Abby was able to participate in the Thursday evening TechCrawl event that sounds like an urban triathlon of driving, walking, and crowd surfing Portland’s tech community. We met up the following morning at OMSI for continental breakfast and chatted about our shared excitement of technology and planned out a strategy for her to partake in the talent fair that was taking place in conjunction with the two-days of presentations.
All of the first morning’s presenters were outstanding! Mara Zepeda, Co-Founder and CEO of Switchboard, Kara Swisher, Co-CEO of Revere Digital, who is also Co-Executive Editor at RE/CODE and Co-Executive Producer for The Code Conference, Scott Bedbury, CEO of Brandstream, and Alan Wizemann, VP of Product at Target. I was pleasantly surprised by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s talk on privacy in the digital age. He truly appears to be an advocate for protecting citizen’s rights when it comes to technology and is doing his part to make sure laws are revised or new laws are passed to protect our personal information.
Lunch was hosted by TechFestNW in an outdoor tent catered by OMSI. The afternoon sessions were even better with Steve Emerson, Co-vfx Supervisor, Georgina Hayns, Supervisor, Puppet Fabrication, and Brian McLean, Director of Rapid Prototype all from LAIKA who gave us some great insights into the creation and a sneak peak of their new movie coming out, The Boxtrolls.
Friday’s kick-off party was held at Theory, which is OMSI’s restaurant and one of their event spaces that has recently been renovated, was one of the better cocktail receptions I had been to in some time. Very impressive from the food to the staff to the beverage selection.
After a relaxing stop in the Pearl district for another quick snack and drinks, we headed over to Pure Space for the official after party that started at 9pm. Unfortunately, the VIP seating area was being reserved for these two very important bags of balls, that were later hurled into the crowd. See if you can pick up on who was sponsoring the event.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, the conference picked up at 9am with Stumptown Coffee and a very nice breakfast spread from Kind Snacks, who also sponsored the delicious snack breaks. Again, another fantastic line up of presenters: Sce Pike, Managing Partner of Citizen, Justin Ferrell, Fellowships Director for d.school at Stanford, Nat Parker, Co-Founder of GlobeSherpa, Tad McGeer, Founder and President of Aerovel Corporation, Steve Adler, Director of Mobile Technology with the NFL, Sam Hulick, Founder of User OnBoarding, and Brenden Mulligan, Co-Founder and Designer at Cluster.
The stand out for me was Mike Dubin, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Dollar Shave Club who shared his start up story and the creative marketing techniques he has used to launch his very successful internet venture. Also, if you every get a chance to meet this incredible women, Director of User Experience Research at Intel, Genevieve Bell’s presentation on The Prehistory of Robots and Why it Still Matters was incredible and proved that you don’t have to have a background in tech to be relevant and make a difference in the future of technology.
Loved the take away bag of goodies that include a t-shirt emblazoned with this year’s TechFestNW logo which I have to say was outstanding. It worked well in print, on the website, and on signage throughout the event. Abby did make it to the talent fair a couple of times and made some really great connections. We both commented that the presentations were not necessarily technical in nature, but were very visionary in the technology and internet worlds, which are increasing become one in the same.