The past couple days I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 GeekWire Summit, a 2 day conference exploring some key topics in tech, business, science & society.
I generally enjoy attending conferences that aren’t just about tech, since I find that a lot of tech-centric discussions or demos are usually things that I can read about online or aren’t too short for me to really get much out of it.
I’ve found that listening to talks that are more opinionated or vision-based are not only easier to follow up with discussions of my own with the colleagues I attend with, but they’re also often more inspiring and get the gears turning in my head 🙂
The schedule for this year’s summit was pretty great, with a solid blend of tech, business, science, social good, and health. There were also lots fun GeekWire specific events such as the Elevator Pitch (where finalists from several different categories gave pitches to some investors from PACCAR) and the Favorite Inventions segment (a showcase of some really interesting inventions by their inventors) that were fun to watch 😀
There were also some pretty high profile speakers such as Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft, Dave Limp, the SVP of Devices & Services at Amazon, and Mark Okerstrom, the CEO of Expedia, so it was really cool to see them in person and hear about their perspectives on a variety of topics.
One of the most powerful speakers, in my opinion, was Doug Baldwin, a former Seahawks football player and now Senior Advisor of Product Concepts at Intellectual Ventures. He didn’t really talk about anything tech-specific, but rather about his passion for solving problems that are people-centric. He also emphasized the importance of having empathy for other individuals, making the effort to see ourselves and each other as human beings who are all in it together.
Living in this age where there are especially large amounts of siloizations occurring in many different parts of the world, the country, neighborhoods, and people, I admit I felt a twinge of sadness upon hearing his message and what it said about us as a society that we would warrant such a message, but it was also resolving in a way because it reminded us, or at the very least me, that empathy is a very human trait that we need to exercise more often and gave me a pleasant sense of solidarity :).
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience attending the Summit this year and was pretty happy with the quality of the panels and logistics of it all 🙂 I appreciated the mobile app that was provided by Alaska Air as it made it pretty easy to stay abreast of the different events that were happening during the Summit, and the venue (Hyatt Regency in Downtown Seattle) was also pretty swanky 🙂