Innovation doesn't happen alone anymore. Maybe it never did.
The tech boom in Portland didn't spring up because a solitary coder locked herself in the garage. Rather, it's been an extraordinary, collaborative effort.
TechfestNW is devoted to the idea that the best way to get things done is to get a bunch of talented and creative people in a few cocktails never hurt, either.
TechfestNW kicked off in 2012 as a gathering of leading thinkers, startups and established companies showcasing the Pacific Northwest's talent and innovation, and Portland as a digital and cultural hub. It's been growing ever since.
Held Aug. 15-16 at OMSI, this year's TFNW speaker program has expanded to include a solid mix of nationally recognized tech leaders paired alongside homegrown Northwest talent—from the director of the NFL's mobile app to the leader of a 100-strong skunkworks research team at Intel, from leading tech journalist Kara Swisher to a guy who marshaled the Internet to sell razors to more than 600,000 customers.
Sometimes what you need isn't just ideas—it's the money and people to carry them through. And so selected local startups will get the chance to participate in a venture-capital "speed dating" event where they can pitch their companies to investors, invite feedback, and receive the support they need to grow.
Also new this year is the TFNW Talent Fair. Some of the region's best employers, from Jama to Nike to Puppet Labs, will be on hand to meet and mingle with job seekers for networking and hiring opportunities.
While TechfestNW is about getting things done, it's also a party. The whole event leads right up to the kickoff of sister festival MusicfestNW running Aug. 16-17 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. And in the meantime, there'll be plenty of downtime and cocktail hours to keep people talking—and keep this alchemical reaction going in the Portland tech scene.
Tickets are on sale now: $99 for both days. Tickets to the TechfestNW Talent Fair only are $10. See techfestnw.com/tickets.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Mara Zepeda – Co-founder and CEO, Switchboard
Topic: "Y Combinator, Breasts, and Vegetables: Why Startups Should Go Local"
She has worked at Harvard University; as a reporter with National Public Radio; as a consultant to corporations, government, and nonprofits; and as a board member of colleges, organizations, foundations, and neighborhood associations.
Mara is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism with a focus on digital media, and received her B.A. in Russian from Reed College.
Topic: "The Day the Internet Becomes Invisible: The Next Age in Computing Will Be All About Feelings, Not Technology"
Previously, Kara covered breaking news about the Web's major players and Internet policy issues. She also wrote a weekly column for the Personal Journal on home-gadget issues called "Home Economics."
For the past 11 years, she and Walt Mossberg have co-produced D: All Things Digital, one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of the tech and media industries. Kara won a Loeb Award while at AllThingsD.com for her coverage of Yahoo.
She was an undergraduate at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and did her graduate work at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Scott Bedbury – CEO, Brandstream
Topic: "Beyond Product: The Art and Science of Building a Great Brand"
After Nike, Scott joined Starbucks, then a regional coffee company, as its chief marketing officer. With a few hundred stores across 14 U.S. markets, he and CEO Howard Schultz set out to reshape one of the oldest of commodities.
In 1998, Scott left Starbucks to publish A New Brand World and establish Brandstream, a global consulting firm. He has worked with eBay, Facebook, Google, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, NASA, Airbnb, Samsung, Microsoft, Visa, Starwood Hotels, Kaiser Permanente, Tellme Networks, Russian Standard, South Africa Breweries, the U.S. Navy, Nokia, Corona (Groupo Modelo), and Volkswagen AG. Scott is currently working on his second book and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
Alan Wizemann – Vice president of product, Target
Topic: "Scaling for the Enterprise: How Can Your Startup Work With a Fortune 50 Company?"
11:45 am-12:25 pm
Ron Wyden – U.S. senator, Oregon
Topic: "American Innovation and Your Privacy in a Digital World"
Ron Wyden is the senior U.S. senator from Oregon. He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and a senior member of the Intelligence, Energy and Natural Resources, and Budget committees.
Laika panel, featuring STEVE EMERSON - Co-visual effects supervisor; Georgina Hayns - Supervisor of puppet fabrication; Brian McLean - Director of rapid prototype
Topic: "Enduring Creativity Over 2½ Years and 300,000 Camera Clicks: How Laika Uses Collaboration to Innovate"
Georgina Hayns has worked in puppet fabrication for stop-motion films for more than 20 years. Her career began in the U.K., working for Cosgrove Hall Films, Mackinnon & Saunders, and Warner Bros. She joined Mackinnon & Saunders in 1993 as an armaturist supervising children's television series and commercials, including BBC Television's Noddy and HIT Entertainment's Bob the Builder. Georgina also worked on animated features and shorts such as Mars Attacks! and The Periwig-Maker. She joined Laika in 2006.
Brian McLean has been instrumental in the development of 3D-printer technology for facial animation at Laika. He won an Annie Award for Special Achievement in Animation for his work on Coraline and, following the release of ParaNorman, was named by Variety as one of 2012's "Animation Elite." Prior to Laika, Brian worked as a traditionally trained sculptor. He also hand-built toy prototypes and numerous scale models for TV and print ads while working at M5 Industries, best known for the TV show MythBusters.
Topic: "Selling the City, Without Selling Out"
Topic: "The Awesome Now: How Technology Is Changing Storytelling and What We Make"
Trei Brundrett leads the team developing the Vox Media platform, Chorus, which delivers content and community for more than 70 million readers around the world. He was named to the AdWeek 50 in 2012. Trei helped grow Vox from 100 sports blogs to a media organization publishing seven premium brands, including SB Nation (sports), the Verge (technology culture), Polygon (video games), Eater (restaurants), Curbed (real estate and home), Racked (fashion) and, most recently, Vox (news).
Tiffany Shackelford runs an association that represents 117 newsmedia companies across the U.S. and Canada, including Willamette Week. Previously, she was the director of communications and marketing at Phase2 Technology, and was also executive director of Capitolbeat, the Association of State Capitol Reporters and Editors. Tiffany established the Washington, D.C.-area Online News Association and has advised multiple news nonprofits and startups. In the mid-1990s she worked on the staff of the Democratic Leadership Council and Progressive Policy Institute. She is also a published poet.
Ruby Jewel ice-cream sandwiches sponsored by Rocket Fuel.
Chris Satchell – consumer technology officer and vice president, Nike Consumer Digital Technology
Topic: "From Pig Farms to Silicon Forest: Creating a Trust Economy With World-Class Talent"
Before that, Chris was chief technology officer for Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. He has a long history in games development, serving as an executive director at the 3DO Company, technical director for Silicon Dreams Ltd. and an artificial intelligence specialist and project leader for Eidos Interactive PLC.
Topic: "Beauty, Chaos & Connection: Pop Culture, Love & Sex in the Post-Digital Age"
TECHFESTNW KICKOFF PARTY
At Theory (inside OMSI)
Brought to you by Smarsh.
9:00 pm-2:00 am
OFFICIAL TECHFESTNW AFTER-PARTY
Join TechfestNW and 800-plus attendees at Pure Space and experience Portland's #SiliconForest at an unforgettable party featuring the one and only #PartyGirl powered by Beatrox Records.
Purchase after-party tickets at: Pure Space, 1315 NW Overton St.
Stumptown coffee brought to you by Mandrill. Breakfast offered by Kind snacks.
Scé Pike – Managing partner, Citizen
Topic: "The Internet of Things: The Next Bubble?"
Mike Dubin – Chief executive and co-founder, Dollar Shave Club
Topic: "Branding for Tech: How to Tell Stories and Stand Out"
Justin Ferrell – Fellowships director, d.school at Stanford University
Topic: "Keeping the Dream Alive: Unlocking the Collective Creativity of Your Company"
Brought to you by InComm Digital Solutions.
11:40 am-12:10 pm
Topic: "Build Locally and Think Globally: Three Lessons for Entrepreneurs in the Brave New World"
Nat Parker co-founded GlobeSherpa, a mobile ticketing platform company, after graduating from Portland State University's master of international management program in 2010. As CEO, Nat is responsible for overseeing all staff, product development, and partner relationships. Prior to GlobeSherpa, Nat worked for Element Power and Pacific Crest Securities. Nat was recently named one of Portland's "Forty Under 40" by the Portland Business Journal, an award recognizing top young business professionals in the city.
Brought to you by Saunders, Kelly, Acheson Wealth Management of Raymond James.
Tad McGeer – founder and president, Aerovel Corporation
Topic: "Fantasies, Fears and Facts About Drones"
Steve Adler – Director of mobile technology, National Football League
Topic: "Mobilizing the NFL: The Fourth-Quarter Drive to Score With the NFL Mobile App and Lessons From the Coaches' Notes"
Samuel Hulick – Founder, User Onboarding
Topic: "Customer as Hero: Getting People on Board Is Just the Beginning of the Journey"
Brenden Mulligan – Co-founder and designer, Cluster
Topic: "Startup Insights From a Serial Entrepreneur"
Brenden Mulligan is co-founder and designer of Cluster, a web and mobile app that enables users to create private social networks around interests and experiences. Brenden previously created and sold ArtistData and Onesheet.
Brought to you by Saunders, Kelly, Acheson Wealth Management of Raymond James.
Genevieve Bell – Director of user experience research, Intel
Topic: "The Prehistory of Robots and Why It Still Matters"
A passionate advocate for the advancement of women in technology, co-author of Divining the Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing, and author of several patents for consumer electronics, Genevieve spent much of her childhood in the aboriginal settlements of Australia.
She earned a bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr and a master's degree and a doctorate from Stanford University. She joined Intel in 1998.
TechfestNW Talent Fair
Friday 12:30-6 pm and Saturday Noon-3 pm at OMSI.
Are you job-seeking? Looking for a job with a great Portland company? Take advantage of this opportunity to meet and network with some of the Rose City's finest tech companies. Tickets are just $10, but the possibilities are priceless. See techfestnw.com/tickets.
TechfestNW Talent Fair participating companies: