One of the biggest ideas that came out of SXSW Interactive was Bruce Sterling's idea of stacks: behemoth companies that try to internalise your use of the Internet but without its open values – Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. They each have developed "an OS, sociality, a pet mobile device, a marketplace and internal payment system, productivity software" – a vertically integrated silo, built on the Internet but having little to do with it. He witheringly described how these companies treat their users as "livestock", herding people from one part of their service to another and "reduce you to dog status, not a … participant". The stack business model is selling privacy, and "none offer security to anyone other than shareholders".
But the size of the stacks, and their continual desire to render the other stacks obsolete mean that they're brittle and can disappear very quickly – such as AOL, Yahoo! or Nokia. They also tend to depend on hero leaders, and this means in the long-term stacks are unstayable.
The other Bruce in town was Bruce Springsteen, and he gave a keynote in SXSW Music highlighting his musical heroes: