There may be no cooler spot in Detroit than Ford Field, where dozens of tech startups and gazelles met for the annual Techweek event.
As a week-long celebration of technology and innovation, Techweek hosts 12 standard events that designed to “engage and excite in every way imaginable.” The Detroit event April 13-18 featured an expo, startup competitions and a two-day technology conference, hosted at Ford Field. According to its organizers, Techweek is designed to give the local community opportunities to network, learn and explore with its local tech community.
It was interesting to learn that the one guy who wore a suit to serve as the conference host was told to loosen up; he took off his tie in response. He also noted that “Chucks and jeans” are the more appropriate gear for such an event. So much for formality!
Here are some of the highlights from the conference:
• If you own a business, you need to check out #linkies. Linkies is a Web-based digital marketing company based in Detroit that helps firms create social-media displays and more. The displays are as simple as a monitored scrolling social-media feed that you can show at events. The key word there is “monitored,” because you don’t want just any Tweet or Instagram photo going into your feed. It also is working on a program to help businesses acquire legal usage of Tweets or photos that people post, giving both parties a satisfactory way of working together for the common brand good.
• If you are easily distracted when you’re working (that means nearly all of us), then you will want to look at the Hemingwrite. This new product is designed to be like an old-fashioned 1980s laptop. That means no distractions like Facebook or the Internet. It has a small screen and a keyboard with one great high-tech touch – you can constantly save your work and it will be emailed to you for review later. It is simple to use and has many possibilities to speed the writing process within people’s working environments.
• The College for Creative Studies knocked it out of the ballpark with its presentation on how it is adapting its programs new and old to respond to the high-tech world. There are the obvious links – like car design, something CCS is well known for already. But it also is thinking about how to bring robust design and programming that meets today’s high-tech standards to its other programs, ranging from fashion to blacksmithing. President Richard L. Rogers noted how CCS was recently ranked the No. 3 design school in the United States and the best in the Midwest by LinkedIn based on the success rate of its graduates, who include Veronika Scott of The Empowerment Plan.
• The best product giveaway – and these events have a bunch of giveaways – came from QStride, which grabbed lots of attention for providing a Shinola watch as a prize to conference goers. That’s a very Detroit move, and it suited the mood and styling of this event perfectly. Plus, Shinola is one of the presenters at Techweek, and CCS President Rogers also mentioned its partnership with Shinola in his presentation. It all tied in very nicely.