creative juice / happenings

Geekwire summit 2017.

It’s important for Allovus to stay connected with the tech community at large. Guest blogger Aimee Hayes talks about her amazing experience at the 2017 Geekwire Summit.

Aimee Hayes

This past week, a few of our Allovus business team members attended the annual Geekwire Summit at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle.  This is “one of the country’s premier technology conferences, bringing together more than 800 innovators, entrepreneurs, business executives, and tech leaders to explore the future of the innovation economy” as mentioned by WTIAIt’s a perfect summary of the community of people who attended and spoke at this outstanding gathering of ideas and innovation.

The event hosted some of the biggest names in the tech world including Satya Nadella with Microsoft, Kevin Johnson with Starbucks, and Jeff Wilke with Amazon. Geekwire took a unique approach with this summit. It was a sprinkling of politics and immigration as well as healthcare and research—all of which are deeply connected to the industry of innovation, especially in Seattle.  The audience had the opportunity to hear a candid interview with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. His adamant stance and views of the political landscape in the White House were refreshing to hear and were well received.

The “Immigrant Stories” were a perfect addition, building an understanding of how the DACA decision will impact the future of technology, and conveying a clear message to all those entering this country that they are welcome. Their ideas, passion, and innovation are what tie us all together. One major speaker, John Collison from Stripe, provided some outstanding insight on his entrepreneurial journey from Ireland to America. His company focuses on the world of online payment processing in this international market. Stripe has recently added a product called Atlas, which allows entrepreneurs from all over the world to open a legitimate business in the US. Their technology is blurring the lines of nations and enables small business owners to make and receive payments for their goods and services internationally. 

The discussion with Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutchinson’s Cancer Research Center, illustrated the work that’s being done with technology and medicine. His aggressive proclamation that within the next 10 years, we will have cures for cancer feels so unrealistic and yet with the advancements they’ve had in research, it seems it will be our reality. I can’t wait to learn and see more about how medicine is advancing with technology and innovation.

The “Inclusivity and Diversity Panel” provided some insights from four experts in this area. From leaders to professional consultants, we had an opportunity to hear about best practices, how to have difficult conversations, and how to combat any behavior in your work environment that would make others feel offended, discriminated against, or simply excluded.  These mindful discussions are the way in which we can overcome some of the challenges we encounter in the workplace. In addition, inclusivity breeds innovation, allowing everyone’s ideas and thoughts to collectively help build better products and services for all.

The ongoing theme of inclusive design and designing for accessibility also came into play. We had the opportunity to meet one of the speakers, Todd Stabelfeldt, founder and CEO of C4 Database Management. He is quadriplegic, and uses some amazing technology in his daily life to function in a world built for those with full mobility. Though he’s crafted some awesome tools, the design community has an opportunity to grow in so many ways. If we consider designing for everyone from the beginning of the process, rather than designing for accessibility as an afterthought, we can build better products that serve more people.

Throughout the event, an artist/designer was “taking notes” on large white boards to the side of the stage. His ability to summarize the speaker’s talking points became a great visual backdrop for the conference. The vendor booths were small but meaningful, and provided a great time for networking and discussion of new products and services. In addition, the evening events were fun and engaging. 

The whole event left me feeling informed, inspired, refreshed, and so glad to be a part of a city full of amazing talent. We are literally paving the way for technology in the world we live in, and sometimes I think we forget that. This city is making changes for the world. We’re innovating for good; for cures, for inclusivity, for safer online communities, and for better opportunities for people in every nation. 

Great summit this year, Geekwire, I look forward to 2018!

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