TECHcamp Memphis 2014 was a unique and enhancing experience. Although there is some room for the event to improve (I’ll touch more on that shortly), I honestly appreciated this conference, particularly as a newcomer to the Memphis area. I learned quite a bit, just in the first few hours. My favorite session was run by Stephen Hackett of RelayFM. In 4 short years this guy has become a podcast guru, and in the first 20 minutes of his presentation he inspired me to revisit, restructure, re-brand and eventually relaunch my own podcast concept. Not only did he share the story of his successes, but he also gave some detailed insight on how he’s managed to monetize his podcast craft. If you’re a podcast fan, or interested in starting your own, I highly encourage you to follow Stephen Hackett on twitter (@ismh) for more information.
The event’s introductory keynote speech as given by Juan R. “Chago” Santiago, Vice President of Systems Engineering Practice and Business Intelligence at CIO Services Group. He is very motivational and encouraging, identifying his attitude as his number one asset and reason for his long-enduring success in technology. I whole-heartedly agree with his statement that “obstacles and challenges are just opportunities for growth”.
My other favorite session was with Mr. Al Pickett, Vice President of Diversity at Start Co. in Memphis, TN. He presented his “Business Model Canvas” concept for the entrepreneur track. Al Pickett is also author of “The Blackprint: New Rules for Winning – Finance, Freedom, and Flexibility“.
My 2 Cents on Future Improvements:
* More Lead Time/Stronger Marketing Campaign: I found out 2 days prior from a friend about the event. Up to that point I hadn’t noticed any social media promotions or any other form of advertisement. This to me is why the turn-out wasn’t as robust as it should’ve been
* 30-Minute Sessions instead of 1-Hour Sessions: Yes most attendees are full-on geeks and techies, but that doesn’t change the natural attention-span of most people. Give the same great material but in smaller doses of time.
* Cooler Tee-Shirt Design: This might seem nit-picky, but this is something I see as an opportunity to form a stronger bond between the tech community and the art community. Why not have local artists submit competing designs, and then have potential attendees vote on which design they want as an incentive to show up and as part of the promotional efforts leading up to the event? This improvement may also help to diversify the crowds who attend in the future.