of Austin, TX. Their goal is to bask in the present, but mostly the future, of the film, music and interactive technology industries. From March 12 – 21, attendees will be treated to panel discussions and small group gatherings headed up by some of the premier talents in their fields.

So why, you may ask, should this appeal to the financial professional in you? Because on Saturday, March 13, at 5 PM one such panel will be tackling the issue of innovation in the finance. The session, titled Data is Money: How Geeks are Changing Finance is bringing together “experts in finance and technology to talk about how the future of finance will be influenced by data geeks and technologists.”

On a broad scope, the discussion will delve into new financial data formats, like XBRL, and how they can be combined with other recent advances to help create a better financial system.

Specifically, the panel will attempt to answer such questions as:

  • What are the main issues in finance today both for individuals and for the macro economy?
  • What are some of the standards that are emerging for financial data?
  • What is XBRL?
  • What are the implications of XBRL?
  • What were some of the causes of the financial meltdown and how could they be prevented with better technology?
  • What are some of the ways people are using new financial data formats to improve the financial system?

Panelists will be Aaron Patzer, VP and General Manager of Intuit’s Personal Finance Group, managing the Mint and Quicken Desktop brands; Shawn Carpenter, developer of YCharts; and Jesper Andersen, co-founder of Freerisk and Product Manager for Data and Econometrics at

With these innovative and visionary thinkers at the helm, this discussion is sure to provide a positive impact on all in attendance. Which gets us to the final point. Even if you’re not in attendance, you can follow along if you have a Twitter account. Using Twitter’s search function, type #dataismoney and you’ll get all the highlights from the discussions that attendees tag with that phrase.

For that matter, if you’re interested in film, music or interactive technology, you can check out the full schedule of events and discussions here. When you find a title you like, click on it for a brief description, then click for event details and you’ll get the hashtag for that event, too. It’s a great way to keep up with some of the valuable insights that are sure to come out of this year’s SXSW Conference. Additionally, many speakers will post links to their slides and speaking notes after the fact. It’s almost as good as being there. Almost.