The word Texas conjures up images of cowboys, tumbleweed and George Bush. But Austin – the state’s capital city – isn’t what you’d expect at all. It’s dynamic, full of life and more than a little bit weird. Most importantly, it’s the host city for SXSW – a set of film, interactive and music festivals that take place annually.

Thousands of tech enthusiasts, digital nerds and social media geeks turned up this year to hear talks about everything from crowd-sourced space exploration to 3D printing. And we were there.

Here are the highlights:
3D printing
Designing and producing innovative products is getting easier as 3D scanning and printing technology develops.

Space: the new entrepreneurial frontier
Space exploration is no longer only up to governments. Savvy entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are investing in future space ventures.

In April this year, a Kickstarter project raised $5 million to make a Veronica Mars movie. One of the biggest trends discussed at SXSW 2013 was the future of crowd-funding – not only in the creative space but also for local governments and projects.

Al Gore on the future
Touching on robosourcing (the replacement of human workers with machines), cloning and genetic engineering, Al Gore spoke about the current state of the planet, the US government’s abuse of technology and the future of democracy.

Google glass
As one of the most talked about recent developments in tech, Google Glass was of special interest at SXSW. Paying special attention to how Glass blends into everyday life, Google’s Timothy Jordan spoke about where the project is headed and how apps would be designed to meet the requirements of Glass users.
While most of the focus was on tech, websites like TaskRabbit indicated how important social recruitment is becoming. Which is why you need to keep ahead of the curve by updating your profile.