10 Things We Learned at Techweek 2012

Techweek amounted to five days of soaking up all the knowledge, parties and celebrity sightings the tech world has to offer. Without further adieu, here it is – a retrospective look at the top ten lessons learned from Techweek.

1. Not everyone has Instagram.

This weekend we ran a Techweek contest called Impalapalooza. The concept was simple: stop by our booth, snap an Instagram pic with the impala and throw the #lonelybrand hashtag in the comment field. The contest was a crowd pleaser and we got a good amount of entries, but we hitched our bets on the majority of the tech community having Instagram. Turns out, this is not the case.

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2. On the other hand, everyone does love an impala head.

Chevy the Impala was quite the conversation starter at Techweek – at one point he even snuck his way into the VIP lounge.

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3. The tech crowd knows how to party.

Between back-to-back parties at the Mart, Trunk Club and Enclave, we’re not sure which celebration was the best. Now that it’s all over, we’re ready to catch up on our sleep.

4. Untitled is unabashedly awesome.

Friday night’s Bootlegger’s Ball was held right across the street from our office at Untitled. We’ve been to speakeasy-esque joints before, but man, this place takes it to the next level. We will definitely be strolling back across Kinzie to pay them a visit.

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5. Rahm Emanuel wants to make Chicago the Startup City.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel talked startups at his State of Technology in Chicago keynote. “The city of Chicago is known as the Second City. In three years from now it will be known as the Startup City if we do everything right,” he told the audience on Friday morning. “That is the goal I’m going to be working on. You guys have the energy. I’m going to be your partner. I’m going to make it easier for you.”

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6. City Hall has plans to embrace mobile.

“We’ve opened up reams of city data for programmers to have at it and come up with the most innovative apps for their fellow residents to use: an app to find a towed car, snow plows, and street closures,” said Mayor Emanuel.

“I actually want the ability by fall, when you call 311 and say you want to get X done – tree trimming, pot holing – you will actually get a tracking number. And so the next time you call it’s not like Groundhog Day at 311.”

7. On the same token, when it comes to mobile, make it count.

At Cheeky Chicago’s How to Build a Brand Through a Niche Audience panel the company’s founders discussed how they go about targeting young female Chicagoans. What stuck out to us though, was their wisely delayed approach to mobile. “We didn’t want to launch an app just to say we had an app,” said co-founder Jessica Zweig. Timing matters, and if you’re going to pump the resources in to create an app, you should undoubtedly make it worth your while.

8. SoYeahDuh is a real human.

Popular Chicago blogger #SOYEAHDUH recently revealed her top-secret identity to the masses. When we stopped by the How to Build a Brand Through a Niche Audience panel we were pleasantly surprised to find the one and only Lisa Frame – Ms. #SOYEAHDUH herself – moderating the discussion.

9. Talent acquisition is the win or lose issue for Chicago startups.

At one of the first Techweek panels, Chicago: Uniquely Positioned to Become the Next Tech Hub, we heard about Chicago’s future on the startup scene from local entrepreneur powerhouses Kevin Willer, Matt Moog, Terry Howerton and Troy Henikoff.

The panel came to a consensus that recruiting is the most important factor in shaping our city’s entrepreneurial future. “The talent issue is where we win or lose,” said Willer, CEO at Chicago’s own 1871.

10. Marketing no longer depends on bright shiny creative and high-impact awareness campaigns.

We sat in on Leapfrog Online‘s panel, Why Data is Changing the Face of Today’s Marketing Organizations. EVP Cass Baker and SVP Joel Grossman discussed how new standards and technology have increased the volume of useable data, making flashy creative look much harder to measure than ever before.

 

What were your biggest Techweek takeaways? Share them with us below.