Originally published on March 16, 2016 by Farad Manjoo on The New York Times.
I got to South by Southwest late over the weekend, well after President Obama addressed the throngs of bearded engineers and other enthusiasts who flock to this annual festival of tech, music, film, barbecue and tacos.
But despite the late arrival, I was quickly immersed in the scene. I was hopped up on Go Cubes, the caffeine-infused gummy snacks that have been compared to candied nuggets of cocaine, which took the conference by storm this year. I was dressed in a suit made by Ministry of Supply, a men’s clothing company that makes business wear with the performance characteristics of athletic clothes. These were not accidental product choices; they are signifiers of a newly influential cultural class.
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