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August 13th, 2014 12:01 am WW Staff | TFNW 2014

TechfestNW 2014: Welcome to TechfestNW

August 15-16, 2014

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.


FRIDAY, 8/15

8:00-9:00 am


Stumptown coffee brought to you by Mandrill. Continental breakfast brought to you by USI Insurance Services.

9:00-9:30 am

Mara Zepeda – Co-founder and CEO, Switchboard

Topic: “Y Combinator, Breasts, and Vegetables: Why Startups Should Go Local”

Image courtesy of Mara Zepeda
Switchboard is an online community-building platform often described as a non-creepy Craigslist, and a 2013 graduate of Wieden+Kennedy’s Portland Incubator Experiment in 2013. Mara Zepeda bootstrapped Switchboard by designing calligraphy tattoos.

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.

9:35-10:20 am

Kara Swisher – Co-CEO, Revere Digital; co-executive editor, Re/code; co-executive producer, Code Conference

Topic: “The Day the Internet Becomes Invisible: The Next Age in Computing Will Be All About Feelings, Not Technology”

IMAGE: Re/Code
Kara Swisher started covering digital issues for The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco bureau in 1997. Her column, “BoomTown,” originally appeared on the front page of the Marketplace section and also online at WSJ.com.

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.

10:25-10:55 am

Scott Bedbury – CEO, Brandstream

Topic: “Beyond Product: The Art and Science of Building a Great Brand”

Image courtesy of Scott Bedbury
Scott Bedbury has worked with some of the most dynamic global brands and promising startups of the past 15 years. He joined Nike in 1987 as head of advertising and helped reposition a struggling brand from a small, $800 million, U.S.-centric footwear company for young men and boys to a more compelling, accessible global brand. A decade later, Steve Jobs sought Scott’s advice as he planned Apple’s approach to branded retail.

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.

10:55-11:10 am


11:10-11:40 am

Alan Wizemann – Vice president of product, Target

Topic: “Scaling for the Enterprise: How Can Your Startup Work With a Fortune 50 Company?”

Image courtesy of Alan Wizemann
For almost three decades, Alan Wizemann has been obsessed with using technology to create products and services that change the way people and corporations solve problems. He was recently named VP of product for Target—focused on Target.com and mobile apps. Alan is also a founder of ShopIgniter, an enterprise social commerce and marketing platform.

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.

Image courtesy of Ron Wyden
He was one of the first members of Congress to speak out in defense of net neutrality and is one of the most forceful champions of privacy protections and a critic of mass government surveillance that harms Americans’ civil liberties. 

12:25-1:30 pm


1:30-2:10 pm

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”

Image courtesy of Steve Emerson
Steve Emerson’s diverse background in visual effects is highlighted by his work as co-VFX supervisor on The Boxtrolls. As a supervisor, compositor and technical director, he has contributed to a number of feature films, including ParaNorman, Coraline, The Matrix Revolutions and Transformers.

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.

2:15-3:05 pm

Charlie Brown – CEO and founder, Context Partners; Sam Blackman – CEO and founder, Elemental Technologies

Topic: “Selling the City, Without Selling Out”

IMAGE: Context Partners
Context Partners networks brand and cause communities through digital and in-person experiences and has developed strategies and programs for clients such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Frontier and Vulcan. Charlie Brown was the previous executive director of Ashoka’s Changemakers and built an online community of 100,000 innovators from more than 125 countries and connected more than $50 million in philanthropic funding. Charlie is a prior Creative Commons Fellow and serves on the board of directors for Future Generations and advisory boards for the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, RARE Planet and the U.S. Center for Peace.

IMAGE: Jerome Hart Photography
Elemental Technologies of Portland is the leading provider of software-based video-processing solutions for multiscreen content delivery. Prior to co-founding Elemental in 2006, Sam Blackman designed integrated-circuit products for Pixelworks  and held engineering positions at Silicon Graphics and Intel Corp. Sam is an avid Ultimate Frisbee player who is passionate about protecting Oregon’s environment and strengthening the state’s education system.

3:10-3:50 pm

Trei Brundrett – Chief product officer, Vox Media; Matt Mansfield – Visiting professor, Northwestern University; Tiffany Shackelford – Executive editor, Association of Alternative Newsmedia

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).

IMAGE: Stephanie Grace Lim
Matt Mansfield was responsible for the editorial experience on all digital platforms for National Geographic, shaping content initiatives and supervising Nat Geo’s digital storytelling, Web design, application design, and short-form video teams, as well as producers creating online content for the National Geographic Society’s Mission Programs division. Prior to National Geographic, Matt was a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School, where he was director and bureau chief for the school’s reporting program in Washington, D.C. Before that, he was deputy managing editor of the San Jose Mercury 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.

3:50-4:05 pm

Ruby Jewel ice-cream sandwiches sponsored by Rocket Fuel.

4:05-4:40 pm

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”

IMAGE: Andy Best
Chris Satchell helps shape the digital future for the world’s leading innovator of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories. Prior to Nike, Satchell was chief technology officer and executive vice president of R&D at IGT, the world leader in legalized gambling content, platforms and systems.

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.

4:45-5:30 pm

Nusrat Durrani – Senior vice president and general manager, MTV World; Liba Wenig Rubenstein – Director of social impact and public policy, Tumblr; Dave Allen – Director of artist and music industry advocacy, Beats Music.

Topic: “Beauty, Chaos & Connection: Pop Culture, Love & Sex in the Post-Digital Age”

Image courtesy of Nusrat Durrani
Nusrat Durrani is a senior vice president at Viacom Media Network and general manager of MTV World, an innovation team producing cutting-edge pop-culture content featured on Viacom channels and digital properties worldwide, and other platforms like Netflix. Nusrat is also executive producer of the acclaimed Rebel Music documentary series and Intel’s The Music Experiment, an award-winning live music series. He is creator of several forthcoming series about love and sex, EDM, fashion and films.

Image courtesy of Liba Wenig
Liba Wenig Rubenstein works at the intersection of mass and social media, cause marketing, civic innovation, sustainability, public policy, and digital activism. At Tumblr she leads partnerships, programming, and outreach for social impact and policy. Liba ran environmental sustainability at the old News Corporation, including a strategy to achieve carbon neutrality across the organization’s global operations of 100 companies on five continents. Before that, she founded My-Space’s Impact Channel for social and civic engagement and managed its public affairs team, launching first-of-their-kind initiatives around climate change, Darfur, social fundraising, and the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

IMAGE: Chris Hornbecker
Dave Allen is a recording artist and label founder with extensive experience at the intersection of music and technology. As Beats Music’s artist and industry advocate, he works with artists, managers, labels, and others on the realities and opportunities of the streaming music business. In 1978, Dave was a founding member of the pioneering U.K. post-punk band Gang of Four. He later formed Shriekback before moving to Los Angeles in 1989 to form the label World Domination Recordings, an arm of Capitol Records. By 2009, he formed the digital brand strategy agency Fight, and the following year joined brand engagement agency North as their interactive creative director.

5:30-9:00 pm

At Theory (inside OMSI)
Brought to you by Smarsh.

9:00 pm-2:00 am


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.



9:00-9:30 am

Stumptown coffee brought to you by Mandrill. Breakfast offered by Kind snacks.

9:30-10:00 am

Scé Pike – Managing partner, Citizen

Topic: “The Internet of Things: The Next Bubble?”

IMAGE: Ray Gordon / Citizen, Inc.
As chief experience officer at Citizen, a new technology innovation firm in Portland, Scé Pike drives the user experience vision for the company’s clients, including Cigna, AT&T, Intel, NBC, T-Mobile, Samsung and Disney/ABC. Previously, Scé was president of Quantum Mobility Solutions Inc. The company was purchased by Citizen in 2010. Scé also founded DialPlus Inc. and, as president, led the vision for this product, which won the 2008 Smaato Mobile Advertising Award. Her previous roles include director of user experience at Amp’d Mobile and management of user experience at companies such as Kyocera/Qualcomm, Palm and VeriSign.

10:05-10:45 am

Mike Dubin – Chief executive and co-founder, Dollar Shave Club

Topic: “Branding for Tech: How to Tell Stories and Stand Out”

IMAGE: Dollar Shave Club
Mike Dubin began his career as an NBC page, then a writer and producer at MSNBC. He left for a career in digital marketing and then, in 2011, founded DollarShaveClub.com, a men’s lifestyle brand with more than 600,000 members that has received over $22 million in venture funding and kicked off its launch with a YouTube video starring Mike called “Our Blades Are F***ing Great.” DSC’s newest product? Dr. Carver’s Magnanimous Post Shave. Dubin studied improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. He has a bachelor of arts in history from Emory University.

10:50-11:20 am

Justin Ferrell – Fellowships director, d.school at Stanford University

Topic: “Keeping the Dream Alive: Unlocking the Collective Creativity of Your Company”

Image courtesy of Justin Ferrell
Justin Ferrell joined the Institute of Design at Stanford (“the d.school”) to redesign and direct its fellowship program, a creative leadership cohort for midcareer professionals. A career journalist specializing in organizational behavior and design, Justin worked for seven years at The Washington Post, and designed several award-winning projects, including the investigative series “Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency,” winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. His expertise is the intersection of creative culture and human-centered design. Justin teaches Stanford graduate courses in design thinking, creativity and organization design. He also teaches executive education at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and has led innovation workshops for Facebook, Google, Nokia, PepsiCo, SAP, the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum.

11:20-11:40 am


Brought to you by InComm Digital Solutions.

11:40 am-12:10 pm

Rujul Zaparde – Co-founder, FlightCar; Nat Parker – Co-founder and CEO, GlobeSherpa

Topic: “Build Locally and Think Globally: Three Lessons for Entrepreneurs in the Brave New World”

Image courtesy of Rujul Zaparde
In 2013, at the age of 19, Rujul Zaparde co-founded FlightCar, a car-sharing service seeking to disrupt the airport car-rental business. FlightCar currently operates out of the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston airports. Rujul is also the co-founder of  Drinking Water for India, a nonprofit that has brought clean water to more than 80,000 villagers. In his free time, he enjoys recreational squash and playing the tabla.

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.

12:15-12:55 pm

Tad McGeer – founder and president, Aerovel Corporation

Topic: “Fantasies, Fears and Facts About Drones”

Image courtesy of Tad McGeer
Tad McGeer trained as an aeronautical engineer at Prince-ton and Stanford.  He developed the concept of passive-dynamic walking, a paradigm for efficient legged locomotion, as a young professor in his native British Columbia.  He headed early design studies on the Perseus and Theseus unmanned research aircraft, and then founded the Insitu Group, a pioneer developer of miniature robotic aircraft. Tad joined with Insitu co-founder and Columbia Gorge entrepreneur Andy von Flotow to start Aerovel in 2006, where he serves as president and chief engineer.

1:00-2:00 pm


2:00-2:30 pm

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”

IMAGE: Lisa Leonard
Steve Adler is a serial entrepreneur with more than 29 years of high technology, media, software and development industry experience. At the NFL, Steve is responsible for developing the league’s mobile app, all data and media services related to the app, and architecting digital video delivery for NFL Digital Media. As VP of business development for OpenPeak, Steve implemented and operated the company’s application and developer ecosystem. Previously, Steve was a founder and VP of business development at Chumby Industries, where he drove business and market development globally and managed Chumby’s IP strategy.

2:35-3:15 pm

Samuel Hulick – Founder, User Onboarding

Topic: “Customer as Hero: Getting People on Board Is Just the Beginning of the Journey”

Image courtesy of Samuel Hulick
Samuel Hulick is a longtime user-experience consultant with a laser focus on User Onboarding.  He runs UserOnboard.com, which provides slide-show teardowns of the first-run experiences of many of the Web’s most popular apps. He’s also written the book on user onboarding: The Elements of User Onboarding.

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.

3:20-3:55 pm

Genevieve Bell – Director of user experience research, Intel

Topic: “The Prehistory of Robots and Why It Still Matters”

Image courtesy of Genevieve Bell
Genevieve Bell is an anthropologist and researcher who currently runs a team of 100 social scientists, interaction designers, human factors engineers and computer scientists, within the bowels of the world’s largest producer of semiconductors. There, her job is to figure out what people want and need.

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:

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