what we're seeing (and loving) in austin this week

To help our clients See Tomorrow, Cassandra has boots on the ground in Austin, trendspotting at SXSW. In between talks, panels, and activations, we’ve been visiting booths at the exhibitions. Read on to see one of our favorite innovators from each exhibit.


A key takeaway from various metaverse panels and talks has been that identity will be paramount in the metaverse, and it will have an emotional impact on others. Imagine a virtual world in which you didn’t need to be an avatar and could simply be yourself. That’s the idea behind Proto (formerly Portl). With a motto of “If you can’t BE there, BEAM there,” the company’s devices are bringing holograms to homes, offices, and beyond. The use cases are endless: imagine a CEO giving a town hall to employees all around the globe, a musician dropping an album in a dozen cities (already done by Migos), a professor teaching a class at multiple campuses, or an expert surgeon virtually helping fellow surgeons during a complex surgery in a different location. With Proto, all of this is possible. We were impressed – and so were SXSW judges, who awarded them the Innovation Award, for the “Connecting People” category.


Building empathy is a key use of VR and we saw this coming to life over the last few days with multiple VR experiences dedicated to helping do just that. Godwana VR, for example, thinks that it is important to have empathy for the climate crisis. However, they also recognize those who are passionate about ending the climate crisis often feel like they are fighting a battle that can’t be won. So, instead of creating one more experience that could cause a feeling of doom, they decided to focus on helping participants feel like part of the solution. The more time you spend in the Godwana VR experience, the more resilient the virtual Daintree forest becomes. And while the VR experience is all about building the resilience of the virtual Daintree, they hope that it will inspire users to help the physical Daintree rainforest by donating.


If you thought pea protein was innovative, just wait until you try Chocho, an ancient legume with more protein than quinoa, soy, and chickpeas combined. Mikuna, a plant-based nutrition company founded by a fifth-generation farmer from Ecuador, is turning Chocho into delightfully-flavored protein powders, which can be used to whip up smoothies and other tasty treats. We had the opportunity to sample it this week, and it’s truly delicious – and, as it turns out, it’s sustainable, too. Chocho grows in the Andes mountains and is a regenerative and drought-resistant plant.

Have a tip on an exciting cultural moment or trend? Have feedback on how to make Cassandra Daily better? Just want to chat about this topic? Email us at info@cassandra.co.