Valuable Takeaways from TechWeek Chicago – even if YOU are NOT a TECHIE.
By: Cle Andrea Hayden
Packed with exhibitors and a schedule full of workshops, panel discussions and sponsored parties, TechWeek Chicago proved to be a valuable experience for techies, entrepreneurs and those who just like to be “in the know” of the tech world. Check this list of tips that I gained during my first TechWeek experience:
1. Choose your social circles wisely. During the “Future of Fashion” panel, there was a lot of discussion regarding the impact the digital sphere is having on retail and the fashion industry. But let’s take it one step further. Social media and mobile devices are adding a completely new realm to the retail experience. Not only will our social media friends give us a “thumbs up” regarding a potential new clothing purchase, we will also be scrolling through our news feeds looking for recommendations on the best pair of running shoes to purchase.
2. Find your stick-to-it-tive-ness. CEO, Michael Small of GoGo Air urged start-ups and entrepreneurs to be persistent when it comes to building their businesses. Having an attitude of resolve & tenacity is key when looking to achieve success in anything. STICK.TO.IT!
3. Sometime going off your planned path can prove to be beneficial. My Thursday schedule went a little something like this: “Managing Social Media in the 21st Century”, “Obtain the Funding to Realize Your Vision” and “The Future of Fashion”. Somewhere between getting from session A to session B, I ended up in a session called “What do the Queen, Jesus and Technology Have in Common”. The presentation was impressive and when over, I had a new outlook on technology and how it is impacting us as humans. So be flexible, you never know what you can learn and how you may be able to use that information in the future.
4. Fine tune your skills, be aware of your weaknesses and understand your opportunities. According to Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, by 2020 42% of the American workforce will be working for themselves. How exciting! Sounds like there will be quite a few of us walking away from the hum drum of corporate life and becoming creative in terms of how we make our ‘dough’. Take advantage of the time you have now and prepare for your future.
5. Take a few minutes to truly connect with others. Conferences are great places for you to enhance your professional tool kits; however they are also ideal for building your network. Think of it! A room full of really interesting, hip individuals who understand your ‘special’ language. If time permits, go a little further than just passing out your business card. Slip away for a sip of wine or grab tea, whatever your passion, but use the time to connect with individuals on a more meaningful level.
TechWeek was full of energy and excitement that I am sure left an impression on all who attended. So whatever your ‘thing’ is, continue to innovate, disrupt and blaze a path unforeseen!