Here’s to last minute invites….

A week overbooked with client meetings, Thursday Interview research and a long overdue hair chop didn’t leave much time to consider attending Internet Week. But thanks to a generous invite from HerAgenda’s  Rhonesha Byng (I’m an event curator for the site), I was able to attend the annual conference at the Metropolitan Pavilion.    Here are a few reasons why I’m glad I did:

The Speakers
I had a chance to learn about new ideas and initiatives from Minerva Tantoco, first ever Chief Technology Officer, NYC; William Pence, Chief Technology Officer, AOL; Christina Wallace, Founding Director of BridgeUp: STEM; Sam Kassoumeh, COO & Co-Founder of SecurityScorecard and Chelsea Clinton.   Each person shared an insightful take on why they are excited about what they do and how they are using their roles to impact their companies/organizations in the short and long term.  It’s helpful to hear about their roadmaps, see if there are any areas of commonality and determine how to best incorporate for my own projects.

The Takeaways

Founding a Tech Startup in New York panel
One panelist’s advice for anyone to get over the hurdle of having an idea to showing their idea was Just Build It.  Even it’s ugly, build it so it’s easier to show your experience than talk about what you plan to offer.  Simple and true. Another panelist suggested that the search for developers and champions would be made easier by focusing on niche meetups.  Ideas and connections tend to get lost at large, overwhelming events.

“Access + Education + Tech = Opportunity”
Minerva Tantoco, New York City’s first ever Chief Technology Officer, used her time to explain why she’s the best person to guide growing NYC’s technology infrastructure and cultivating the tech industry.  She admitted that her being dumb about government and smart about technology helps her to transform legacy systems (I guess that’s the nice way of saying bureaucracy?) into 21st platforms that speak to digitally connected citizens.  She also highlighted that 24% of New Yorkers do not have in-home Internet access and why she’s focused on changing that.  Having in-home Internet is an important first step to creating and cultivating a tech talent pipeline.

But the big news that Tantoco had to share? New York City payphones are about to become LinkNYC kiosks featuring free Wi-Fi hotspots.  She didn’t mention a timeline but I’m more than excited for this long overdue change.  Tantoco also announced Alley Hours, NYC Mayor’s Office of Tech + Innovation  community outreach initiative, will be launching in June.  The Office will be onsite at various co-working spots to connect (and hopefully collaborate) with New York’s tech community.

Although I was only able to make the last day of the conference, it was worth it!

Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

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