Crazy weather patterns couldn’t keep Indiana’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, techies and marketers from joining at the Indianapolis Convention Center for the annual Innovation Summit organized by Techpoint. Even news that keynote speaker, Seth Godin, was trapped on the east coast due to Hurricane Sandy was received in stride. Techpoint and Godin handled the last-minute adjustment admirably, with Godin pre-recording his message and Techpoint dialing him in for a 15 minute Q&A session. Seth’s enthusiasm came through differently on camera than in person, but the camera couldn’t hide his incredible passion for innovation, a passion shared by the more than 700 attendees. And Godin’s assessment that Indiana rightfully boasts a strong tech/start-up community, though smaller than other popular tech cities, was apparent throughout the day.
Frederick Vallaeys, a Google Adwords pioneer, began the day by discussing how Google lives innovation. Though Vallaeys is no longer with Google (he’s since started his own tech company), the presentation felt like it was coming from a Google insider. From his own start at Google reading Adwords copy (he had an engineering degree and was hired in part because he knew Dutch), to his discussion of the reasons a few Google acquisitions didn’t take (hint: different corporate cultures don’t mix), to the detail he went in to on 10 ways that Google does more than just pay lip-service to innovation, Vallaeys provided valuable advice to any entrepreneur getting started in any field.
After Vallaeys’ presentation, Techpoint moved in to the “Rapid Fire” section of the day, in which local businesses and entrepreneurs presented on numerous different topics related to starting a new business. A highlight for this Digital Marketer was the presentation by Allison Carter, a content marketer from Roundpeg. Allison discussed the growing importance of showing, not telling in marketing (think Pinterest, Instagram, even Facebook of late). Her assessments were spot on, she provided some good insight to marketers struggling to generate content for their brands, and her preparation and enthusiasm were unparalleled. And if you’d like to view her entire presentation, she had it on YouTube before the conference had ended.
And what tech conference would be complete without a trade show? I’ve never been a huge fan of trade shows and this one wasn’t too much different. I was glad to have a map provided by TechPoint in advance so that I could more efficiently hit the tables that specifically interested me (Raidious, Slingshot SEO, Shoutlet) and not waste the time of others. The group from Slingshot pointed me in the direction of the Ball State booth, where the team displayed an app that they’ve been developing to help aggregate and calculate data around busy hashtags – pretty cool stuff if you ask me.
As a representative of Northwest Indiana, I was on the lookout for others from the region, but didn’t run in to any. It would have been great to see Valparaiso have a booth in among the Purdue, IU, Ball State, WGU and other more central-Indiana universities at the trade show. Outside of that, it was great to get together with so many like-minded residents of Indiana, make some new connections, and learn a lot about the industry. Thanks to Shoutlet for giving me the opportunity to attend and thanks Chris for letting me share a bit of my experience!