10 Things I Learned from Techweek

superheroyou 10 Things I Learned from Techweek

Last week, I went to Techweek NYC. This annual gathering of tech leaders features several cool startups and a lot of interesting panels. And those panelists had tons of information useful to everyone, whether or not your superpower is tech-related. Here are 10 things I learned from Techweek NYC.

1. Learn how to tell stories.

Technology and stories seem like they would be on opposite ends of the spectrum. But in fact, there were several talks at Techweek focusing on the power of story. Contently CEO Joe Coleman talked about how great stories help build relationships, and we also learned about how the executives of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum use technology to tell the story of that horrible day. Bottom line? No matter how advanced our technology gets, nothing beats the power of a good story. Learn how to tell a good one and you’ll always have a job.

2. Recognize each other’s strengths.

When asked how he’s able to succeed on his many projects, Al Roker said one word: delegate! And indeed, example after example proved that collaboration is king in the tech world. Several startups were built and improved upon thanks to the different strengths of their founders. Recognizing each other’s strengths might be easier in tech because the responsibilities are so diverse – but it’s possible in the non-tech world too.

3. Be careful with the Internet.

From virtual reality to a device that reads your dog’s emotions, I saw tons of cool stuff at Techweek NYC. But the future is also fraught with danger. Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, Inc, talked about those dangers. If you have a smartlock, it’s incredibly easy for someone with the right skills to break into your home. And I could potentially steal your company secrets just by bringing my smartphone into your office building. So be careful with this new technology! Follow the creation of Fair Information Practice Principles, an attempt to create safety standard for smart devices. In the meantime, do what you can to keep yourself safe [link mark goodman].

4. Be humble.

Stand Out author Dorie Clark presented a talk on how to do exactly that. One thing you need to stand out is luck – but did you know that there’s actually something you can do to be luckier? The key is to be humble. In other words, don’t worry about talking to the most successful person in the room. Instead, hang back and be curious about everyone else. Talk to the people in the corner, the ones who seem out of place. You never know when that connection might come in handy.

5. Always be learning.

In his talk, Grovo Director Alex Khurgin revealed the following statistic: 59% of millennials say state-of-the-art learning and development is important in deciding to take a job. If you’re hiring, that means L & D is an important perk you should consider. But this statistic is actually more important for any potential job-seekers. It means that all your peers are aware that competition is fierce and are constantly working to beef up their résumés in preparation for their next step up the career ladder. So you need to always be learning.

6. Pivot.

Not sure what this means? Alexandra Wilkis Wilkinson, Gilt Co-Founder, defines it as “an attitude in tech that it’s OK to experiment and make mistakes,” and it’s one she uses to define her career path. After all, a career is no longer a straight line. For most of the leaders at Techweek NYC, their careers have been a journey by frequent pivots in the direction they wanted. In other words? You shouldn’t feel stuck in a job you hate because you don’t think you can do something else. Don’t be afraid of pivoting.

7. Build your community.

As I walked around at Techweek NYC, it struck me how much it seemed like the people at this conference really seemed to be part of a community. This was reflected not only in the very existence of Techweek and the conversations on the floor, but also in the panelists’ talks. Clark spoke of how it’s essential to find both an audience for your ideas and your closest network who will tell you if they’re any good. Wilkinson also talked about the importance of close contacts for figuring out what you’re good at, and about how women in tech need to give back to that community. So if you want to be a real-life superhero, start finding and building your communities.

8. Go after your dreams.

I hear a lot of statistics about all the entrepreneurs in America – but I hardly ever see them. That’s why it was so heartening to see all the startups participating in Techweek’s LAUNCH competition. Sure, only one could win. But everybody there was clearly passionate about their startups – and reminded me that there really are people who put it all on the line to go after their dreams.

9. All is not lost.

The other great thing about the LAUNCH competition? All the hope that was there. It’s easy to despair as we look at the morbid statistics of the earth’s future. But the LAUNCH competition was filled with startups trying to make the world better, whether by providing pediatricians who make house calls to busy moms or by getting cancer patients in touch with top doctors. It was a great reminder that there are several bright minds working on the world’s problems, so we shouldn’t lose hope just yet.

10. Prioritize the ones you love.

Sure, this seems like a strange lesson to learn at a tech conference. But it was what Al Roker said at the end of his speech, reminding us that no matter how busy we get, we need to let our families know they are the most important people in our lives. And it was evident all around – in the stories people told to get you to buy their products, in the stories told onstage and even sometimes in the very presentations themselves. Sure, tech is cool – but it can’t replace the people you love.

Techweek NYC might be a conference about technology – but it’s also one that can teach you how to be a real-life superhero. Apply these lessons to your own life and you’ll be well on your way to earning your (imaginary) cape.

Liked this? Check out 10 Cool Startups at Techweek NYC!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Last week, I went to Techweek NYC. This annual gathering of tech leaders features several cool startups and a lot of interesting panels. And those panelists had tons of information useful to everyone, whether or not your superpower is tech-related. Here are 10 things I learned from Techweek NYC.

1. Learn how to tell stories.

Technology and stories seem like they would be on opposite ends of the spectrum. But in fact, there were several talks at Techweek focusing on the power of story. Contently CEO Joe Coleman talked about how great stories help build relationships, and we also learned about how the executives of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum use technology to tell the story of that horrible day. Bottom line? No matter how advanced our technology gets, nothing beats the power of a good story. Learn how to tell a good one and you’ll always have a job.

2. Recognize each other’s strengths.

When asked how he’s able to succeed on his many projects, Al Roker said one word: delegate! And indeed, example after example proved that collaboration is king in the tech world. Several startups were built and improved upon thanks to the different strengths of their founders. Recognizing each other’s strengths might be easier in tech because the responsibilities are so diverse – but it’s possible in the non-tech world too.

3. Be careful with the Internet.

From virtual reality to a device that reads your dog’s emotions, I saw tons of cool stuff at Techweek NYC. But the future is also fraught with danger. Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, Inc, talked about those dangers. If you have a smartlock, it’s incredibly easy for someone with the right skills to break into your home. And I could potentially steal your company secrets just by bringing my smartphone into your office building. So be careful with this new technology! Follow the creation of Fair Information Practice Principles, an attempt to create safety standard for smart devices. In the meantime, do what you can to keep yourself safe [link mark goodman].

4. Be humble.

Stand Out author Dorie Clark presented a talk on how to do exactly that. One thing you need to stand out is luck – but did you know that there’s actually something you can do to be luckier? The key is to be humble. In other words, don’t worry about talking to the most successful person in the room. Instead, hang back and be curious about everyone else. Talk to the people in the corner, the ones who seem out of place. You never know when that connection might come in handy.

5. Always be learning.

In his talk, Grovo Director Alex Khurgin revealed the following statistic: 59% of millennials say state-of-the-art learning and development is important in deciding to take a job. If you’re hiring, that means L & D is an important perk you should consider. But this statistic is actually more important for any potential job-seekers. It means that all your peers are aware that competition is fierce and are constantly working to beef up their résumés in preparation for their next step up the career ladder. So you need to always be learning.

6. Pivot.

Not sure what this means? Alexandra Wilkis Wilkinson, Gilt Co-Founder, defines it as “an attitude in tech that it’s OK to experiment and make mistakes,” and it’s one she uses to define her career path. After all, a career is no longer a straight line. For most of the leaders at Techweek NYC, their careers have been a journey by frequent pivots in the direction they wanted. In other words? You shouldn’t feel stuck in a job you hate because you don’t think you can do something else. Don’t be afraid of pivoting.

7. Build your community.

As I walked around at Techweek NYC, it struck me how much it seemed like the people at this conference really seemed to be part of a community. This was reflected not only in the very existence of Techweek and the conversations on the floor, but also in the panelists’ talks. Clark spoke of how it’s essential to find both an audience for your ideas and your closest network who will tell you if they’re any good. Wilkinson also talked about the importance of close contacts for figuring out what you’re good at, and about how women in tech need to give back to that community. So if you want to be a real-life superhero, start finding and building your communities.

8. Go after your dreams.

I hear a lot of statistics about all the entrepreneurs in America – but I hardly ever see them. That’s why it was so heartening to see all the startups participating in Techweek’s LAUNCH competition. Sure, only one could win. But everybody there was clearly passionate about their startups – and reminded me that there really are people who put it all on the line to go after their dreams.

9. All is not lost.

The other great thing about the LAUNCH competition? All the hope that was there. It’s easy to despair as we look at the morbid statistics of the earth’s future. But the LAUNCH competition was filled with startups trying to make the world better, whether by providing pediatricians who make house calls to busy moms or by getting cancer patients in touch with top doctors. It was a great reminder that there are several bright minds working on the world’s problems, so we shouldn’t lose hope just yet.

10. Prioritize the ones you love.

Sure, this seems like a strange lesson to learn at a tech conference. But it was what Al Roker said at the end of his speech, reminding us that no matter how busy we get, we need to let our families know they are the most important people in our lives. And it was evident all around – in the stories people told to get you to buy their products, in the stories told onstage and even sometimes in the very presentations themselves. Sure, tech is cool – but it can’t replace the people you love.

Techweek NYC might be a conference about technology – but it’s also one that can teach you how to be a real-life superhero. Apply these lessons to your own life and you’ll be well on your way to earning your (imaginary) cape.

Liked this? Check out 10 Cool Startups at Techweek NYC!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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