DCWeek 2012 Ends on a Global Technology Stage

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Nov 13 2012 - 7:27am

Following suit of a successful opening weekend, the rest of DC Week 2012 proved to be an outstanding gathering of the Metro-area’s brightest minds in the tech industry.

Monday morning began with yet another sold out session titled Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is, which sought to explore social entrepreneurship with a panel of three guest speakers.  This session was also a part of the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer’s Connect.DC Fall 2012 Community Broadband Summit.  Afterwards, at Pillsbury Law Offices of Northwest DC, attendees gathered to learn more about why identifying their strengths is vital to maintaining healthy engagement in the workplace.  StrengthsInsight, in conjunction with Jobwonk, illustrated an exciting new application which helps professionals recognize their character strengths, and assists employers in finding the best candidate for their team.

Later on, BRINKmedia hosted a discussion at their U Street office on how to keep internet audience engaged in social media postings.  The (Anti)social Network session highlighted what is considered to be high-quality content and how to project that content to target audience in order to improve personal and company reach.  The night wrapped up at Restaurant Judy’s, where the Washington DC Comedy Writers group tried their hand at creating content focused on technology in honor of the festival.

Tuesday offered a shorter lineup, given the day’s top priority of getting voters out to exercise their rights.  The first session of the day brought together some of DC’s most influential event organizers to provide insight on How to Throw a Great Party!  Affinity Lab supplied the space for a captivated audience to pose questions and seek advice from a panel of five, which included: Christopher Naoum, co-founder of DCWeek’s opening party sponsor Listen Local First, founder & CEO of Social Tables, Dan Berger, Lisa Markuson of The Pink Line Project, Mack Kolarich of SceneSquid, and Brightest Young Thing’s co-founder Svetlana Legetic.  The agenda was outlined by the four phases of party planning; formation, marketing, day-of, and afterlife.

Election Day Hangout: Digital War Room @ QGAstarted at 2pm and ran until 6 ‘o clock.  The event included insight and networking opportunities with special guests from the White House, former Capitol Hill personnel, and other high-level individuals.  Promptly following the meetup was the Election Night Party, which was co-hosted by EventStir and RUNINOut.  The first 100 guests to RVSP received free drinks to celebrate another victory or drown their sorrows.

Wednesday featured many high caliber gatherings, such as Crowd Funding for the Financially Excluded or Socially Impactful, Hispanic Marketing 3.0, Engineering Virality, and Making an IMPACT by BUILDing Highschool Entrepreneurs.  Five sessions ended up selling out that day, the most notable being the DCWeek Keynotes presented by Ford.

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Held at the Warner Theatre, the keynotes provided over 2,000 visitors with a chance to listen to presenters from top name companies, as well as an uplifting opening speech from DC’s Mayor Vincent Gray.  FordMotor Company’s Social and Emerging Media Analyst, Brian McClary kicked off the series of talks.  A self-proclaimed geek, Brian gave an animated presentation on Ford’s newest innovations, in particular the highly-praised Mustang Customizer app, which already claims to have created over 1 million ideal cars.  Next up was Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber.  In his speech, Travis discussed the many benefits to both employers and passengers of using a travel service such as Uber, as well as challenges faced in specific cities.  Travis closed by urging the audience to speak up for technologies which help to improve their cities, by engaging local council members and other change makers.

The first female speaker of the evening was none other than Emily Brew.  Previously, she worked with the NIKE Foundation, but has since moved on and became co-creator of The Girl Effect.  Emily’s presentation on this incredible movement opened eyes to the value of women’s empowerment, stating “The most important investment anyone can make is in a girl.”  Just days later, Grist posted an article highlighting four teenage girls from Africa who invented an electric generator that runs on an unlimited sustainable resource - urine.  Perhaps they will gain an invite to next year’s DCWeek and successfully power the series of events, given the copious amounts of alcohol readily available at the various parties, and endless lines at the bathrooms.

The final speaker was Robin Chase, Founder of ZipCar and CEO of Buzzcar, who spoke about the positives and negatives of peer-based vehicle sharing and why affordable transportation is so important.

Thursday brought on a full day of conferences at Arlington’s popular venue the Artisphere.  Topics touched on included open data, the marriage of art & technology, the physical component of the internet, crowdfunding, strategies for freelancers, and space technologies.

DCWeek concluded this past Friday night, with crews taking over an abandoned retail space on the popular H Street strip in the Northeast quadrant.  Fashion One was transformed into a giant art exhibit featuring multiple artists’ work on both a main and basement level.  DJ Jerome Baker III brought life to the party with club hits, while Shake Shack provided free sweet treats to cool down dancers.  Those who succumbed to the chill were able to purchase freshly screen-printed hoodies, hats, scarves and gloves from local clothing company Twice As Warm, whose mission is to donate one item of clothing to people in need for every item sold.  Starting now until Christmas, all items to be donated will be collected and driven up to New Jersey to help support victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Overall, DCWeek 2012 proved to be bigger and better than last year, in respect to the number of sold out events and some larger scale venues.  There is no doubt that future events will continue to draw in impressive local crowds, as well as more visitors from afar, "As an SF technologist I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of people and the growth of the DC tech scene. DCWeek was amazing. I will be flying back for the next one." - Josh Smith, VP of Emerging Technologies for Novoa Media. Be sure to follow event organizers iStrategyLabs and Tech Cocktail to learn more about this year’s outcome and eventual updates on next year’s presentation.

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