Saturday, November 05, 2011

Nerdtastic gathering

by contributor Wendy Gordon

Friday, October 4th marked the kick off of DC Week (and by ‘DC,’ I mean not District of Columbia,’ but ‘Digital Capital’) with a tech and music laden party at The 9:30 Club.  The event featured 8 local bands and DJs, selected by over 45,000 votes by the public at large.  It was a Nerdtastic gathering.  And I mean that in the best possible way.

For all those that have perhaps been stranded on a remote desert island with no internet access, or perhaps have been home bound with downed cable and aren’t aware of this series of events, a little background:

DC Week is a 7-day series of events dedicated to creative technologists, entrepreneurs, and those who want to be them.   Turn the clocks back about 365 days, when iStrategyLabs’ Peter Corbett, Tech Cocktail’s Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo came to the conclusion that this city, with all of its tech savvy entrepreneurs, needed to be a destination in the ever growing number of industries and emerging leaders in the expanding and all-encompassing tech fields.

In about three months—the idea was born, planned and implemented to the tune of nearly 6,000 participants—double their projected 3,000.  The idea, obviously, had caught on.  This year, participants number 10,000 that will attend 157 events throughout the DC Metro area; a mix of 80% local; 15% from other cities across the nation and 5% international attendees.  

The average age is 34 and 46% of the group is female—important to note in what once was considered to be a male dominated world. 
“It’s really important to highlight all of the talent in this community,” explains iStrategylabs’ Peter Corbett.   “Often the spotlight is on Silicon Valley or New York, but there’s so much talent right here.”  Corbett went on to note that DC Week, too, is an opportunity for connection.  “It’s easy to get stuck in one clique here.   There are few opportunities for all to mix—but when they do, magical things happen.  We’ve connected investors, employers and employees and even had a marriage,” Corbett said.  

Highlights of this year’s DC Week include DC Residence---a weekend showcase taking place on Nov 5 & 6 at his exhibition will activate three empty storefronts at 1629 L Street NE with works by social innovators  and creative entrepreneurs in indie fashion, emerging arts, and DIY retail. Alongside fashion installations and pop-up shops, THE HOME will present The Fridge’s Leftovers. Alex Goldstein will present a visual timeline of all the exhibits and performances.

Keynotes at The Warner Theater on November 9th from 7-9 p.m., including Welcome by Mayor Vince Gray and addresses from  Krish Prabhu, President & CEO of AT&T Labs; Scott Kelly (bio) Digital Marketing Manager, Ford; Mike Jones, Fmr. CEO of Myspace, Fmr. SVP of AOL and Founder of UserPlane; Brian Solis, Principle, Altimeter, Genevieve Bell, Director, Interaction and Experience Research, Intel Labs; Frank Warren, Creator of Post Secret and  author of PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God.