barack-obama-sxsw

The larger SXSW has grown over the years, the more big names have grown to become part of it. Long distancing itself from the tag of hallow ground for indie artists and the next class of rising talent in music, SXSW has placed more emphasis on the other things that made Austin great, namely tech and interactive additions to SXSW. This year may have brought the biggest name of all as President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address during the Interactive portion’s opening day on Friday.

Obama became the first sitting President to hold court at SXSW. Joined by Evan Smith, Editor-In-Chief of The Texas Tribune, President Obama spoke for about 50 minutes during the keynote, urging tech companies to help fight some of America’s biggest issues including climate change, national privacy vs. security in the wake of Apple vs. the federal government and increased participation in the political process on both sides. Standing inside The Long Center For Creative Art, Obama said, “The reason I’m here is to recruit all of you. We can start coming up with new platforms, new ideas across disciplines and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems we’re facing today.”

The keynotes continue within the First Family as First Lady Michelle Obama is set to hit Austin this upcoming Wednesday for her Let Girls Learn initiative, a program designed to to break barriers in regards to female education. Currently, 62 million girls around the world are not getting proper education. The event also coincided with the Democratic National Committee fundraiser which took place in Austin, featuring an opening performance from J. Cole.

“I love J. Cole,” the President told the crowd of over 2,000 at the Austin Music Hall. “The benefit of having teenage daughters is I actually keep up. And I got a chance to see J. Cole’s mom and grandma.”

Watch the keynote below (President Obama begins speaking around the 41:00 mark).

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