MassTLC held their annual unconference on Nov 1st at the Hynes Convention Center. Very well structured for a conference that is NOT at all about structure! My first time at the agenda creation and was thoroughly impressed by the energy, ideas and expertise all in one room. Within 45 mins of starting the agenda creation the boards were filled with ideas and presenters promising to be a very valuable day!
One of the sessions on mapping the healthcare big data spaces by Richard Dale. He facilitated a great conversation around consumers of big data, the users, plethora of data sources, exciting innovations and opportunities in this space. IBM Watson was one of the innovations that sparked a good discussion in this area.
"Building Skills in the Ecosystem" led by Kelly Smith and Patty Orben of IBM Developerworks helped uncover the different ways people are using to train themselves or their employees in the tech skills. "You need to know what you don't know!". Common theme for the discussion was how important it is to get the skills development to begin really early, even as early as K-5!
"Partnering with Strategics" session made startups think about how they should be asking the hard questions about their strategic partnerships. What is the win for the large corporation so you align well to get the maximum benefit? Eric Apse and Lisa from IBM Venture capital group helped facilitate that discussion to share examples of how this is done with IBM global entrepreneur partners.
"Going Global" brought together ideas and insights on what kind of challenges do businesses face when trying to expand globally...be it cultural, economical or political. Interesting perspectives from students, entrepreneurs, influencers on how important it is to be leveraging local ecosystems, no matter where you are in the world...coz frankly you can't do this alone!
Along with the amazing energy of audience throughout the day, there was also incredible energy from different IBMers who came together for this event. The IBM exhibitor table also brought together our IBM colleagues from developerWorks, Rational, General Business(GB), Netezza and Ecosystem Development.
Through the various levels of expertise represented at the booth we were able to touch entrepreneurs, developers, business owners and IT Practitioners. Luis Cuneo from GB Market Development enjoyed being part of the creative energy at the unconference and realized that through this effort we have been successful in creating whole new brand awareness of IBM in the developer community.
As if all this excitement was not enough.....there was a constant drumbeat of seasoned entrepreneurs mentoring new and upcoming startups! A perfect showcase of how the community gives back in the form of experiences, feedback and insights to nurture the next generation of startups. Janet Powers, CEO of Women's Toolbox and an IBM Business Partner, was one of the mentors at the event. She was able to provider her experience and expertise to help this new breed of startups. In addition she also facilitated a session on "How to publish your blog on major media" - one of the hot topics of today.
Overall a very well executed event which resulted in a multitude of connections on many different levels!